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Giants not interested in offensive struggles after win over Padres – NBC Sports Bay Area and California

Giants not interested in offensive struggles after win over Padres – NBC Sports Bay Area and California

SAN FRANCISCO – The box score says Tyler Fitzgerald scored the tying goal on Sunday and Jorge Soler was the game-winner. It says that Matt Chapman got the go-ahead and that Ha Seung Kim made a mistake that cost his team two runs and the lead.

If you just looked at the box score, you wouldn't know that Wilmer Flores probably had the biggest moment of the game. Even if you're one of the 40,000 people participating in the Oracle Park sale for the third time in a row, you may have missed the point.

But Bob Melvin didn't do that. During a news conference after the 3-2 win, Melvin's longest and most emotional response was saved for Flores.

“You talk about your teammates… He was instrumental in getting Soler here, knowing a lot of his players are going away. Chapman is coming in and now a lot of his players are going away there as well,” Melvin said. “So now it seems like it's just a platoon at first, but he means more to us than that. Anytime you get a chance to get him in the game at a big spot, you'll do it.”

Flores stepped to the plate with one out in the eighth and the Giants trailing by a wide margin. The Padres immediately countered by removing left-hander Yuki Matsui and recalling right-hander Johnny Brito. Flores, who had a hit for Lamont Wade Jr., wasn't fazed. Neither did Melvin, as he probably knew the counter was coming.

“It's really hard not having him in the game, but one thing you know is you're going to have a place in the game where he can show up and impact it,” Melvin said. “And left and right don't matter to him. So when they make that move, it doesn't really matter, because it's Wilmer Flores.”

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Flores sent a fastball to left field and that was how his day ended. Fitzgerald ran hard and got a huge read on Soler's error, beating off Fernando Tatis Jr.'s strong throw to take third. The Giants tied the game when Kim dropped what would have been a double play in the bottom of the inning while Soler rushed him on a route between first and second. They won it on a hard Chapman single to right.

It all started with Flores, and there was some irony to that.

The veteran was the best hitter on last year's team and is one of the few Giants who isn't scuffling now. But he also doesn't have a primary position against right-handed pitching. Melvin may not have room for Flores, but he has never forgotten his value in big spots.

For most of Melvin's other hitters, the weekend was a struggle. The Giants scored six runs in three games, and all three of Sunday's runs came on Padres errors.

Through 10 games, they rank 21st in the Majors in OPS and are hitting .223 as a team. They also rank 21st in OPS. They are middle of the pack in homers, and are the only MLB team without a stolen base this season.

Melvin has yet to show concern, and said Sunday that belief comes from the track record these veteran hitters have. If he wanted to, he could also indicate some bad luck. The breaks were there on Sunday, but overall the Giants don't have much to show for a good approach.

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They entered their 10th game leading the league by a significant percentage, up more than six points from last year, when they finished 18th. Their average exit speed is over two miles per hour, and they rank second on this metric. They are third in hard hitting outs.

Chapman was right in the middle of it all, and even after winning the game on Sunday, his batting average was below .200. But earlier in Sunday's game, he had a 384-foot jumper that found his glove in center field. His teammates urged him to keep up the pressure, and that was Chapman's message after the win.

The Giants believe the process remains sound, even if the results aren't there.

“I think everyone in this squad is experienced. It's a very experienced squad,” Chapman said. “Guys have been hitting good shots. I don't think we're giving up hits. We're hitting balls hard and we haven't caused some of those balls to fall. But I think if we continue to stay the course and stay positive and guys have the right mentality — throughout the season we know how long it is, and we know that if we keep “Doing that, good things will happen.”

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