SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants’ newest two hit milestones in a 7-5 win over the Marlins on Sunday afternoon at Oracle Park.
Catcher Patrick Bailey hit his first career home run in only his second start, while right reliever Ryan Walker earned his first win after working a scoreless sixth inning in his major league debut.
JD Davis also went deep and struck out a pair of runs to help the Giants (22-24) secure their second straight win and take off 5-1 homestands against Miami and Philadelphia.
Bailey, the Giants’ 11th overall starter in the MLB Pipeline, and Walker are the latest rookies to emerge and make an immediate impact for San Francisco, which also received a big boost from fielder Casey Schmitt (#3 prospect), who went 2-for-4 with an RBI on Sunday to boost its rate. 383 with a .979 OPS over his first 12 games.
“I think you always have to expect that young players are going to have some ups and downs and some struggles,” said manager Gabe Kapler. “It’s always great when they have the first go up because it kind of sets the tone and brings a lot of energy to the field.”
The Giants entered Sunday with 653 OPS against left-handed pitchers, who rank 28th in the Majors, but got an early spark from switch-hitter Billy, who smashed a 98-mph fastball from Marlins’ Jesús Lozardo out of the field. to left center field to tie the game, 1-1, in the second.
According to Statcast, Homer Bailey fired a rocket from his bat at 107.4 mph and traveled 423 feet. While Bailey is seen as a better left-handed hitter, his first two strikes came from his natural right-hand side.
“It was crazy,” said Bailey, who made his Major League debut on Friday. “Being able to get all the highlights in a weekend and just kind of cool off is amazing.”
Bailey later went from end to end, throwing a safety pressure to score Mitch Hanniger from third base and extend the Giants’ lead to 6-4 in the sixth. However, the 23-year-old committed a rookie error in the ninth, making an errant throw to first base that allowed the Marlins to score an unearned run off Camilo Duvall.
Left-handed Alex Wood gave up four runs on six hits over 4 1/3 innings pitched, with the bulk of the damage coming via a pair of pigeon bugs to Jorge Soler and Nick Fortes. Wood had yet to complete five innings in his six games this season, as Kapler again gave him a quick hook by bringing in right-hander John Prebbia to face Soler after the Marlins put up two runners with one out in the fifth.
Wood left after pitching 74, prompting him to shake his head as he walked back toward the dugout.
“It’s hard because you feel like you can’t perform anymore,” Wood said. “It’s like, ‘Throw a perfect five or get upset on the fifth. ‘” “He’s frustrated.”
Brebbia surrendered a game-tying single to Soler before giving way to Walker, who was called up with Bailey on Friday after posting a 0.89 ERA over 15 games in Triple-A Sacramento.
Walker, who was selected 31st round by Washington State in the 2018 MLB draft, had been anxiously awaiting his debut all weekend, hoping for a chance to get ahead of his wife, Alexis, a San Francisco native, and her family. He finally got the call in the sixth, working around two singles to declare a clean run.
“It was a good feeling,” Walker said. “Obviously, a little nervous like everyone else, but I felt in control and played my game.”
“I thought he did an amazing job,” said Kapler. “It’s not easy to go out in that situation—the game is drawn, the game is on the line—and take the shots. We know if he’s hitting, he’s going to be really good. He’s very tricky. The ball came out very hot.”
Walker, whose 98 mph speed was topped by his unorthodox shot delivery, returned to the seventh mound, but was removed after giving up a leadoff single to Xavier Edwards. Jacob Gunness and Duvall combined to pitch the last three innings of the bullpen for the Giants, who posted a 1.33 ERA on the six-game home run.
The Giants have had more success at home (15-11) than on the road (7-13) this season, but they’re hoping the recent infusion of youngsters can carry on carrying them as they start a seven-game swing through Minnesota and Milwaukee. Monday.
“It’s a good spark,” Wood said. “It’s been so much fun watching these guys. Any help we can get, we’re always welcome. I hope these guys keep playing well and keep up the good start.”
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