PHILADELPHIA – The Giants received huge contributions from fresh blood Wednesday night. Roger Kieschnick’s debut was highly productive and Brett Pill finally brought the bat he used to mash the Pacific Coast League all season.
But the moves that management didn’t make might have been just as inspirational in the Giants’ 9-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.
GM Brian Sabean didn’t sell off Hunter Pence or Javier Lopez for beads and trinkets, choosing instead to put his faith in this group, which accomplished so much so recently, to finish strong.
[RELATED -- Sabean: 'Embarrassing offers didn't entice trade for Pence, others]
The players got the message and played like they were inspired by it, routing the Phillies to finish off an otherwise lost month that likely will be a kill shot to their aspirations of defending as World Series champions.
The Giants snapped a five-game losing streak and finished 8-17 in July – their worst winning percentage in a month since they went 8-19 in June, 2004. Their 18 victories in June and July represent their fewest over a span of two calendar months since 1991, when they were 16-32 through the end of May.
Kieschnick had no hand in any of that history, which included so many lost chances with runners in scoring position. The 26-year-old banged out two-strike, RBI hits in each of his first two at-bats in his long-awaited debut. And Pill hit just the Giants’ second home run since the All-Star break. He set a career high with four RBIs and is 6 for 9 in two games since being recalled.
The Giants had scored five runs just once in 11 games since the All-Star break. Pill and Kieschnick drove in six between them Wednesday night.
Chad Gaudin didn’t give back the early lead. He held the Phillies to a run on four hits in seven innings to earn the victory.
Starting pitching report
Gaudin was coming off a miserable start in which his stuff was flat from beginning to end. He was crisper this time and kept pumping quality strikes while operating with a nice cushion.
Gaudin has five wins, matching Tim Lincecum for third on the staff behind Madison Bumgarner and Matt Cain.
But the personal highlight for Gaudin had to be the single he punched through the left side with the bases loaded in the third inning. It snapped an 0-for-40 streak – the longest active hitless streak in the majors –and made him 2 for 59 in his career. Gaudin’s other hit came in 2009 with the Padres.
Mop-up duty is a lot more fun when you’re ahead.
At the plate
It was a memorable day for the offense, which entered having scored just 24 runs in 11 games since the break.
Kieschnick showed some moxie in his first big league plate appearance, adjusting quickly after swinging through a pair of changeups from Kyle Kendrick. He stayed back when Kendrick went to the change a third time, and singled to score a run. The hit capped a four-run first inning that also included Pill’s two-out, two-run single.
Pill and Kieschnick, batting sixth and seventh, provided the lower-order production the Giants have been lacking most of the season. They both hit RBI singles to key a three-run rally in the third, too.
Kieschnick became just the second Giant since the All-Star break to contribute multiple hits with runners in scoring position in one game. Hunter Pence was the other, in the Reds series.
The Giants enjoyed a rare power surge, too. They entered the day with just one home run in 11 games since the All-Star break. Their homerless streak had reached 90 innings before Pill broke it with a shot into the left field seats in the seventh.
Then Brandon Crawford got in the act, hitting his first homer since April 27. He had gone 259 at-bats without a home run after hitting five in his first 80 at-bats to start the season.
Kieschnich finished 2 for 5.
Phillies third baseman Cody Asche also made his first big league start, and while it wasn’t as productive as Kieschnick’s debut, he did give his family a huge thrill in the first inning when he made a diving stop down the line of Pence’s hard grounder, then threw across the diamond for the out.
Kieschnick looked plenty capable in left field, too. On the first ball hit to him as a big leaguer, he took a good route and made a leaping catch near the wall to take hit away from Darin Ruf.
The Phillies announced 34,067 paid. Those who wore Michael Young jerseys did not need to pay a visit to the team store.
The Giants complete their three-game series at Citizens Bank Park. In a match of aces having off years, Matt Cain (6-6, 4.79 ERA) takes the mound against Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels (4-13, 4.09). First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. PDT.