San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler isn’t about to apologize for his team, which has opened the season by tearing up baseball’s unwritten rules.
The Giants figure to maintain their unconventional ways on Saturday when they continue their three-game series against the host Washington Nationals.
San Francisco began the set with a 7-1 victory on Friday. Austin Slater hit a three-run homer during a seven-run second inning, and Brandon Crawford had three hits and three RBIs.
Tempers flared briefly in the ninth inning with the Giants holding a commanding lead. With two outs, Thairo Estrada broke to steal second and attempted to score on Crawford’s bloop single before he was thrown out at the plate.
Nationals shortstop Alcides Escobar took exception and approached the Giants’ dugout, but order was quickly restored after his teammates pulled him away.
Kapler made clear earlier this season that his team wouldn’t ease up when leading by a large margin. He reiterated his position after Friday’s rout.
“We scored seven runs in an inning tonight,” Kapler said. “They have Josh Bell and Juan Soto and Nelson Cruz in the middle of their lineup. We know they’re capable of scoring seven runs in an inning as well.
“We feel like this is the best way to attack a series. It’s not about one game for us. It’s definitely not about running up the score. We’re going to respect our opponent at every turn. This is about using every tool at our disposal to compete.”
Washington manager Davey Martinez declined to get into a lengthy discussion about the Giants’ approach.
“They did some things we felt like was uncalled for,” Martinez said, “but you can ask Gabe Kapler about that.”
San Francisco’s Saturday starter will be left-hander Alex Wood (1-0, 1.93 ERA), who tossed five scoreless innings in an 8-1 win over the Cleveland Guardians on Sunday. He walked two and struck out five.
“You can see by his delivery, there’s a lot of deception there,” Guardians manager Terry Francona said. “But with it, there’s also some movement. When he’s been healthy, he’s been really good.”
Wood, 31, has allowed two runs on nine hits with an 11-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio in his first two starts covering 9 1/3 innings.
Cesar Hernandez is 5-for-14 against Wood, who is 5-4 with a 2.77 ERA in 13 career starts against the Nationals.
Washington was expected to start Paolo Espino, but the right-hander likely will be unavailable after pitching two innings out of the bullpen on Friday.
Instead, the Nationals might recall right-hander Aaron Sanchez from Triple-A Rochester for the start.
Sanchez, 29, spent last season with the Giants and went 1-1 with a 3.06 ERA in nine games (seven starts). He signed a minor league deal with the Nationals last month.
There could be an opening in Washington’s rotation following another rough outing by Patrick Corbin on Friday.
The veteran left-hander is 0-3 with an 11.20 ERA through his first four starts. He has yielded 17 runs and 24 hits with 11 walks over 13 2/3 innings.
San Francisco began the weekend with a few new faces after placing outfielder Steven Duggar on the 60-day injured list due to a left oblique strain. Right-hander Anthony DeSclafani landed on the 10-day injured list because of right ankle inflammation.
Right-hander Jakob Junis and outfielder Luis Gonzalez were promoted from Triple-A Sacramento. Junis tossed five scoreless innings and earned the victory in his season debut on Friday.
–Field Level Media