The San Francisco Giants and longtime rival Jordan Lyles will renew acquaintances when the National League West leaders host the Texas Rangers on Tuesday afternoon in the finale of a two-game interleague series.
The Giants evened their interleague record at 2-2 when Mauricio Dubon’s pinch-hit single broke a seventh-inning tie in a 3-1 victory over the Rangers on Monday night.
All the damage that led up to the go-ahead run was done by pinch hitters, as Giants manager Gabe Kapler used three in a row and watched them produce a walk and two singles, the latter by Dubon that plated the difference-maker.
San Francisco scored another run later in the inning on an error.
“We have been playing really good defense, especially in the infield,” Texas manager Chris Woodward said, according to SI.com. “I trust these guys. They’ve been playing good all year. Unfortunately, tonight, we didn’t play that well.”
The pinch-hit RBI was the Giants’ 16th of the season, which leads the majors. Kapler also leads all managers by having sent 89 pinch hitters to the plate in the team’s 35 games.
“What I try to do is have all of our bench players ready for any moment,” the second-year Giants skipper said. “They’re basically training (in the ballpark’s interior batting cages) for those moments, and when it works the way it did tonight, it’s gratifying.”
The two-run uprising came against the Texas bullpen after Rangers starter Kyle Gibson limited the Giants to one run and four hits in six innings.
Lyles (1-2, 7.09 ERA) will attempt to do the same as he goes head-to-head with the Giants for the 22nd time in his career. He has gone 4-4 with a 5.46 ERA in those games, during which he’s been the starting pitcher nine times.
The 30-year-old right-hander has never had much luck at Oracle Park, compiling a lifetime 1-3 record and 8.00 ERA in eight games, including three starts.
He is quite familiar with the veteran core of the Giants’ lineup, having faced Brandon Crawford, Buster Posey, Brandon Belt and Evan Longoria a total of 61 times in his career. Of the four, only Posey (one) has homered off him.
The Giants are expected to counter with righty Logan Webb (1-3, 5.34 ERA), who has lost his last two starts on the road after shutting out the Miami Marlins on three hits over seven innings in his most recent home outing.
The 24-year-old has faced the Rangers just once, allowing two runs, one earned, in 3 2/3 innings (2.45 ERA) in a no-decision last season. Webb has never recorded an interleague win, going 0-4 with a 7.01 ERA in eight starts.
One matchup of interest to San Francisco Bay Area fans will occur when Khris Davis digs in against Webb. Both have strong Northern California ties, with Webb having starred at Rocklin High in the Sacramento suburbs, while Davis enjoyed a five-year run with the Oakland Athletics that included 42-, 43- and 48-homer seasons.
Returning to the Bay Area for the first time since being traded from Oakland to Texas in the offseason, Davis had a triple and a single in the Rangers’ Monday loss. The 2-for-4 outing raised his career average against the Giants to .295 (28-for-95).
While with the A’s, Davis faced Webb twice, drawing a walk and grounding into a double play.
Davis was playing in just his third game Monday after opening the season on the injured list due to a strained left quad.
He debuted Saturday with a pinch hit late in a 9-8 win against Seattle, after which he made a name for himself in the Rangers clubhouse by proclaiming, “I’m here. We’re going to make the playoffs.”
Davis went 0-for-4 the next day as Texas routed the Mariners 10-2.
–Field Level Media