Drew Pomeranz, Pablo Sandoval team up to lead Giants to sweep of Blue Jays

Kerry Crowley, The Mercury News on

Published in Baseball

TORONTO -- A stereotype exists that suggests Canadians are among the nicest people on the planet.

After a trip to Toronto, the Giants just might believe it because the Blue Jays were overly gracious hosts this week.

The Giants walked into Rogers Centre and played some of their best baseball of the year, earning a two-game sweep while making the Blue Jays appear overmatched in the process. A "welcome back" tribute Toronto gave for Giants center fielder Kevin Pillar only added to the warm hospitality the club enjoyed up north.

Thanks to six shutout innings from Drew Pomeranz and timely hitting from the team's middle of the order bats, the Giants collected their second shutout victory of the year with a 4-0 win in Wednesday's series finale.

"It's nice to get that one out of the way," said Pomeranz, who won his first game with the club. "I'm more excited about pitching into the sixth inning and being more efficient."

A struggling offense showed signs of life in Canada as they hit five home runs over two days, including a 112.4-mile per hour line drive homer on Wednesday from Pablo Sandoval, who homered on consecutive days for the first time since May 10-11, 2015.

"It felt pretty good," Sandoval said. "I'm just trying to do everything I can out there to help this team. That at-bat, I just focused on the last pitch he threw me the at-bat before and I tried to get a good swing."

With three consecutive wins, the Giants rallied to finish at .500 on their eight-game, three-city road trip and are now 9-8 over their last 17 games.

"It's good to come up here and win a couple," manager Bruce Bochy said. "It made for a decent road trip. To lose the first two series and come out at .500, you take it. I'm proud of the guys."

Pomeranz's fifth start of his Giants career was easily his best as the left-hander tossed six innings of two-hit ball while keeping the Blue Jays off the board. The left-hander retired the first 13 hitters he faced and watched his fastball velocity climb to 93.7 miles per hour late in his outing.

"I tried to pick my spots more, be more focused on making pitches than throwing hard like I have been in previous outings," Pomeranz said. "If I needed it, I would reach back for a little more but I think that's how you have to be as a starter."


The Giants struggled in the early innings against Blue Jays starter Clay Buchholz, but first baseman Brandon Belt broke a scoreless tie with an RBI double to drive in right fielder Steven Duggar in the fourth.

Sandoval extended the team's lead with his solo shot in the fifth against Buchholz, who pitched in the same Red Sox rotation as Pomeranz during the second half of the 2016 season.

"Buchholz was one of the guys I talked to the most when I first went over to Boston," Pomeranz said. "It's nice to see him still getting a chance to pitch."

The 399-foot laser Sandoval hit left-handed against his former Red Sox teammate was the hardest-hit ball by a Giants player this season and preceded another impressive swing in the sixth inning. The switch-hitter lined a 111.0-mile per hour one-hopper from the right side of the plate to shortstop Richard Urena, who robbed Sandoval of a base hit and at least one RBI with a clean pick of the second hardest-hit ball by a Giant in 2019.

"I'm healthy and when you're healthy, you can do everything out there," Sandoval said. "I don't have problems with my legs, my shoulder, so I'm just focused to do everything I can to come here and maintain that swing."

The Giants did cash in with two other run-scoring hits in the sixth as catcher Buster Posey and third baseman Evan Longoria each doubled in a run. Bochy had reliever Travis Bergen warming up before the bottom of the sixth, but two insurance runs allowed him to stick with Pomeranz, who recorded six shutout innings for the first time since September 19, 2017 when he achieved the feat for the Red Sox.

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