Giants Analysis

What we learned as Wood, Giants' bullpen shut down Blue Jays

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TORONTO -- Before Tuesday's game at Rogers Centre, most of the on-field attention was on Brandon Belt. The captain held a session with reporters, then mingled with former Giants teammates as they took batting practice. For about 10 minutes, he caught up with close friend Brandon Crawford.

Behind the scenes, though, the attention was on another former Giant.

Kevin Gausman pitched in San Francisco for two seasons and wanted to stay longer, and he's been just as good since signing a five-year deal with the Blue Jays. He dominated his former teammates for six innings on Tuesday night, but against the Giants right now, that's not enough.

They seem to find a way no matter the circumstance, and the one run they scratched across off Gausman was enough. Patrick Bailey's double gave the Giants the lead and Thairo Estrada added a two-run double in the ninth, putting an exclamation point on a 3-0 win that kicked off what should be a tough road trip.

The Giants matched Gausman with perhaps their best "opener" game of the season. Alex Wood entered in the second and took the shutout into the seventh, and Tyler Rogers got him out of a jam before cruising through most of the eighth.

After Belt hit a two-out double, Camilo Doval entered for a four-out save. The save was the 23rd for Doval, who looks headed for the All-Star Game. His setup man, Rogers, deserves plenty of consideration, too.

Sharp Wood

Wood gave up six earned in two of his previous three starts, so the staff mixed it up, using Ryan Walker as an opener so Wood could come in for the second half of the lineup, not George Springer, Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. It couldn't have worked out much better.

Walker worked around some early traffic and then Wood took over in the second. He struck out seven and scattered five hits in five-plus innings.

Wood pitched in relief for most of the season before he signed with the Giants, but this was just his second time coming out of the bullpen in orange and black. The other appearance came earlier this season when he came off the IL and the staff had him pitch a relief inning in what essentially amounted to a bullpen session to prepare for his next start.

Gausman's Revenge

Before the game, Gabe Kapler was asked if the staff's familiarity with Gausman would help.

"I think you feel more of an edge when you know a pitcher intimately that's not as good as Kevin," he said, smiling. "To be honest, I think his stuff is more going to tell the story today. If he's on, it's going to be a huge challenge for us."

Gausman was on, and he was, indeed, a huge challenge. He struck out the side in the first inning and didn't allow a hit until Thairo Estrada's single in the fifth, which was followed by Bailey's double. The only other hit off Gausman was a single by J.D. Davis in the sixth, but the other three hitters in that inning struck out.

That would be it for Gausman, who struck out 12 in six innings and lowered his ERA to 3.01. He leads the American League in strikeouts and ranks second in the majors in innings -- one spot behind his former co-ace, Logan Webb.

Hello, Old Friend

The tables certainly were set for Belt to have a huge night against his former teammates. He came up with runners on the corners in the first, but struck out on a nasty sinker from Walker:

In the fourth, Belt came up with a runner on second and appeared to ground out to end the inning. A delayed balk call gave him fresh life -- and confused everyone else -- but he struck out. With a runner on first in the sixth, he flew out to center.

RELATED: Belt looking forward to matchup with former teammate Webb

Belt finally got on the board in the eighth with a double that Michael Conforto couldn't snag on a dive. It was the second double of the game to deflect off his glove.

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