San Francisco Giants Morning Minute: Giant Killers Fall, Drama in the Ninth

May 12, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; San Francisco Giants second baseman Joe Panik (12) celebrates with Denard Span (2) after hitting a two run home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the fifth inning at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
May 12, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; San Francisco Giants second baseman Joe Panik (12) celebrates with Denard Span (2) after hitting a two run home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the fifth inning at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports /

On this edition of the San Francisco Giants Morning Minute, we discuss Giant killers falling, a little bit of drama, and finding some holes.

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Good morning, San Francisco Giants’ fans, happy Friday and welcome to another edition of the Giants Morning Minute. On Thursday, the Giants opened their series with the Arizona Diamondbacks with a 4-2 victory as Johnny Cueto earned his fifth win of the year, and Zack Greinke took the loss. Javier Lopez earned his first save of the season, and the 14th of his career.

The Giants are back over .500 at 18-17, and remain tied with the Los Angeles Dodgers atop the National League West. Here’s what went on Thursday night.

1 – Giants Finally Tame Some Giant Killers

The Giants FINALLY get to Zack Greinke on Thursday night. Entering the game, Greinke was undefeated in 11 starts against San Francisco, earning eight wins and no losses. San Francisco pounded out eight hits against Greinke in six innings, including a Joe Panik two-run home run in the fifth inning. The four runs Greinke allowed are the most he’s ever given up to the Giants, and he is loss-less no more.

Cueto held Diamondbacks’ slugger Paul Goldschmidt hitless in four at-bats, and actually forced the perennial MVP candidate to contribute five outs. Goldschmidt grounded into a double play in the first inning, and then struck out in his next three at-bats.

Jake Lamb also didn’t kill the Giants completely. He picked up a run-scoring hit in the first inning, but Cueto struck him out his next two times up. Lamb worked a walk in the eighth inning, and had a great opportunity to build his legacy as a Giant killer in the ninth. With the bases loaded, two outs, and his team down a pair of runs, Lamb grounded out to second base, ending the game.

2 – Drama in the Ninth Inning

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The Giants’ bullpen hasn’t been all that shutdown lately, and Thursday was no different. Closer Santiago Casilla struck out two batters, but allowed a double, single, and a walk to load the bases with two down. Manager Bruce Bochy made a change, calling on Javier Lopez to get the last out, and Casilla was none too happy.

Casilla was steaming mad on the mound, and it continued after the game when he vocalized his displeasure to reporters, stating that Bochy “didn’t have faith in” him.

Casilla has a right to be mad at the decision. Being a closer is all about confidence, both in himself and from the team, and this is a blow to that confidence. Closers as a whole, not just Casilla, are a prideful bunch and that pride took a hit. It’s supposed to be his inning, and he didn’t get a chance to close it out.

But the right-hander didn’t handle it well. From his reaction on the mound to his comments after the game, it wasn’t a great look for a guy who has been stellar for the Giants in his career. Bochy has been here before, and they will talk about it. Things will get smoothed over.

Plus in the end, Lopez got that final out. The Giants won. All is right in the world.

3 – Balls Finally Miss Gloves

The Giants have been getting BABIP’d to death for a long time, but they started to find some grass when they hit the ball on Thursday. Leadoff man Denard Span, who has battled some bad luck early in the year, picked up two hits in the first five innings, and absolutely scorched another ball right at Diamondbacks’ right fielder Brandon Drury.

Buster Posey collected two hits, including a double that came off his bat at 106 miles per hour in the fifth inning. Brandon Belt lined a ball up the middle to score a run. Matt Duffy and Gregor Blanco both found holes.

The Giants’ lineup still isn’t playing like they’ve shown they can, but there were good signs on Thursday that things may be turning around. It’s also a good confidence builder that these hits came against an ace in Greinke.

4 – Farm Report

Clayton Blackburn was called up to the major leagues for the first time on Thursday, giving the Giants a fresh arm that can eat innings as this long stretch without a day off nears its end. Blackburn didn’t pitch on Thursday, but other pitchers from the Giants’ system made debuts at new levels.

2015 second-round draft pick Andrew Suarez (no relation to recent Giants’ call-up Albert Suarez) made his Double-A debut after being promoted earlier in the week. Pitching for the Richmond Flying Squirrels, Suarez went seven innings, giving up five hits and three runs (all coming from solo homers). He struck out six, didn’t walk anyone, and threw 52 of his 84 pitches for strikes, but was stuck the loss.

Right-hander Joan Gregorio, one of the Giants’ higher-ranked pitching prospects, made the jump to Triple-A and pitched for the Sacramento River Cats on Thursday. In five innings, he gave up five hits and three runs, striking out four while walking one. He also took a loss.

Next: Morning Minute: Bumgarner Good, Still Not Firing On All Cylinders

That’s it for this edition of the Giants Morning Minute. Next up for the Giants, they continue their series with the Diamondbacks, as Jeff Samardzija faces off with Shelby Miller (hopefully over that problem with his finger) on Friday.