Matt Chapman

Chapman's two-way resurgence fueling Giants' red-hot stretch

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Matt Chapman finally is relaxed at the plate and playing like the two-way star that the Giants thought they were getting when they signed the veteran infielder to a lucrative contract in the offseason.

Throughout San Francisco’s three-game series at PNC Park in Pittsburgh that was capped by Thursday’s 7-6 come-from-behind win over the Pirates, Chapman repeatedly made big plays with his glove and showed signs of finding a good groove at the plate.

Chapman homered for the third consecutive game as part of a five-run eighth inning, as the Giants made franchise history by winning consecutive road games after trailing by four or more runs.

“The biggest thing is we were trying to get me to be on time more, start a little bit earlier, get ready to hit a little bit earlier, and then just trust myself, trust that I don’t have to be perfect, it doesn’t have to look a certain way,” Chapman said on NBC Sports Bay Area's "Giants Postgame Live" about his resurgence at the plate. “Just go out there, trust my athleticism and just put a good swing on the ball and compete. I know that sounds pretty simple but for me it was just trying to get out of my own way. I was trying to maybe do too much or try to be too perfect instead of going up there taking good at-bats and just being athletic.”

Chapman began the season quietly and wasn’t too concerned about his slow start but the pressure was slowly building as the Giants’ stumbled through the early part of the season.

The 31-year-old was batting just .205 on May 15 but since then has gone 13-for-20 (.650) with eight extra-base hits, eight RBIs and 11 runs scored, boosting his average to .249.

It’s certainly no coincidence that San Francisco has played some of its best ball of the season during that same stretch. The Giants have now won six of their last seven games and are the hottest team in the NL West.

“It feels good to start to get comfortable, get into a rhythm and just help this team win,” Chapman said. “I want to be able to contribute on both sides of the baseball, so it feels good.”


The last time the Giants won back-to-back games when they trailed by four or more runs was in April 1998 when they also pulled it off against the Pirates.

An MLB All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner, Chapman’s recent success at the plate has coincided with his outstanding defense.

Chapman’s glove work has always been the strongest aspect of his game, and he proved it numerous times against the Pirates. On Thursday, he made a sparkling defensive play to end the eighth inning, ranging far to his left to snare a sharp 93.3 mph grounder by former teammate Joey Bart then threw to first baseman LaMonte Wade Jr. for the out.

That came one night after Chapman made a back-hand snag off a hard liner by Bart down the third base line and made the long throw from foul territory to get the out.

“These have all been tight games and every out is so precious, especially at the end of the game,” Chapman said. “They could have been right back in the game. So to end the game with that play, it definitely was the best one.”

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