What we learned as Giants erupt late for big win vs. Cards


T.J. McFarland will be very, very happy when the Giants fly out of St. Louis on Sunday night.

McFarland entered in a two-run game in the eighth inning on Friday night and watched as the Giants blew the game open in a span of just four pitches. They went on to win 8-2, getting their sixth straight and joining the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres as 20-win teams in the NL West.

The Giants led 3-1 when the Cardinals brought McFarland, a lefty, in to face Brandon Crawford with two on and one out. Crawford singled in a run and Evan Longoria followed two pitches later with a two-run double, his first hit of the year. Curt Casali hit the very next pitch out to dead center for his first homer of the year, giving the Giants a five-run inning.

By that point, Logan Webb was back in the clubhouse, but he did more than enough to get his fifth win of the season. Webb kicked off the winning streak last Saturday and on Friday night he became the first MLB pitcher this year to reach five wins. Here are three more things to know from the first night of a six-game road trip:

Keeping It 100

The Giants saw Jordan Hicks' velo last weekend, and on Friday he threw six more pitches at 100 mph or above in his five innings. Mike Yastrzemski was not impressed.

With runners on the corners and two outs in the third, Hicks threw Yastrzemski a 100.1 mph sinker that was redirected the other way at 103.4 mph. Harrison Bader, perhaps the best defensive center fielder in the NL, made a diving attempt at the track but the ball ticked off his glove and both runners scored as Yastrzemski cruised into second with a double.

The extra-base hit was the first by a Giants on a 100 mph pitch since August 29, 2019, when Stephen Vogt yanked a 100.7 mph pitch from San Diego's Andres Munoz into the corner at Oracle Park for an RBI double. Earlier that month, Buster Posey also had a double on a 100 mph pitch. Those two, plus Yastrzemski's are the only extra-base hits by the Giants on 100 mph pitches in the last five seasons.

Just Find A Way

Webb still is not at his best, and that was clear in the first inning as he struggled to put hitters away despite jumping ahead 0-2 on everybody. He issued a leadoff walk and fell behind 1-0 when Tommy Edman stole second, took third on a wild pitch and scored on a grounder to first. But Webb settled in, giving the Giants six innings and allowing just one run.

Webb's sinker averaged 91.9 mph, down from 92.6 on Opening Day, and he got just five total swinging strikes, but right now he has so much movement on his pitches that it doesn't matter. He got eight outs on the ground, including a pair of double plays, and also induced three pop-ups. The Cardinals weren't swinging through a lot of pitches, but they also weren't squaring them up. Webb allowed just two balls in play with exit velocities above 100 mph.

Making It Difficult

Luis Gonzalez has had some issues defensively, including in the seventh inning Friday night, but he continues to show that he's a big league-caliber hitter. Gonzalez tied the game in the second by lining a 100 mph fastball the other way for a single, and he later showed his speed by reaching on a grounder to second.

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With the two hits, Gonzalez bumped his average up to .328 and his OPS to .787. The Giants are currently carrying seven relievers and seven players who can play outfield, and that could change as soon as Monday when they visit Coors Field. They also have Tommy La Stella on the way back. There are tough decisions to be made, but Gonzalez is certainly showing his skills, and showing he should be in the mix as the Giants try and figure out their roster alterations.

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