Giants pitchers really know how to hit. Three of them had homered this season entering Sunday’s action: Madison Bumgarner (five), Tim Hudson (once), and Ryan Vogelsong (once). Mike Leake became the fourth, drilling a go-ahead, three-run shot to left field in the second inning against Padres starter Odrisamer Despaigne.
Leake had homered earlier this season as a member of the Reds, so he now has two on the season and six in his career.
According to Baseball Reference, the Giants are the 63rd team since 1901 to have at least four pitchers hit at least one home run in the same season. 15 of them had five pitchers homer at least once. The Giants would need Chris Heston or Jake Peavy, most likely, to go yard to join that elite group.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the job security of Reds manager Bryan Price is “extremely tenuous”. He adds that Hall of Famer and long-time Red Barry Larkin is viewed as the most likely successor if Price’s seat were vacated.
The Reds entered play Saturday with a 55-77 record, dead last in the NL Central. They lost nine games in a row between August 14-23, and are poised to finish fifth in the division for the first time since 2008. Their .417 winning percentage would be their worst since 2001.
In fairness to Price, the Reds’ August slump came after the Reds traded away ace Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake at the trade deadline. They also traded Marlon Byrd two weeks ago.
Acquired to provide some power with Hunter Pence on the disabled list with an oblique strain, Marlon Byrd came as advertised in his debut with the Giants on Friday, going 3-for-5 with a two-run homer as part of a 6-4 victory over the Pirates at PNC Park.
Byrd also singled and doubled. His two-run blast was part of a three-run first inning against Jeff Locke. The Giants added two more runs in the second inning on a long home run from Madison Bumgarner. He has gone deep in back-to-back starts and now has five home runs on the season.
Bumgarner struck out six while allowing three runs over 6 1/3 innings to secure the victory. He’s now 15-6 with a 3.02 ERA on the year.
The Giants sit 1 1/2 games behind the Dodgers for first place in the National League West and four games back of the Cubs for the second Wild Card spot. They’ll welcome Mike Leake back from the disabled list to pitch against Pirates ace Gerrit Cole this afternoon.
Your Friday box scores and AP recaps:
Braves 3, Cubs 5
Twins 4, Orioles 3
Indians 7, Yankees 3
Brewers 10, Nationals 3
Rangers 2, Tigers 0
Giants 6, Pirates 4
Royals 2, Red Sox 7
Diamondbacks 6, Reds 3
Blue Jays 9, Angels 3
Dodgers 0, Astros 3
Phillies 7, Marlins 1
Rays 2, Athletics 1
Mets 14, Rockies 9
White Sox 11, Mariners 4
Cardinals 3, Padres 9
John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Mike Leake is set to rejoin the Giants’ rotation on Saturday, in Pittsburgh against the Pirates. Shea adds that Leake will be taking Chris Heston’s spot in the rotation, and Heston will head to Triple-A Sacramento for a breather.
Leake, 27, was expected to return from the disabled list on Tuesday, but his left hamstring injury didn’t heal up as quickly as anticipated. Leake said on Thursday that his hamstring still isn’t one hundred percent and might not be for the rest of the season. The right-hander has made just one start since the Giants acquired him from the Reds, holding the Rangers to two runs in 6 1/3 innings on August 2.
Heston hasn’t been able to complete the fifth inning in three of his last four starts. In his most recent start, he needed 104 pitches to record 14 outs against the Cardinals. Nevertheless, he has a productive 3.34 ERA with a 110/48 K/BB ratio in 145 2/3 innings.
July 31 trade deadline pickup Mike Leake made only one start for the Giants before landing on the 15-day disabled list August 3 because of a left hamstring strain. But everything appears to be trending in the right direction now with that injury.
According to Alex Pavlovic of CSNBayArea.com, the right-hander made it through a bullpen session on Wednesday afternoon in St. Louis without issue and could return to the Giants’ starting rotation for Sunday Night Baseball at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park.
Leake, 27, owns a cool 3.52 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, and 95/36 K/BB ratio over 143 innings (22 starts) this season between Cincinnati and San Francisco. He can become a free agent in November.