What we learned as Joc, Giants beat Phillies again originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
SAN FRANCISCO -- The most disappointing part about the way the Giants played in July and August is the fact that they weren't trying to chase down juggernauts.
The Giants needed only to catch the San Diego Padres or Philadelphia Phillies, two teams that have long histories of collapsing in September and have looked seriously flawed in their visits to Oracle Park this week. After getting swept by the Padres to fall hopelessly behind, the Giants have at least played a stronger brand of baseball against the Phillies.
The Giants used 23 players -- including their entire bench -- to beat the Phillies 5-4 on Saturday at Oracle Park. After losing seven straight to close out August, they've won the first two against the Phillies to begin September.
This one was a mess for most of the afternoon, with walks, defensive mistakes on both sides and plenty of runners stranded on third.
The teams alternated runs for the first six innings and both scored in the sixth, with the Giants taking an edge on a bases-loaded walk. The Phillies got a leadoff triple from Kyle Schwarber in the seventh, but John Brebbia and Jarlin Garcia worked their way through the heart of the lineup.
The Phillies got the first two runners on in the eighth, but pinch-hitter Donny Sands hit into a double play and Matt Vierling struck out. Camilo Doval was tasked with getting a four-out save and he cruised, giving Carlos Rodón a chance to sweep Philadelphia on Sunday.
Supersized Line Change
With an expanded roster -- and Alex Wood on the IL -- the Giants had seven position players on their bench, including six right-handed hitters and a switch-hitter. That gave Gabe Kapler a lot of options against lefty relievers, and he pushed all his chips forward when veteran Brad Hand came on in the sixth.
Kapler used four straight pinch-hitters and three of them reached base. Lewis Brinson doubled and J.D. Davis and Evan Longoria both walked. That loaded the bases but the Giants scored just one run on a Joc Pederson walk. It was kind of ironic that they scored that way; Pederson was the only one to drive in a run and he's one player who almost always gets pinch-hit for against a lefty, but Kapler was out of realistic options.
When the seventh started, six of the nine position players had been replaced.
The only bench player who didn't get in during all that shuffling was Austin Slater, who has an injured finger and can't swing a bat. Slater came in for the ninth and made a diving catch for the second out of the inning.
The Giants could have released Pederson on Monday to let him try and continue his streak of playing for division winners, but they're pretty glad he's still around. Pederson entered the day with a seven-game hitting streak and three homers on the homestand, and he was once again right in the heart of the action.
Pederson had two singles, a walk and drove in three runs. With 61 RBI this season, he has tied Wilmer Flores for the team lead.
Jakob Junis had a three-true-outcomes feel to his day. He began the afternoon by going walk, strikeout, strikeout, walk in a scoreless first inning and he ended up striking out five and walking a pair. Bryson Stott's solo shot into McCovey Cove was one of two earned runs on Junis' line.
Junis had a rough August but he'll get a chance to finish the season strong. With Wood possibly done for the year, the Giants need Junis to give them length every fifth day.