What we learned as Yaz homer not enough in Giants' loss to D-backs

What we learned as Yaz homer not enough in Giants' loss to D-backs originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area


SAN FRANCISCO -- With his lineup consistency and trust in his starters, Giants manager Bob Melvin doesn't often have chances for signature moments, but one came around on Sunday.

The Giants were trailing by a run in the seventh when the Arizona Diamondbacks elected to intentionally walk slumping right fielder Mike Yastrzemski to load the bases with two outs. They preferred to face No. 9 hitter Nick Ahmed, but Melvin quickly turned to powerful DH Jorge Soler, who was getting a rest day.

As the ballpark came to life, Soler took a cutter for a strike. He then bounced a slider to third, ending the best threat of the day for a lineup that couldn't keep Saturday's momentum going. The Giants lost 5-3, splitting the weekend series with the reigning NL champs.

After a power-packed performance on Saturday, the Giants appeared to catch a break when nemesis Merrill Kelly was scratched in the morning with shoulder soreness. But they had no answers for fill-in Slade Cecconi, who didn't allow a hit until Thairo Estrada's slow roller to third went for an infield single with two outs in the fifth.

The first hit was followed by a much louder one. Yastrzemski hit a high fly ball that right fielder Jake McCarthy appeared to have a shot at, but it kept carrying until it landed in the arcade for a two-run homer. Those were the only two hits off Cecconi, who had just four previous big league starts, and the lead didn't last long.

Erik Miller has been dominant for a couple of weeks to move up the bullpen's depth chart, but he gave up a leadoff double to Joc Pederson in the sixth, and the Giants couldn't get an out on Eugenia Suarez's grounder to the hole at short. Two batters later, Gabriel Moreno put the Diamondbacks back on top with a single past the drawn-in infield.

The Diamondbacks tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the ninth during a sequence that led to both Melvin and Matt Williams getting ejected. It was the second ejection for Melvin this year and 61st of his career.

One-Hit Wonder

Jordan Hicks had trouble with his command early, hitting back-to-back Diamondbacks in the second inning and walking four batters in the first three innings. He needed 68 pitches to get through the first three, but he managed to right the ship and make it through five for the fifth consecutive start, which is more than the Giants could have expected as they helped Hicks make the transition from reliever to starter.

Hicks is the first Giants starter since Carlos Rodón in 2022 to pitch at least five innings and allow fewer than three runs in each of his first five starts of a season. He walked off the mound with a 1.61 ERA, which is second in the National League. He is third in opponents' batting average (.170) and seventh in WHIP (0.93).

One Yaz Needed

The homer was the first of the year for Yastrzemski, who entered the day with a .171 average and .432 OPS. Even in down times, Yastrzemski typically can tap into some power, but this early-season slump has been different. He didn't have a single extra-base hit until Sunday's homer.

The Giants have been patient with their struggling veterans, continuing to run Yastrzemski or Austin Slater out there in right field on a daily basis. Yastrzemski has shown signs of life this week, and after a two-run single in the eighth on Thursday, he said he feels his swings have been a lot better in recent days. Finally, that led to a positive result.

End Of The Streak

After a groundout, hit-by-pitch and flyout, Jung Hoo Lee didn't have a chance to extend his hitting streak in his fourth plate appearance. Reliever Ryan Thompson wasn't close to the plate, walking Lee on four pitches.

Lee immediately took off for second, but he was thrown out. His 11-game hitting streak was tied with a Patrick Bailey one for the longest by a Giants rookie since Buster Posey had a hit in 21 consecutive games in 2010.

Lee did nearly extend the streak in a very dramatic way. In the sixth inning, he jumped on a first-pitch fastball from Cecconi and hit it 385 feet into McCovey Cove, but it was just foul.

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