PHOENIX — Chris Heston, a September call-up last season, was guaranteed a World Series ring the second Pablo Sandoval caught the final batted ball of the 2014 season. Now it appears he’ll play a key role on the first day of festivities at AT&T Park.
Heston gave up just two unearned runs over six innings of a 5-2 win over the Diamondbacks and put himself in line to start the home opener next Monday at AT&T Park. The 26-year-old got off to a nervy start but settled in, getting eight outs on the ground and five more via strikeout.
The performance came at the perfect time for the Giants, who have lost Matt Cain to a flexor strain and have their fingers crossed about Jake Peavy’s tight back. Bochy mentioned before the game that Heston could get a long look here, and he certainly did nothing but impress in his second career start.
The Giants left 12 on base but did enough at the plate to give Heston his first career victory. And then, he surely got his first career big league beer shower.
Starting pitching report
Hesto Presto was mostly sitting 91-92 mph last season, but he bulked up over the offseason and showed the Diamondbacks a filthy 93 mph sinker. He had a good curveball (Mark Trumbo struck out on a sweeping one in the fourth) and had a couple Diamondbacks fishing at his changeup (David Peralta looked silly on a 3-2 count with a runner on second in the sixth).
Heston threw 91 pitches in six innings. His first run was mostly his own fault, as he hit leadoff batter A.J. Pollock and then threw a pickoff throw down the line, allowing Pollock to advance to third. He scored on a groundout. The second unearned run came when Paul Goldschmidt doubled and later scored on a passed ball on catcher Hector Sanchez.
Mesa resident Sergio Romo continued to own the Phoenix team. With the Giants clinging to a one-run lead in the eighth, Romo went through the 2-3-4 hitters in just eight pitches.
At the plate
Take Chase Field, add a healthy dose of iffy Diamondbacks pitching, toss in a bunch of locked-in Giants bats. What do you get? Well, how ‘bout 37 hits and 16 runs over three games.
Nori Aoki had three hits and a walk and is 6-for-14 in his first season with the Giants. Brandon Crawford had two singles and is hitting .385 through three games. Angel Pagan had his fourth double of the series. Matt Duffy was 2-for-4 with an RBI double in his first start. Casey McGehee got a quarter of the way to his 2014 homer total with a two-run insurance blast.
In the field
Heston kept his infielders busy and Crawford had a particularly slick day over at short. The highlight was a sharp liner from Jake Lamb that caught Crawford as much as he caught it. Positioning, kids. It’s all the rage in 2015. Casey McGehee wrestled the hard dirt with two outs in the bottom of the seventh but made a strong throw to get Pollock.
The Diamondbacks announced a crowd of 21,642, which included one person who did not get a churro dog because it ended up in a joyous press box. Happy birthday, Schulman!
The Giants feasted on Diamondbacks pitching for three games, but the road gets much steeper this weekend in San Diego. They’ll face Ian Kennedy, Brandon Morrow, James Shields and Tyson Ross over four games against the fighting A.J. Prellers. The marquee matchup comes Saturday, when Shields gets another shot at Madison Bumgarner.