Giants Observations

What we learned as Hicks, offense spark Giants to win vs. Nats

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SAN FRANCISCO – Jordan Hicks pitched six strong innings, and the Giants got a big boost from the bottom of their lineup, leading to a 7-1 win over the Washington Nationals at Oracle Park on Wednesday afternoon.

Hicks (2-0) scattered four hits over six innings and allowed one run in his strongest outing of the young 2024 MLB season. He allowed a solo home run to Joey Gallo leading off the second inning but mostly was solid otherwise. He needed only 30 pitches to navigate through the first three innings, pitched around traffic in the fourth and fifth before working a perfect sixth to end his day.

The Giants (5-8) are unbeaten in Hicks’ three starts this season.

Ryan Walker and Landen Roupp each pitched a scoreless inning of relief before Erik Miller struck out the side in the ninth to finish it.

San Francisco’s offense came though while banging out 12 hits – the most by the Giants since the second game of the season on March 29 in San Diego.

Nick Ahmed and Tyler Fitzgerald, San Francisco’s No. 8 and No. 9 hitters, collected three hits apiece and combined to score four runs and drive in three.

Matt Chapman and Michael Conforto each added two hits to help the Giants to their first win over the Nationals (5-7) since May 9, 2023.

San Francisco’s seven runs nearly matched the 10 runs that the Giants scored in their first five home games this season.

Here are the takeaways from Wednesday’s game:

Timely two-out hitting

The Giants had been miserable with runners in scoring position during the first five games of this homestand before snapping out of the collective funk early against Nationals lefty Patrick Corbin,

San Francisco rapped out three consecutive two-out RBI hits in the second inning, a major shift from the 2-for-33 slump they’d been in at Oracle Park. In the same inning the Giants also got their first stolen bases of the season, both by Fitzgerald.

Conforto added an RBI single in the fifth, his second two-out hit of the game, and Ahmed delivered a two-out RBI hit in the sixth.

Efficient and effective Hicks

Other than the home run by Gallo, Hicks had a mostly stellar outing while earning his second win of the season.

The lanky right-hander, who pitched around traffic in the middle innings and benefited from a pair of double plays, was very aggressive in attacking the strike zone and didn’t get into many deep counts.

Hicks’ fastball routinely was clocked in the mid to high 90s and he got seven swing-and-misses during his six innings of work after it looked like his afternoon might end prematurely. A team trainer, manager Bob Melvin and pitching coach Bryan Price walked to the mound before the start of the fourth inning to check on the pitcher before Hicks eventually stayed in the game.

Hicks was also called for a pitch-clock violation with a full count later in the fourth that led to an automatic ball and walk. That was about the only mistake that he made.

Off and running

San Francisco finally got its running game going after staying silent through the team’s first 12 games.

Fitzgerald made it happen when he collected the first two steals of the season both for himself and the Giants. Fitzgerald singled in the second then stole second and third before scoring on an infield single.

Chapman got into the act when he singled leading off the sixth, stole second and took third on a flyout to center before scoring on Ahmed’s third hit of the game.

The Giants don’t have a ton of speed on the roster but Melvin’s teams have generally been aggressive on the basepaths. With the offense still trying to find a comfortable groove, expect Melvin to keep his guys on the run once they reach base.

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