MILWAUKEE – After a disappointing start to the season, the Giants finally seem to be making their move.
With a 15-1 victory over the Brewers at American Family Field on Friday night, the Giants (26-25) grabbed their ninth win in their last 11 games and climbed above .500 for the first time in 2023.
The San Francisco lineup racked up 19 hits, including a trio of homers from Mitch Haniger, Brett Wisely and JD Davis. Haniger’s two-run shot to Milwaukee right-hander Freddy Peralta—his first homer for the Giants outside of Mexico City—highlighted a three-run second, while Wisely’s three-run blast capped a seven-run burst that broke open the game. in the third.
“A lot of good swings, of course,” said manager Gabe Kapler. “Good at bats up and down the lineup. Even some of the at bats that didn’t end well were hard at bats and ran out. I thought our guys did a good job from head to toe.”
The Brewers – already upset by the loss of shortstop Willy Adames, who was hospitalized after being hit by a foul ball in the dugout in the bottom of the second inning – never recovered and only rallied one run on three hits over 5 2/3 innings against left-hander Alex Wood.
Wood had five more innings to complete in his first six appearances this year, but he provided much-needed length for the Giants on Friday, striking out five and throwing 93 pitches in his longest start of the season. Tristan Beck took care of the rest, firing 3 1/3 scoreless innings to give his fellow relievers a breather after the club’s bullpen game on Thursday.
The San Francisco pitching staff has not allowed more than four runs in 12 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the Majors.
“The guys have scored some points for me,” Wood said with a smile. “They wanted to see me get that sixth inning today. That was fun. I was reminded of that in the third inning when they scored some runs. It was amazing. Every time you get that support, it’s great. Hopefully they will continue to do that at all my starts.”
The Giants stumbled out of the gate this season, only going 6-13 through their first 19 games, but they’ve managed to turn it around by going 20-12 in 32 games since April 22.
Several factors have driven their recent rise, including lights-out work from their bullpen (0.88 ERA over the last 11 games), a hot stretch from Michael Conforto (.368 batting average with seven homers and 16 RBIs over his last 15 games), and the arrival of newcomers like Casey Schmitt, Patrick Bailey and Wisely, who combined went 8-for-15 with seven RBIs from the bottom third of the lineup on Friday.
All the positive developments add up to the Giants’ first winning record since last August, though they still have work to do in the National League West, where they rank third behind the Dodgers (31-21) and D- backs (29-21).
“It’s cool to finally get over that hump,” Wood said. “We took it day by day. We feel like we have the pieces on both sides of the ball. … It’s nice to see and feel like we’re playing our brand of baseball. We’re hitting, the bullpen has been great for the past two weeks, young guys are contributing. We have to keep it running. Hopefully we’re starting to get a little bit on schedule. This is what we expect to be moving forward day in and day out.”
Like Conforto, Haniger got off to a slow start at the plate after missing the first three weeks of the season with an oblique strain, but he’s also starting to show signs of breaking out of his protracted slump. Coming in on Friday, the 32-year veteran batted .193 with a .521 OPS over 24 games, but he hit three hits and scored four season-highs against the Brewers, demonstrating the kind of production the Giants envisioned when they signed. him to a three-year, $43.5 million off-season deal.
Haniger said he’s mostly been working on smoothing things over with his load and staying in his legs, which he hopes will help him get into a better rhythm on the record.
“It’s all about making adjustments,” Haniger said. “Not the first month I thought I would start the year. I definitely want to produce more and get through more. At the end of the day, I just have to keep working hard and making adjustments. It will come around. It has always been for me my entire career. You go through ups and downs. You just have to learn from it and make adjustments.”