Giants observations: Carlos Rodon, three-run blasts power win over Athletics

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What we learned from Giants' win in Bay Bridge Series opener originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SAN FRANCISCO -- As he met with the media three hours before Tuesday's game, Giants manager Gabe Kapler admitted it was hard to make too much of the first night of the annual Bay Bridge Series.

Kapler pointed out that he had a tired group that had spent a lot of time in airplanes and hotels during a four-city, 11-game road trip that ended late Monday night. The Giants won eight of those 11 games, and on the first night back, they won yet again, slipping back ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West.

Wilmer Flores hit a three-run homer to break the game open in the third inning and the Giants cruised to an 8-2 win over the A's, giving Carlos Rodón his third consecutive win.

This is starting to become the norm for Rodón, who allowed one earned run and has given up just three runs through his first four starts. The A's managed just three hits and struck out nine times, which also is the norm. Rodón has at least eight strikeouts in all four of his starts for the Giants and he leads the Majors with 38 on the season. Kapler allowed Rodón to throw a season-high 104 pitches and 74 of them went for strikes.

Here's more from the first night back at Oracle Park:

Carlos Struck Out A Lot Of Dudes. Again.

Rodón was basically all-fastball in his previous start, but his slider showed back up when he returned to Oracle Park, and he rode it Tuesday night. Rodón complemented the big fastball with 33 sliders, and he got eight swinging strikes on the pitch. It helped him once again pile up the strikeouts and also to set a franchise record for most strikeouts through the first four starts of a season. Here's the current list

1. Rodón: 38
2. Tim Lincecum (2009): 35
3. Christy Mathewson (1908): 34

That, my friends, is a hell of a list to be at the top of.

Not Daulton's Friend

Flores nearly went deep in his first at-bat against right-hander Daulton Jefferies on Tuesday, launching a high fly ball that smacked the top of the wall 379 feet away. Flores had to settle for an RBI double, and he later scored to give the Giants a 2-0 lead. In the third, Flores did clear the wall.

RELATED: Kapler reveals funny story about relationship with A's Kotsay

With two on and two outs, Flores hit a high pop-up that catcher Sean Murphy couldn't find as he headed toward the home dugout. Flores was given a second chance, and when Jefferies hung a sinker at the top of the zone, he crushed it to left for his second homer of the year.

Platoon Life (Kind Of)

Joc Pederson is the hottest hitter in orange and black and maybe the whole National League, but in three straight games he has been replaced late by a right-handed hitter. Pederson knows that's part of the deal here, and in the fifth inning Tuesday, Austin Slater took over atop the lineup since the A's put lefty A.J. Puk on the mound.

The move paid off, but not in the way Kapler would have expected. Slater flew out against Puk, but two innings later he took righty Jacob Lemoine deep to give the Giants a six-run lead. The blast landed on the lip of the arcade and was Slater's second of the year.

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