SAN FRANCISCO — After Friday night’s game, manager Bruce Bochy said he saw signs that some of his slumping hitters were ready to break out. Asked to name the players, Bochy smiled and said everyone else would have to figure that out on their own.
Well, it’s not hard to put two and two together. Joe Panik, who had six total hits since coming off the DL on July 28, notched three on Saturday. Denard Span drove in four runs. Brandon Belt, who was hitting .200 since the break, crushed a two-run homer. Throw in yet another dominating Madison Bumgarner performance and you’ve got an easy 6-2 win over the Orioles.
Six days after giving Bumgarner zero runs of support, the Giants got him four before he gathered his things and walked back to the clubhouse in the seventh. Panik’s swing finally appears to be back in form, and he hit a double in the second that put two on. Span smoked a single up the middle, driving in two.
It was repetition in the sixth, as Panik hit a ground rule double to deep right-center and Span followed with another two-out single. Belt hit his 14th homer an inning later.
Bumgarner didn’t need nearly that much support, but it surely was appreciated after a 1-0 loss last Sunday in Washington D.C. He struck out eight Orioles and allowed just three hits. The only real threat came in the sixth with the Giants holding a 2-0 lead. Manny Machado’s double off Span’s glove put two in scoring position with one out. Bumgarner got Mark Trumbo (33 home runs) to pop up before working carefully to Jonathan Schoop. A walk loaded the bases, but Bumgarner froze Chris Davis (24 home runs) for an inning-ending strikeout.
Starting pitching report: Bumgarner lowered his ERA to 2.11. When Clayton Kershaw becomes ineligible for the ERA title in a few days, Bumgarner likely will take over the MLB lead.
Bullpen report: Derek Law extended his scoreless appearances streak to 18.
At the plate: Span had his 10th career four-RBI game and second as a Giant.
In the field: There was nothing flashy one way or the other.
Attendance: The Giants announced a crowd of 41,456 human beings who didn’t realize Ubaldo Jimenez was still in the Majors until he came in to pitch the seventh.
Up next: Johnny Cueto will try to clinch a second straight series victory for a team that previously had none in the second half.