SAN DIEGO — A day after Carlos Rodón turned in the most dominant showing by a Giants starter this season, Alex Wood followed on Sunday with an almost equally impressive performance.
While taking a no-hit bid into the sixth inning, Wood ensured the Padres wouldn’t sniff a lead, thanks to an offensive explosion from the Giants’ offense to take the finale of this four-game series, 12-0, and secure a split with second-place San Diego.
Whether it was the result of good vibes generated by Saturday’s pregame home run derby, the byproduct of the extra practice that came with it or simply the baseball gods reversing the Giants’ fortunes after a hellish past three weeks, the team turned in its most complete performance in ages and, in the process, won consecutive games for the first time since the middle of June.
Thairo Estrada started the assault with a two-run home run to left in the second inning, and Wilmer Flores added on the following inning with another two-run shot to left. The game entered blowout territory in the fourth when the Giants brought nine men to the plate and scored four more, making it 8-0. Flores added a second home run — his third in the past two days — off a position player to cap the onslaught, 12-0, in the ninth.
The 12-run differential was the Giants’ largest margin of the season and their dozen runs were their most since a 12-10 win in Atlanta on June 21. Their 17 hits had been outdone only once previously this season, with 19 in their wild 13-12 win over the Mets back in May.
San Diego starter MacKenzie Gore, who had generated rookie-of-the-year buzz with his 3.12 ERA entering Saturday, was out of the game before Wood allowed a hit.
In his best start of the season, Wood blanked the Padres for seven innings and struck out a season-high eight batters. After issuing a first-inning walk to Manny Machado, Wood retired 14 consecutive Padres until C.J. Abrams ended his no-hit bid with a single to left to lead off the sixth.
Wood, who needed only 83 pitches to complete seven innings, had pitched past the sixth only one other time this season. Since turning in the worst start of his career (1 IP, 6 ER at ATL), Wood has allowed four runs over his past 17⅔ innings, a 2.04 ERA over his past three starts.
The shutout, finished off by Yunior Marte, was the Giants’ third of the season.
By the end of the third inning, the Giants already had 10 hits, ending a drought of 14 straight games without recording double-digit base knocks. It had been 23 years since the club had come up so empty, for so long (Sept. 14-30, 1999).
The cold snap at the plate came amid a stretch where it seemed they couldn’t do anything right.
It had been nearly a month since the Giants last strung together two straight wins, in the first two games of their series at Pittsburgh, June 17 and 18. Since then, they had lost 15 of their past 19 entering Sunday.
Multiple players, including shortstop Brandon Crawford, called for a need to “get back to basics.” First baseman Brandon Belt spoke up at a hitters’ meeting before the first game of this trip.
On Saturday, Evan Longoria injected some positive energy into the downtrodden team by organizing a pregame home run derby, which Longoria said, “seemed to have done everything that I hoped it would accomplish.”
What followed has been the Giants’ two best baseball games since well before the calendar turned to July.
Rodón, who was left off the initial National League All-Star team announced Sunday, was masterful while tossing the Giants’ first complete game of the season in a 3-1 win, backed up by Flores’ first of three home runs in the final two games of this series.
With 12 runs on 17 hits — to the Padres’ zero runs and five hits — every cog of the Giants’ machine was back in working condition Sunday after nearly a month out of order.
Contributed by local news sources