What we learned as the Giants beat the Cards for their fifth straight win

What we learned as the Giants beat the Cards for their fifth straight win

SAN FRANCISCO — The clearest sign yet that the Giants have turned a corner came not from one of their players, but from an opponent. Not even Paul Goldschmidt can slow them down now.

Goldschmidt hit his 29th and 30th career homers against the Giants early on, but Anthony DiSclafani and the lineup put them away. The Giants won 7-3, extending their winning streak to five games and improving to 11-13 after a nightmare start in April.

For the ninth time in 14 days, the Giants faced a lefty, but they were better prepared to go to Steven Matz than they had been for most of the month. Mitch Heniger got all the attention Monday, but Austin Slater — the leadoff hitter against lefties — also returned, and he reached base in his first of three plate appearances Wednesday.

Slater’s RBI single in the fourth tied it shortly after LaMonte Wade Jr.’s homer, erasing the early damage done by Goldschmidt, who is on the Mount Rushmore of Giants-killers. The Giants got a break an inning later when Wilmer Flores’ two-out flyball to center was dropped. Given new life, the Giants took the lead on a wild pitch, and Flores padded it with a two-run shot in the seventh.

An insurance run was needed, as the Cardinals rallied in the ninth. They loaded the bases for Goldschmidt, but Camilo Doval hit him into an inning-ending double play.

Lefty Knight Lamonte

Mike Yastrzemski was a late scratch from the lineup due to side tightness, giving Wade a rare start against a left-handed pitcher. He made the most of it.

Wade crushed a sinker into the visiting bullpen in the fourth, putting the Giants on the board against Metz. The homer was the first of his career against a left-handed pitcher.

Entering the night, Wade had a .112 average against left-handed pitchers, including two hits in 11 at-bats this season. Given the quality of his plate appearances early on, there’s no reason the numbers should be so low. Perhaps Wednesday’s swing was the start of something new.

Ownage means Ownage

Blake Sabol’s walk-off kept Goldschmidt from being the star Tuesday, when he briefly put the Cardinals on top with two runs in the eighth. After a day, there was no slowing him down.

Goldschmidt homered in his first two at-bats and reached base four times. As good as Max Muncie has been at Oracle Park in recent years, he still has a long way to go to reach Goldschmidt’s dominance.

The longtime Diamondbacks and Cardinals star has a .970 OPS in 157 career games against the Giants, with 30 homers and 107 RBI. In 2022, when he was the National League MVP, Goldschmidt posted a .981 OPS, 35 homers and 115 RBI in 151 games. He’s put up essentially MVP seasons against the Giants the past 13 years, though given how dominant he’s been at times, the only surprise might be that the numbers aren’t more overwhelming.

Sizzling Sabol

The night after his walk-off homer, Sabol had two strikes on a left-handed fastball and a two-strikeout 101 mph fastball. He also stole his second base of the season and made a perfect throw to second to catch the runner.

Sabol looks like a potential keeper, and the Giants suddenly feel better about their group of young catchers. Joey Bart was batting .303 before the groin injury, and when the Giants needed to add a catcher to their bullpen, Ricardo Genoves called up Gary Sanchez because of his good work in Triple-A.

During Wednesday’s game, the Giants announced that former first-rounder Patrick Bailey has been promoted to Triple-A. Bailey had a .400 on-base percentage and several homers in 14 Double-A games and is viewed as big league-ready defensively.

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