SAN FRANCISCO – It was a good day for the Brandons.
Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt each had their seventh homerun of the year to propel the Giants to a 7-1 victory over the Padres, claiming a series victory on Saturday afternoon at Oracle Park.
Crawford put the Giants on the board with a three-point shot at San Diego right-hander Joe Musgrove in the second inning, and Belt bolstered San Francisco’s lead with a solo shot in the fifth. Austin Slater, flexing his new mustache power, capped the scoring with a gigantic two-point shot to center field in the eighth.
The home run trio backed up another strong start from right-hander Kevin Gausman, who held the Padres to one point on three hits in six innings to lower his ERA to 1.97 this season. Gausman, who was activated on Saturday after spending three days on the injured list due to vaccine side effects, allowed three earned runs in 19 innings (1.42 ERA) in his first three starts of the year against the Padres, each of which the Giants won.
The Giants, in first place, improved to 5-3 against the Padres and to 20-13 overall, the best record in the National League. They have moved 2-1 / 2 games past San Diego in the NL West and will send Johnny Cueto the mound on Sunday as they aim to complete the three-game sweep at Oracle Park, where they went 12-3 to start the season. .
“It would be huge for us to come here and get another win tomorrow,” Belt said. “I think people are realizing that we have a really good ball club and we’re here to stay.”
The 2021 season had been seen as a potential swan song for Crawford, Belt and Buster Posey, each of them in the middle of the guaranteed final year of their contract with the Giants. But the three remaining players from the Championship era prove they still have plenty left in the tank.
Posey, who was given a day off Saturday, is batting .397 with a 1.231 OPS and a team-high eight home runs in 21 games. Belt, 33, has a 0.855 OPS in 32 games this year, slightly ahead of Crawford, 34, who posted a 0.855 OPS in 28 games. The three veterans combined to hit 22 of the Giants’ 46 homers this year, which are tied with the As’s, Braves and Blue Jays for most in the Majors.
“I think they are physically prepared for this,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “I often think in these situations we can kind of pay homage to a lot of people, but it’s really theirs. They’ve prepared for the season, they’re creaking in the cage, they’re making good game plans, they’re making adjustments.
“They are seasoned, seasoned and seasoned players who understand that there will be ups and downs in a season. They can’t let one batting spill over into another. That’s why you see these great moments, even recognizing that there have been moments of struggle as well. I think all of this is globally. “
Crawford hit .205 with a .663 OPS in April, but he made a small adjustment to simplify his swing, which helped him turn a corner. After Belt made a single and Evan Longoria doubled up to put a pair of runners in the second, Crawford jumped on a Musgrove first-step cutter, leading him 407 feet down center-right to give the Giants a lead. from 3-0.
“I feel like I have a little more direct path to the ball right now,” Crawford said. “No matter what gets thrown, I feel like I have a chance to hit it. I’m able to look over the middle and react to pitches right now. I don’t feel like I have to cheat on anything, so it’s a really good feeling.
Crawford is now 11 for 31 (.355) with four homers in his last 12 games and is on course to hit more than 20 homers for just the second time in his 11-year career. He also hasn’t lost a shortstop stage, where he continues to make tough games appear routine on a daily basis.
“You almost take it for granted,” Belt said. “He’s so good there. I think you realize that when he’s not on the pitch which you miss a bit. I get to see it every day, it’s been pretty awesome. I think right now he’s at the top of his game, so it’s so much more fun to watch.
It remains to be seen whether Posey, Belt and Crawford will be able to maintain their production over the 162-game season, especially as each player has struggled with ailments in the first five weeks of the year before. Nonetheless, Kapler and the rest of his coaching staff remain attentive to their needs and make sure they are given enough rest and recovery to continue wearing the Giants in 2021.
“Honestly, I think we spent a few years in this where not all of them were healthy,” Belt said. “I think I’m healthy again and have everyone back in the lineup – we’ve got a roster full of really good hitters, so I think that helps. It’s fun to watch. It’s fun to see Buster come back up there and look like himself again in 2012, maybe even better. We’re having a lot of fun playing baseball with each other right now, and hopefully we can keep going.