Wednesday, December 8 2021

Giants show they can play small-ball in record-setting win originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants have 104 wins, which is not just the most in the Major Leagues, but the most since they moved across the country to San Francisco. They have 237 homers, the most in the National League this season and a franchise record. 

They are not here because they win games 1-0, as they did Wednesday against the Arizona Diamondbacks, and they are certainly not here because they win with small ball. But they are also a team that talks about having the answer to everything a pitcher throws at them, and on Wednesday night it became necessary to dial it back. They were able to do it, and because of that, they’re one step closer to an NL West title. 

The only run of the game came on a sequence that went pinch-hit single, pinch-run stolen base, sacrifice bunt, sacrifice fly.

“I mean, full disclosure, it’s not the way we’re kind of designed to win games,” manager Gabe Kapler said. 

The rally looked well-executed on paper, but there were additional levels to it. The leadoff single came from Tommy La Stella, who has a sore Achilles that kept him from starting Wednesday night. Kapler knew he would have to run for La Stella if he reached. 

“You lead Tommy off because he’s a great leadoff hitter. He gives you your best chance to get on base,” Kapler said. “(We’re) understanding that he wasn’t fully healthy and also understanding that we had a good chance to steal that base. It’s the reason for getting (Steven) Duggar in there. It’s not easy to burn two players in that situation. In theory, you could say Duggar can lead off that inning and find a way to get on base with a hit as well, but we felt like the combination of those two guys could do something good for us.”

The sacrifice bunt came from the player dubbed “Late Night LaMonte” for his late-game heroics. Wade is usually up there to knock that run across, but his knee and side were sore after an awkward slide earlier in the game. Kapler said Wade put the bunt down on his own.

“I respect that,” he said. “One of the things that we talk to our players about is that if you feel like that’s the best way to move the runner and potentially get a base hit, go for it. I don’t think LaMonte was at his best in that at-bat, mainly because of the play in right field. I just don’t think he was 100 percent for that at-bat.”

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Wade put the onus on Kris Bryant, who has had a solid run as a Giant but is still waiting for a signature moment or two. He hit a ball deep enough to right that Duggar was able to race home and slide in ahead of an accurate throw from Henry Ramos, Heliot’s older brother. Duggar is one of the few Giants who would have made that dash look easy, but that’s why he was in the game in the first place. 

The rally was the type the Giants haven’t seen a whole lot of this season. They do rely heavily on the long ball, and earlier in the game they stranded seven runners in the first three innings. But as they approach October baseball, they also know that they’ll need different avenues to success. 

“That’s kind of more of what you see in the postseason,” Bryant said. “Obviously there are big homers but usually the teams that win it all do the little things right. It was kind of drawn up perfectly that inning.” 

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Source: Yahoo Sports

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