MILWAUKEE — The Giants tried and failed once this week to climb over .500. In their second attempt on Friday, they left little doubt.
Unloading on Brewers starter Freddy Peralta, the Giants brought 10 men to the plate in the third inning and scored seven of them, providing ample cushion for Alex Wood and San Francisco’s bullpen in a 15-1 rout, their second in a row over the Brewers and their ninth in their past 11 games. With their run of red-hot play, the Giants (26-25) will wake up Saturday morning with a winning record for the first time since Aug. 17 of last season.
“The boys scored a bunch of runs for me today,” a gleaming, chuckling Wood said, after pitching into the sixth inning for the first time this season. “They wanted to see me get that sixth inning today. That was nice. I couldn’t help but think about it in the third when they scored a bunch of runs.”
Their scoring explosion in the third inning eclipsed even what they were able to accomplish playing in the pinball machine that was Estadio Harp Helu in Mexico City last month, scoring their most runs in an inning since last April, a figure they have topped in a full game only three times this season.
Leading the charge, Mitch Haniger drove in a season-high four runs, accomplishing something he hasn’t done since leaving the thin international air. He opened the scoring with a two-run home run in the second inning, his third of the season and his first in one of MLB’s 30 regulation parks, before contributing a two-run double that scored the first runs of the hit parade in the third.
Since homering in both games of the Mexico City series, Haniger had been mired in a 5-for-72 (.167) slump, kept in the park for 19 straight games. The Giants’ biggest free-agent addition this offseason — at a cost of $43.5 million over three years — Haniger took a .193 average and .521 OPS into Friday’s game.
“It felt like a while,” Haniger said. “It was good to get one, and hopefully we’ll keep it rolling. … Not the first month I imagined starting the year. I definitely want to produce more and come through more. At the end of the day”
Rookie catcher Patrick Bailey also drove in three runs, dinking one RBI single into center field, dunking another into right and lining a double down the left-field line as part of a 4-for-5 performance. After singling home Haniger in the third, Bailey was able to cross the plate himself at a leisurely pace, driven home on a three-run homer by Brett Wisely that capped the enormous inning.
J.D. Davis put an exclamation mark on the rout and his own three-hit performance, launching a 422-foot moonshot three-quarters of the way up the second deck in left field, the longest of the Giants’ three home runs, which all traveled at least 400 feet.
With three more hits Friday, Mike Yastrzemski is batting .400 (6-for-15) with a homer and a pair of doubles in four games since breaking out of an 0-for-19 stretch that dated back to his return from the injured list.
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The Giants’ 15 runs and 19 hits were their second-highest totals of the season, both trailing only their seven-homer, 20-hit barrage in a 16-6 win over the White Sox on the season’s opening road trip. Six batters recorded multiple hits, including all five of the bottom of their order, who combined to go 14-for-25 — in other words, how a team can score 15 runs when the first two hitters in their batting order (LaMonte Wade Jr. and Blake Sabol) combine to go hitless and strike out nine times in 12 at-bats.
A big early lead was all the more important, a day after San Francisco used six pitchers to complete a nine-inning shutout.
They needed only two pitchers Friday night as Wood completed five innings for the first time this season, limiting the Milwaukee to one run over 5⅔, before handing a double-digit lead over to Tristan Beck to take them the rest of the way.
Wood walked two of the first three batters he faced as the Brewers loaded the bases in the first inning, but they managed only the one run after Wood induced a double-play ball that shortstop Casey Schmitt scooped up, tagged second and fired to first to complete himself. Wood retired 11 straight before escaping another bases-loaded jam in the fifth, while Beck held the Brewers scoreless over the final 3⅓ innings in his most effective outing of the season.