SAN FRANCISCO — In a battle of the National League’s two worst teams, the Giants struck first.
The lineup jumped out to an early lead and the new-look bullpen took it home in a 5-4 win over the visiting Phillies. The Giants scored five runs off budding ace Aaron Nola, and Mark Melancon, Hunter Strickland and Sam Dyson shut it down in the final three innings, in that (new) order.
What a recipe for a victory. They should try that more often, in my opinion. Anyway, here are five things you should know …
—- Hunter Pence and Denard Span combined for a funny moment in the three-run fifth. Span held up on Jarrett Parker’s ball off the wall and then took off from second; Pence had been on first, and he ran right up Span’s back as they approached the plate. Span heard him coming. He was laughing as he scored.
—- With those runs, the Giants became the first team since June 16 to score more than two runs off Nola. The 2017 Giants are weird.
—- Span stole second before scoring in the fifth. He has three stolen bases in seven games since Buster Posey’s mini run-of-speed. Posey had been talking trash to the leadoff hitter.
—- Jeff Samardzija got the win, but this wasn’t one he’ll remember fondly. He needed a slick Tomlinson-Crawford double play to help get through the sixth. Samardzija was charged with four earned on eight hits.
—- Cameron Rupp flipped his bat when he hit a rocket off Samardzija in the fifth. It for sure looked like a premature bat-flip, but the ball kept carrying and landed in the arcade section above Triples Alley. Cameron Rupp is right-handed. That’s an absolute blast for a right-hander in a night game at AT&T Park. I don’t know where he would play but the Giants should trade for him.
SAN FRANCISCO — Austin Slater is quietly one of the fastest players in the Giants organization, but at some point this week, he will hope for the best from a slow jog.
Slater is nearly to the point where he’ll be cleared to start running, and if that goes well, the Giants will increase his activity and start to target a rehab assignment. The rookie outfielder has missed 35 games with a right groin strain but the Giants are confident Slater will return in September. Originally, there was some thought that he would be out the rest of the year. Slater should begin running this week.
“Running is the biggest hurdle,” Slater said. “I’ve been throwing and swinging. I’m swinging at 100 percent. That’s where the optimism comes in.”
Slater will take batting practice with the team on Friday. It’ll be his first time doing that since he went down in the second week of July. He has mostly been doing agility work in recent days and said it has gone well.
Elsewhere on the injury front, there is good news and bad news. Miguel Gomez had a setback with his knee and he won’t start a rehab assignment as hoped. Gomez is in a holding pattern for now, but Bochy believes the Giants are fine on the infield. In an emergency, Buster Posey can play first and Ryder Jones can back up other infield positions. Orlando Calixte also provides coverage.
The good news is that Johnny Cueto will throw another bullpen session on Friday. He could pitch a rehab game soon. Also, here are updates on Brandon Belt and Joe Panik.