San Francisco Giants Morning Minute: Sleepy Offense Awakens, Team Goes Lefty-Heavy

May 22, 2016; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants outfielder Angel Pagan (16) celebrates with outfielder Denard Span (2) and outfielder Gregor Blanco (7) after defeating the Chicago Cubs 1-0 at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
May 22, 2016; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants outfielder Angel Pagan (16) celebrates with outfielder Denard Span (2) and outfielder Gregor Blanco (7) after defeating the Chicago Cubs 1-0 at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports /

In this edition San Francisco Giants Morning Minute, we discuss the hibernating offense waking up, Parker’s recall, and Sanchez’s return to San Francisco.

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Good morning, San Francisco Giants’ fans, and welcome to another edition of the Giants Morning Minute. On Tuesday, the Giants clinched another series win against the San Diego Padres, coming away with an 8-2 victory. Jeff Samardzija earned his seventh win of the season, while Andrew Cashner took the loss in his return from the disabled list.

The Giants have won four straight, and 12 of their last 13 games. At 29-19, their winning percentage is back over .600 at .604, and they keep their 4.5-game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West.

Here’s what went on Tuesday.

1 – Hibernating Offense Finally Wakes From Their Slumber

The Giants entered Tuesday’s game on a tear, with 11 wins in their last 12 games, but their offense had only been doing just enough to get those wins. The lineup scored 37 runs in those 12 games, just about three runs per contest, and hadn’t put up more than five runs in a game. That changed on Tuesday.

The big hit, the hit that breaks a game wide open, had been missing for a long time, but the Giants got a few clutch hits as they routed the Padres, 8-2. In the third inning, Denard Span shot a grounder through a wide-open hole on the left side, scoring Gregor Blanco from second. In the sixth inning, Buster Posey, who has been ice cold for a lot of the season, came through with a run-scoring double to put the Giants in the lead. Brandon Crawford followed with an RBI single two batters later. They saved their best for the eighth inning.

Matt Duffy led off the eighth with a shift-beating double. Walks to Posey and Brandon Belt followed, and Crawford came through with that big hit that busts the game open. With the bases loaded, he lined a ball into right field for a triple, clearing the bases and giving the Giants a five-run lead. Newly-called up Jarrett Parker kept the momentum going with a long home run to dead center field.

This is the offense the Giants, and their fans, have been waiting for. This is the lineup that can string together hits and put together big innings. They’ve been snakebitten for a long time, but Tuesday was their first attempt to chop that snake up.

2 – Giants Going Heavy with Left-Handers

Before Tuesday’s game, the Giants placed Angel Pagan on the disabled list, and called up Jarrett Parker from Triple-A Sacramento to take his place. That move was a bit surprising, to me at least, because the Giants are already so left-handed heavy in their lineup. But alas, right-handed hitter Mac Williamson stays in the minor leagues, and Parker is in the bigs.

On Tuesday, the Giants’ lineup had just two right-handed hitters (not including the right-handed hitting pitcher, Samardzija). That’s not that big of an issue against an opposing right-handed starter, Cashner in this case, but it can create problems later in the ballgame. The Giants do have right-handed hitters on the bench, in Kelby Tomlinson and Trevor Brown, and Hunter Pence might be available to pinch-hit while dealing with a balky hamstring. Being so left-handed heavy could cause problems at some point.

But with all that said…

3 – Let the Kid Play!

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Parker got the start in left field on Tuesday, as fourth outfielder Gregor Blanco had to play right field with Pence out again. That’s a good thing for the kid, as he should be out there regularly while the opportunity presents itself. Now is a good time to see if Parker can truly handle his weight while playing in a big league lineup everyday, or if his late 2015 surge can be chalked up to adrenaline and luck.

Parker showed what he’s capable of on Tuesday, hitting a home run to deep center field in the eighth inning. But he took the bat out of his own hands in the second inning by trying to bunt to beat the shift. He’s still technically a rookie, even though he’s 27 years old. He will make mental mistakes like that, but now is a good time to learn.

4 – Hector Sanchez Delivers

Former Giants’ catcher Hector Sanchez is playing with the Padres these days, and got his first chance to face his old team on Tuesday. The game was well out of hand by the time he stepped up to the plate to face former teammate George Kontos, with the Giants ahead 8-1 with two outs in the ninth.

But with a runner on third, Sanchez put on a good at-bat. He worked the count to three balls and a strike, then fouled off three pitches before Kontos gave him a little something to hit. Sanchez slapped the ball the other way past the shifted third baseman Matt Duffy, scoring the runner from third.

Ultimately, it was an inconsequential moment in an already-decided game. Still, it’s nice to see a former Giant taking advantage of an opportunity.

Next: Giants Morning Minute: Ho Hum, Another Cueto Gem

And that will do it for another edition of the Giants Morning Minute. Up next, the Giants will go for their third straight sweep against San Diego, with Jake Peavy getting chance to pitch against a team that has yet to beat San Francisco in eight tries. The Padres counter with James Shields.