WASHINGTON — The Giants were a model of resilience last year, consistently showing the ability to bounce back from tough losses en route to winning a franchise-record 107 games. They seem to be bringing that quality into 2022.
After losing three of four games to the Mets, the Giants got back on track with a 7-1 win over the Nationals on Friday night at Nationals Park.
Austin Slater smashed a three-run home run and Brandon Crawford added a punt double as San Francisco burst for seven runs to knock Nationals left-hander Patrick Corbin out of the game in the second inning.
Here are three takeaways from the Giants’ series opener victory:
1. Slater shakes off the rust with a big jab against Corbin
The Giants were in the midst of a long stretch in which they were primarily challenged with right-handed throwing, leaving limited opportunities for Slater, who became one of the club’s most dangerous weapons against left-handers. Slater finally got his first start in nine days on Friday, playing in left field and leading at bat against southpaw Corbin.
Right-handed hitter Slater entered the game with just .105 at bat in his first 10 games, but he made the most of his start against Corbin, unleashing a three-point shot to the opposite court that highlighted the second seven-run Giants inning. . It was the first home run of the year for Slater, who also saved a pair of runs with a diving catch down the first and added a lone right-hander Erasmo Ramírez in the third to take his batting average to 0.167. .
Slater said manager Gabe Kapler approached him after he struck on his first at bat to give him a timely confidence boost that helped keep him fit for the rest of the night .
“After the first at bat, Gabe pulled me aside and just reminded me that I was a good hitter,” Slater said. “He said, ‘Swag it out, be you and remember you’re a good hitter.’ I guess the pep talk worked.
2. Dubón’s 93.4 mph rocket
With Steven Duggar on the 60-day injured list with a moderate left oblique strain on Friday, the Giants could rely on super utility Mauricio Dubón to help fill their void in center field. Dubón got off to a slow start at the plate — he went 0 for 3 to drop his batting average to .158 in his first seven games — but he showed off his defensive prowess in the third, when he made a spectacular throw to catch Nationals star Juan Soto at third base.
Soto smoked a 387-foot drive to the right-field wall for his 500th career hit, but was kicked out trying to stretch a double into a triple by Dubón, who quickly recovered the ball and uncorked a 93 .4 mph, a jump throw to third baseman Wilmer Flores, who applied the tag for the last out of the inning. The Nationals contested the appeal, but the decision was upheld following a replay review.
“Amazing throwing,” Slater said. “He did it from the wall. It was an incredible and fair throw for the money. He has a guy who is quite fast. Great game from Dubi.
3. Junis, the beginnings of González
A pair of newcomers – right-hander Jakob Junis and outfielder Luis González – joined the Giants on Friday and saw immediate action after being promoted from Triple-A Sacramento. Junis, who was called up to replace the injured Anthony DeSclafani, relieved opener Sam Long in the third inning and allowed just three hits in five scoreless innings in his Giants debut.
Signed to a one-year, $1.75 million contract in March, Junis struggled to an 8.74 ERA in 11 1/3 innings in his first three starts for Sacramento, but he had the looked sharp on Friday, relying mostly on his slider and change to thwart Nationals. . The outing could be a audition for a longer look in the rotation, especially since the Giants are now two starters behind due to injuries to DeSclafani (right ankle inflammation) and Alex Cobb (sprained ankle). right adductor).
“We signed Junis knowing he was going to throw some meaningful innings for us this season and probably make some significant starts for us,” Kapler said.
González, who gives the Giants another left-handed outfielder to replace Duggar, hit for Dubón in the seventh, becoming the 1,000th player in San Francisco history, according to the club. The appearance capped a long road back to the Majors for González, a 2017 third-round pick who played nine games for the White Sox before undergoing season-ending right shoulder surgery in August.
The Giants acquired González despite the injury, stashing him on the 60-day IL and helping him rehabilitate his shoulder before re-signing him to a Minor League contract in the offseason. González rewarded their faith by emerging as a spring star and continuing to produce at Triple-A Sacramento, where he hit .283 with .889 OPS and three home runs in 11 games before earning his first call-up with the Giants.
“It means a lot,” González said. “It’s my dream. It’s where I want to be. It’s good to be back in the big leagues but with the Giants this time.