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Flores' homer leads outburst as Giants top Rangers

Curtis Pashelka, The Mercury News on

Published in Baseball

SAN FRANCISCO -- It was a 86 mph slider that was slightly inside and down below the strike zone -- not necessarily the type of pitch you might expect a right-handed hitter like Wilmer Flores to turn on and hit into the left field seats.

But anything's possible right now inside Oracle Park, which -- relatively speaking -- has been pretty friendly to hitters through the opening four games of the Giants' first homestand.

Flores' three-run home run in the bottom of the fifth inning proved to be the difference Friday night as the Giants topped the Texas Rangers 9-2 to open a three-game series.

Chadwick Tromp, Mauricio Dubon and Darin Ruf each had two hits to bolster the bottom of the order, with Tromp's single in the fifth inning representing his first big league hit.

Tromp's hit also started a Giants two-out rally, which culminated with Flores' second home run of the season. On a 2-2 count, Flores reached down and golfed one toward left field. Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo ran back, but the ball had just enough carry to clear the wall.

It was the fifth home run hit by Giants hitters at Oracle Park so far this season, and the 10th homer at the park in four games overall. They've now scored 23 runs in their last three games at their notoriously stingy home in terms of offense.

The Giants added two runs in the sixth and three more in the seventh.

The Giants also received a solid performance from their bullpen, starting with Conner Menez, who took over for starter Logan Webb with the bases loaded and two out in the fourth inning. But Menez got Rougned Odor to pop out to end the threat, then worked a clean fifth inning.

Shaun Anderson, Wandy Peralta, Tony Watson and Sam Selman combined to shut out the Rangers over the final four innings, as the Giants put the stench of Thursday night's 12-7 loss to the San Diego Padres in the rear view mirror.

The Padres scored six times in the 10th, spoiling what had been another late inning comeback by the Giants, who trailed 6-1 in the bottom of the seventh.

 

After the first five San Diego hitters had reached base, Giants manager Gabe Kapler went to pull reliever Tyler Rogers. With Rogers already in the dugout, the game's umpires told Kapler his pitcher wasn't allowed to leave the game. Pitching coach Andrew Bailey had already visited the mound to see Rogers with Austin Hedges at the plate.

Kapler said Friday he's moved on from the night before and was solely focused on helping his team get ready for the Texas Rangers.

"We're going to continue to work diligently to make great decisions in the dugout," Kapler said. "I've turned the page from last night. On to the Rangers tonight."

Webb, in his second start, had trouble locating his fastball through much of his outing and allowed four walks to go with four strikeouts.

Webb's outing got off to an auspicious start as the first pitch he threw -- a 96 mph fastball -- was taken the other way by Shin-Soo Choo for a 1-0 Rangers lead. Webb walked two other batters in the first and finished the inning with 18 pitches.

In his first start of the season on July 25 against the Dodgers, Webb allowed one run over four innings.

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