SAN FRANCISCO — Gordon Beckham stood in front of his new locker — about 20 feet from the spot where Hunter Pence regularly quotes philosophers — and dropped a Clark Griswold quote on reporters. He repeated the line to make sure it was written down. As the details were being sorted out, Buster Posey walked up and settled into his own locker, a couple feet away.
“Watch it Buster,” Beckham said. “I’m giving an interview here.”
Posey smiled and shook his head. He has known Beckham since the Cape Cod League, where the two were teammates. They were in the same draft class and now they’re in the same clubhouse, one that was sorely needing a win, but also energy and goofiness and, well, a little fun.
Beckham, acquired Tuesday, will be here a week, and while he had nothing to do Tuesday’s blowout win, he certainly lightened the mood in the dugout a bit. That Griswold quote turned out to be pretty apt, too. Asked about a late-September trade from the Braves, Beckham said he was shocked. He put his own twist on Griswold’s line: “If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn't be more surprised than I am now.” Bruce Bochy could have used that one himself on Tuesday.
The Giants, fresh off yet another disappointing road trip, pounded out 19 hits in a 12-3 victory over the Rockies. Up and down the lineup, there were positive signs.
Denard Span had two hits in the leadoff spot and Brandon Belt had three right behind him, falling a homer shy of the cycle. Buster Posey and Hunter Pence went back-to-back during a four-run fifth, with Posey getting his 1,000th career big league hit. Perhaps the biggest development came at shortstop, with Brandon Crawford notching four hits — including two triples — in his second game back from a dislocated finger. Angel Pagan, Joe Panik and Conor Gillaspie added two hits apiece at the bottom of the lineup.
Is the light coming on for a team that has stumbled through two months of baseball?
“Sure, it’s possible,” Posey said. “We hope it does.”
The Giants have had their share of positive wins in the second half. If this one proves sustainable, they’ll be sitting pretty. They are a full game up on the Cardinals, who won 12-5 earlier in the day. They’re a half-game back of the Mets, who won 12-1, but the two teams are tied in the loss column. Bochy said the race is getting fun. Matt Moore, who was brilliant in 7 2/3 innings, said it’s on every mind. Moore watched the Mets and Cardinals on the off day, switching back and forth between late-September baseball and the presidential debate.
“I had an eye on what’s going on in the National League for sure,” he said. “It’s been like that for the last week or so.”
The three teams have jockeyed back and forth, seemingly unable to pull away or fall back permanently. If the Giants get in they might be the most dangerous of the bunch, in large part because of what Moore showed Tuesday. The No. 3 starter struck out 11 and walked none, giving up just one run before being lifted in the eighth.
Moore said he made a slight adjustment after a disastrous start in Los Angeles. The simplest way to put it is that he slowed down on the mound. He compared his last start to a bike race.
“Let’s say you’re going for a bike ride and you’re going to ride a bike for 10 miles, and out of the gate you’re just burning and giving everything you’ve got,” he said. “I think that’s what happened in L.A.”
Back at home, Moore had the right tempo on the mound. He said he didn’t try to be overly "creative" or “over-nasty.” He just pitched.
For once, the Giants just hit. The four-run fifth was followed by a five-run eighth. The Giants hit three homers. “It’s been a while since we’ve had a game like that,” Bochy said. The new guy, Beckham, watched it unfold without knowing how surprising it was. Beckham has spent his entire season on a last-place team. He said he didn’t know that much about the Giants’ struggles. He didn’t seem to care much, either.
“All that matters is they get in,” he said. “They get into the playoffs and get hot.”
That has been the plan all along, and on Tuesday you could see it coming into focus. The Giants hit and pitched, and they had fun doing it. As he talked about his college days with Beckham, Posey yelled out to Crawford, who was heading for a clubhouse shower. He asked Crawford if he also played on the Cape that summer, knowing the answer.
“I hit .179,” Crawford said dryly. “Thanks for bringing it up.”