As the Giants await news on the health of co-ace Johnny Cueto, two more players suffered injuries as the team avoided a sweep at the hands of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Pablo Sandoval and Andrew McCutchen both left the Giants 8-5 win over the Brewers at AT&T Park on Sunday, potentially joining Cueto, Brandon Belt, Joe Panik, Jeff Samardzija and Hunter Strickland on the list of players battling injuries as the club attempts to climb back into the playoff race in the National League West.
Sandoval strained his right-hamstring as he was sliding into home in the fifth, scoring on a sacrifice fly after he brought in two runs with a triple into the right field corner. The infielder will undergo an MRI in San Diego Monday to access the damage. Later in the game, McCutchen got pulled after he suffered an injury by fouling multiple balls off his foot.
Sandoval said the injury felt similar to the hamstring strain he suffered in 2012 while doing the splits at first base. He’s hoping the injury won’t put him on the disabled list this time around.
“We’re going to do an MRI tomorrow, so we’ll see what’s going on,” he said.
Meanwhile, Cueto met with doctors Sunday to access whether he’ll need Tommy John surgery after he pitched a season-low four innings Saturday night. After the game, Cueto, who’s made four starts since his return from the disabled list on July 5, acknowledged that he’s been feeling discomfort every time he throws a pitch. An update on Cueto’s health is expected Monday.
The Giants, who have lost 627 man games to injury this season, also placed Belt on the 10-day disabled list last week after he suffered a bone bruise in Seattle Wednesday. Buster Posey said the Giants bad luck with injuries this season is “part of the game.”
“It’s going to happen,” he said. “You’ve got to be able to handle setbacks as a team. In the years where we’ve won the World Series, we’ve dealt with injuries.
As the injuries mounted Sunday, the Giants managed to further stamp Bruce Bochy’s place in baseball’s record books as the manager took in the Hall of Fame ceremonies in Cooperstown. The win represented Bochy’s 1,906th career victory as a Major League manager, pushing him past Casey Stengel into 11th place on baseball’s all-time wins list.
“How about that?” Posey said. “He wasn’t even here for it.”
The Giants skipper owes a solid to bench coach Hensley Meulens, who earned him the win by taking over managerial duties while he attended the induction of Trevor Hoffman, his closer with the San Diego Padres for 12 seasons.
“It’s really special,” Meulens said. “Too bad he wasn’t here to see it himself. I guess being at the Hall of Fame isn’t a bad place to be today either, so congrats, coach.”
Bochy, who took a red-eye flight to Albany, N.Y., after Saturday’s game, is planning to rejoin the club in time for pregame warmups in San Diego on Monday.
Despite the historic win, it’s hard to imagine that Bochy did too much celebrating Sunday. In addition to the injuries, the Giants playoff chances are quickly circling the drain as the team’s produced a 3-6 record since the All-Star break. The Giants trail three teams in the NL West standings, including the first place Los Angeles Dodgers by 6 1/2 games and the Arizona Diamondbacks by six games for the final wild card spot.
As Bochy nudged his way past Stengel, the Giants did their best to steer management away from being sellers before Tuesday’s non-waiver trade deadline.
The Giants put together their most offensively-prolific game since the break, scoring eight runs off 13 hits, the type of effort they’ll need to put forth on a nightly basis to push for a playoff spot down the stretch.
“It was really nice to see these guys put some runs on the board so we could break that spell,” Meulens said.
Buster Posey put together the type of game that Giants fans grew accustomed to seeing from him during the club’s World Series years earlier this decade. Posey went 4 for 5 with three RBI and two runs scored. The Giants catcher, who’s battling hip issues, got the club on the scoreboard in the third, bringing in three runs with a bases loaded double to left-center field, just his second extra base hit in 21 games.
“When that ball went into the gap and three runs scored, you could see the joy on everyone’s faces in the dugout,” Meulens said. “We finally broke through and got a big hit.”
In addition, Posey singled in the fifth, scoring with Evan Longoria off Sandoval’s triple, sixth and eighth, recording his first four-hit game since Sept. 15, 2016. The Giants also picked up runs off sacrifice flies from Longoria and Steven Duggar in the third and fifth, and Gorkys Hernandez’s 12th home run in the fourth.
With the offensive breakout, the Giants finally provided support for Andrew Suarez (4-6), who did enough on the hill to earn his first win since June 29. After receiving three or fewer runs of support in 12 of his first 17 starts, Suarez needed the help Sunday, surrendering four earned runs off eight hits and a walk in six innings of work.
“It’s huge that they scored that many runs, especially since I gave up four,” Suarez said. “We hit it really well.”