video thumbnail

SF@ARI: Melky goes 4-for-5 with an RBI vs. D-backs

PHOENIX -- Prior to Sunday's rubber match with the D-backs, Giants manager Bruce Bochy was asked for his reasoning behind inserting Brett Pill into the lineup at first base in place of Brandon Belt.

"We need a threat in that four-spot; he gives us that," Bochy said. "He won the game for us against [Dodgers pitcher Clayton] Kershaw. We're not just looking for homers, though."

His manager may not have been predicting a long ball, but Pill rewarded his club's faith in him anyway in a loud way.

With San Francisco already leading by a run in the fifth inning, Pill smacked a two-run homer on a first-pitch fastball to left field to put the Giants comfortably ahead on their way to a 7-3 victory over the D-backs on Mother's Day.

"They've been throwing a lot of [first-pitch fastballs] the whole series," Pill said. "I tried to put a good swing on it and I got it out."

After struggling for offense in the series opener Friday, the Giants connected for nine hits Saturday and continued their momentum Sunday with 14 hits, establishing the team's season high. All eight position players had at least one hit.

"They kept the line moving. We had some good at-bats," Bochy said. "Guys did a nice job."

Seven of the Giants' last 12 runs have come with two outs, including four Sunday.

"That's what we've been missing," Bochy said. "We've got it the last few days. It's a big reason why we're at .500; we couldn't get the timely hit. We've been getting them now."

Melky Cabrera extended his hitting streak to 11 games with four hits, two runs scored and an RBI. Over the three-game weekend series, he collected nine hits total.

"I trust my preparation. I'm feeling good at the plate," Cabrera said through a translator. "I feel like I can hit it in or out, it doesn't matter. I have the right approach and I'm covering the whole plate right now."

Hours after being called up from Triple-A Fresno, Charlie Culberson went 1-for-4 in his Major League debut. Television cameras caught the 23-year-old's father, who played in the Giants' Minor League system for five years, tearing up watching his son bat.

"We're very close. He was always my coach and a great coach at that," Culberson said. "I know he was very excited. He'll probably be on cloud nine for a while, like I am. It was a nice feeling; I won't forget it."

Barry Zito, who turned 34 Sunday, allowed three earned runs on five hits to secure his first win since tossing a shutout April 9 against Colorado in his first start of the season.

"I was kind of in and out today. It wasn't a great day for as far as stuff goes, but the curveball bailed me out a couple times," Zito said. "I battled. I was encouraged I was able to close the door on them. They were fighting to get back into the game."

After starting their six-game road trip to Los Angeles and Arizona 1-3, the Giants were pleased to head home .500 again.

"We haven't played our best ball," Bochy said. "We're still trying to clean some things up, but the last two days, it's looked a lot better."

After Zito wiggled his way out of a bases-loaded jam unscathed in the first inning, the D-backs jumped ahead in the second with a two-out Jason Kubel RBI single.

"If you look at it, he's actually pitched pretty good this entire season," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "We had our opportunities."

The Giants answered right back in their half of the third with two-out RBI singles from Gregor Blanco and Cabrera to take a 2-1 lead. They extended their advantage to 4-1 with a Blanco bloop single in the fourth that plated two.

After A.J. Pollock and Kubel each hit RBI doubles to close the gap to one run again, Pill's homer in the sixth gave the Giants breathing room.

The first baseman also helped his club defensively as well. Pill made a slick snag on a hard grounder off the bat of Kubel and turned it into a double play in the seventh.

"What a play. Those type of plays save you," Bochy said. "We were in trouble a little bit, we get the double play. It helps you win ballgames."

MLB.com Comments