Home News After Melvin’s message, SF Giants ambush Diamondbacks to snap skid, avoid sweep

After Melvin’s message, SF Giants ambush Diamondbacks to snap skid, avoid sweep

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PHOENIX — Messaged received.

After manager Bob Melvin dressed down his players following a season-worst sixth loss in a row Tuesday night, they responded the next afternoon with an onslaught against the Diamondbacks’ starter, Jordan Montgomery, and stopped the bleeding at six games with a 9-3 win to avoid being swept for a second straight series.

The Giants know a thing or two about disappointing starts from free-agent pitchers who signed late, and Montgomery trudged back to the third-base dugout to a chorus of boos from the 24,178 on hand with six runs in and no outs recorded in the third inning.

Bringing a dozen men to bat, all six of the Giants’ runs in the inning came on a pair of powerful swings from Heliot Ramos and Wilmer Flores.

Ramos launched a towering two-run shot on to the concourse in center field, an estimated 424 feet away, to open the scoring, and four batters later Flores turn the ambush into a full-blown assault, depositing a hanging curveball into the left-field seats for the Giants’ third grand slam of the year.

Drawing four walks to pair with his home run and a single, Ramos became the first Giants player besides LaMonte Wade Jr. (who has done it twice) to come to the plate at least six times and not make an out since Pablo Sandoval in 2013.

Since being moved to the top portion of the lineup four games ago, Ramos has come to bat 20 times and reached safely in 12 of them with three home runs, raising his batting average to .304 and OPS to .918, both of which would lead the team if he had enough plate appearances to qualify.

The .211 average and .573 OPS that Flores took into Wednesday’s contest would have each been the worst marks of his career since he was a 21-year-old rookie, and the underlying data hasn’t been any better, with an average exit velocity in the bottom 1% of big-leaguers.

But with a line-drive single to go with his grand slam, Flores has reached base five times in the past two games, and his five RBIs were a season-high.

Jorge Soler tacked on another run with a 427-foot solo shot off lefty Brandon Hughes in the eighth, and the Giants added two more against him in their half of the ninth. The nine runs amounted to their best offensive output since a 9-5 win in Pittsburgh two weeks ago and only the sixth time they have reached that total in 63 games.

Waiting until to sign until March 29, 10 days after Blake Snell, Montgomery’s ERA in nine starts rose to 6.80, a far cry from the pitcher who helped lead the Rangers to the World Series last fall but still nearly two runs lower than Snell’s 9.51 mark in the six starts he has been able to make.

Both starting pitchers had left the game by the time the Giants came to bat for a fifth time, as Arizona ran up Jordan Hicks’ pitch count and backed him into a bases-loaded jam in the fourth inning, prompting Melvin to call on Sean Hjelle, who coaxed a soft ground ball from Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to escape the inning.

Hicks required 92 pitches to record 11 outs, his shortest outing of the season, but limited the Diamondbacks to two runs while striking out seven. His velocity also ticked up, registering regular 98 mph readings on his fastball and averaging an extra mph across his arsenal.

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