What we learned as Flores grand slam helps Giants snap skid

What we learned as Flores grand slam helps Giants snap skid originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area


Blake Snell has dealt with one issue after another in his first season with the Giants, but when it comes to the top left-handers on last year's free-agent market, he's not alone.

Jordan Montgomery signed even later than Snell, and while he tried to take a more traditional path with minor league rehab starts, the results haven't been there. The Giants were all too happy to take advantage, getting a needed win on their way out of the desert on Wednesday at Chase Field.

Wilmer Flores hit a grand slam off Montgomery in the third inning and the Giants went on to win 9-3, salvaging the final game of their series with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Giants hung six runs on Montgomery in the third inning and kept going, with Heliot Ramos reaching base six times and Jorge Soler hitting a very long homer. It was one of the better offensive performances of the year all-around, and it was perfectly timed, coming a few hours after manager Bob Melvin publicly and privately questioned the group's effort.

A Tale of Two Jordans

Home plate umpire Chris Guccione had perhaps the tightest zone the Giants have seen all year, and that cost Jordan Hicks quite a few pitches and the chance to get deeper. The 3 2/3-inning outing was his shortest of the year, with Melvin turning to Sean Hjelle after Hicks issued a bases-loaded walk on his 92nd pitch.

Hicks was charged with two runs on six hits, four walks and seven strikeouts. It was a grueling day, but one that showed he might not be wearing down at all as his first full season as a starter hits a third month.

Hicks topped out at 99 mph and threw seven other pitches at 98 mph. It was his best fastball in at least a couple of months, a good sign since he now has thrown the second-most innings of his career. Hicks is about two starts away for matching his previous high for innings in a full season, but he's going strong.

Flo Show

Flores has been one of the bigger disappointments this season, and he entered Wednesday's game with a .573 OPS, just one homer and 14 RBI. The Giants have needed a lot more in general, but especially over the last week-plus as they've been without LaMonte Wade Jr. On Wednesday, Flores finally delivered.

The veteran loaded up for a curveball from Montgomery and uncorked a no-doubter into the seats in left. The homer gave Flores multiple RBI for just the third time all year. He was the team's best hitter last season, and even meeting somewhere in the middle of these two seasons would be huge for a lineup that desperately needs a couple more guys to get going.

No Letting Up

While the Giants continue to wait for Flores, Soler (who had a late solo homer) and others to find their past form, they absolutely are riding their red-hot 24-year-old outfielder. Ramos walked in his first plate appearance and then hit his second homer to dead center in this series. He followed the bomb with a walk, a hard single and two more walks, becoming the first Giant since Barry Bonds in 2000 to get two hits, a homer and four walks in a game.

Ramos also made another strong defensive play, saving a run for Hicks. Over the last month, he has been about as effective defensively as any outfielder in the league.

With the latest huge game, Ramos has a wRC+ of 164 and OPS of .918. Among NL outfielders with at least 100 plate appearances, he ranks second in both categories.

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