SAN FRANCISCO — Before the Giants played their final game of the first half on Friday, Bruce Bochy sat in the home dugout and expressed what he’d like to see in his final three months as a major league manager.
His wish list was straightforward: Stronger starting pitching, more quality at-bats from his veteran hitters and better execution in close games.
Based on his team’s subpar play through its first 80 games, Bochy sounded like a child asking Santa Clause for a sports car. In game No. 81, the Giants left every item on Bochy’s wish list under the tree.
Veterans Brandon Crawford and Buster Posey each delivered three hits, starter Shaun Anderson enjoyed another impressive outing and the Giants bullpen closed the door in a 6-3 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
With the way his club performed on Friday, it was easy for Bochy to look past the fact the Giants (35-46) are now on pace to win 70 games. The Giants turned back the clock, snapping a five-game home losing streak to the D’backs and halting a three-game skid that interrupted the middle of their week.
Crawford entered the night needing three hits to join Posey and Pablo Sandoval as the third active player to record 1,000 career hits with the Giants, and with his second three-hit game of the season, the Giants shortstop achieved the feat.
Crawford wasn’t the only left-handed hitter who lifted Bochy’s spirits as left fielder Alex Dickerson added a pair of RBIs to bring his total to 12 in eight games with the Giants. Dickerson launched a solo home run to open the scoring in the second against D’backs starter Merrill Kelly and then gave the Giants an insurance run in the seventh with a RBI single into right field.
The most encouraging performance of the night for the Giants belonged to Posey, who broke out of an extended slump with three hits to the opposite field including a RBI double in the bottom of the third that was initially called a home run. The Giants catcher snapped an 0-for-16 stretch at the plate with a high, arching flyball down the right field line that hit off the top of the brick wall before caroming into right center field.
First base umpire Rob Drake gave Posey the green light to round the bases, but a replay review overturned the call on the field and sent Posey back to second. Posey still hasn’t homered at Oracle Park this season, but he recorded his first multi-RBI game since May 5 when he hit a line drive single off the glove of D’backs second baseman Ketel Marte to bring home Joe Panik in the bottom of the fifth.
With his first multi-hit game this month and first three-hit game since August 10, 2018, Posey gave the Giants’ offense a much-needed lift only hours after Bochy pointed out that many of the team’s regular starters have posted numbers that are significantly worse than their career averages.
Anderson fell one out short of becoming the fourth Giants rookie in the last two decades to record five quality starts in the same calendar month. The right-hander was poised to join a list that includes Chris Heston, Madison Bumgarner and Tim Lincecum, but a two-out single in the fifth by D’backs shortstop Nick Ahmed compelled Bochy to turn to his bullpen.
With help from right-hander Reyes Moronta, who stranded Ahmed, Anderson allowed just two earned runs over 5 2/3 innings against a D’backs lineup that faced him for the second time this week.
Despite inducing fewer swings and misses than most major league starters, Anderson has maintained his effectiveness by pitching to soft contact and attacking all four quadrants of the strike zone. That combination made him the most consistent starter in the Giants’ rotation in June as he performed better than all of his peers, including ace Madison Bumgarner.
In 36 1/3 innings this month, Anderson posted a 3.47 ERA and never allowed more than three earned runs in a start.