The day game of the series on Sunday was not, as hoped, warmer in Cleveland than the night games as temperatures hovered around 36 degrees, but the Giants, and especially Thairo Estrada, took to the sunshine. They scored eight runs, and swept an AL team on the road for the first time in seven years (Rays, ’16).
Alex Wood was very good – starting the game six-up, six-down and only giving up a single in the third and a double in the fifth. He quashed both to keep it scoreless. The Giants meanwhile jumped on Cleveland starter Aaron Cevile in the second. Wilmer Flores rapped a double to deep center and Thairo Estrada followed with a 380-foot homer to left for his first two RBI. Giants 2, Guardians 0.
The Giants tacked on two runs in the fourth when an Estrada Fielder’s Choice went awry on an overthrow (taking advantage of opponents mistakes) for an RBI, and again in the sixth when Estrada doubled to left, knocking in Joc Pederson for his fourth RBI. That was a brilliant plate appearance by Thairo, as Estrada muscled off pitch after pitch and on the ninth pitch of the AB, ripped the double. Estrada then scored on a Steven Duggar infield single. Giants 6, Guardians 0.
Alex Wood allowed back-to-back baserunners to start the sixth and Kapler pulled him for Zach Littell who closed out the inning on eight pitches – inducing a pop up and a grounder for a double play.
In the top of the seventh Austin Slater drew a walk and Brandon Belt hammered a two-run dinger to make it Giants 8, Guardians 0. So Thairo Estrada and Brandon Belt each had two-run homers. Through seven, the Giants had 11 hits and Estrada had four RBIs.
Kap gave Tyler Beede the ball for the seventh and again, he struggled. Beede gave up a lead off walk to Amed Rosario, picked up two outs, and then gave up back-to-back singles to Oscar Mercado and pitcher Sam Hentges – yielding an earned run as Rosario crossed the plate. Giants 8, Guardians 1. To his credit, Beede got Myles Straw to fly out with RISP to end the inning.
The Guardians Konnor Pilkington held the Giants scoreless in the top of the eighth and Tyler Beede trotted back out for the bottom half. The good news: Beede settled down and was effective – three-up, three-down. The Giants went quietly as Pilkington again got them in order in the ninth.
Kap gave the ball to Sammy Long to close for the first time in this young season. As we have said, there is no closer on this team, rather there is a set of closers: Doval, McGee, Long and others can do the job based on match ups.
Long opened with a full display to Andres Gimenez a 75mph curve, a four-seamer (92mph), a change-up (83mph), four-seamer (95mph), curve (76mph) before inducing a ground out. He showed great command. He then picked up Ernie Clement on a grounder to third, using the full complement of pitches again. He struck out Bobby Bradley to end it. Wow! Sammy Long was great in his first outing and collected his first save. Very exciting.
The Giants swept the Guardians to start the year with their third straight series victory. Way to Go Giants! Great sweep! They share first place in the NL West as they fly to New York for a four-game series with the Mets starting tomorrow. I do not expect us to win game one which will see Alex Cobb facing Tylor Megill.
The Mets’ Tylor Megill has been lights out this young season, beating NL East rivals the Phillies and Nationals giving up just six hits – three in each game of five innings pitched – eleven strikeouts, no walks and no earned runs. The 6’7″ righty Megill has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.58
Rest up Giants – it’s going to be a hard Monday night game in the big apple.