What we learned in time close hits fuel giants vs rays appeared in the original Bay Area Sports NBC
SAN FRANCISCO — With his size, approach to the plate, mustache, and even the fact that he’s rocking simple black spikes in flashy City Connect jerseys, Wade Meckler looks very much like the kind of player who would have hit the number two spot in the lineup for most of the history of the sport.
The game has changed, however, and the best hitter on a team these days—often the first baseman or DH—usually gets to second. Giants go this way too, so it was a bit of a surprise when Meckler was scored on second down for a year The second consecutive game to start his career.
“We put together a lineup a couple of months ago that wasn’t very productive,” manager Gabe Kapler admitted ahead of Tuesday’s game. “We’ve tried a few things.”
On Tuesday, some stuff finally clicked, though Kapler wasn’t there to watch it.
The Giants got a pair of homers from key bats and stellar pitching performances from Jacob Gunness and Shawn Manea, defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 7-0. Kapler was ejected after arguing an invited hit in the fourth inning, but his players made sure it was worth it.
Zack Little had a great first night until the sixth, when Thero Estrada volleyed a 3-2 slider over Wall Patrick Bailey in the left flank to break the scoreless tie. Wade Meckler followed with a single that stalked Little, and the Rays brought in funky right-hander Kevin Kelly. Wilmer Flores was ready.
Flores was scratched late Monday night with an ear infection, and was too ill for the Giants to consider him as a bench option. But he was back to form one night later, hitting a two-run shot from Kelly that opened the game. It was the first time since June 13 in St. Louis that the Giants had multiple homers in the same inning.
More than just an opener
The Giants had Junis and Manaea lined up to give them the length on Tuesday, and Junis started things off with his best outing of the year. After a night in which the staff gave up a season-high 18 hits, he allowed only two runs over four innings, tying for a season-high seven. The four innings matched a season-high and his most since the first week of the season.
Always leaning hard on his slider, Jeunesse was especially deadly against the Rays. He threw it 52 percent of the time and caught eight swing hits. The first six strikes came on sliders.
Al-Mannai followed with three and a third of scoreless innings and struck out five. He has allowed just one run in 15 innings dating back to July 29.
It’s on the board
Meckler knocked the bat out of his hands early on, but when Little’s fastball threw him 1-0 in the sixth inning, he was ready. Meckler lined a single at center for his first career hit. He later added a single and reached it at a sprint speed of 30.5 ft/s, the Giants’ fastest of the year on a base hit.
This night will be the first of many for the 23-year-old, who has the best awareness of the strike area in the system. 377 in 92 minor league games and hit at least . 400 at every level except Double-A, where he was at . 336 in a pitcher’s friendly league.
Little and Kapler He said all the right things before the game, but there had to be some extra juice for the right-hander, who has been making his first appearance at Oracle Park since last September 12, when he was pitching Kapler after he was pulled from a comfortable appearance. Littell is on his third team since the Giants let him go, and he’s thriving as a starter.
The Rays made the transition last month and Littell has gone 17 innings over his previous three starts. He made 5 2/3 against his former teammates and was cruising up to an Estrada homer. Littell’s charge ended up with two earned runs on three hits and a walk. hit five.