SAN FRANCISCO — Since the San Francisco Giants started a torrid stretch in which they’ve won 15 of their last 20 games, the only thing more dependable than the sun rising from the east and setting in the west has been the club’s relentless offense.
On an unsettling day when wildfires around the state of California prevented Bay Area residents from ever seeing the sun in their neighborhoods, the Giants’ lineup still found a way to shine.
Outfielder Mike Yastrzemski hit a three-run homer in the third inning and Evan Longoria delivered a two-out, two-run single in the fifth to break the game open and lead the Giants to a 10-1 win over the Seattle Mariners. Starting pitcher Tyler Anderson also keyed the victory as he tossed six innings of shutout ball in his first start against a club not named the Arizona Diamondbacks since Aug. 17.
After winning five in a row, the Giants now have a better winning percentage than the Miami Marlins (19-19, .500) and St. Louis Cardinals (18-17, .514). Because second-place teams will claim the No. 4-6 seeds in the postseason, the Giants are technically in seventh place in the NL standings because they trail Los Angeles and San Diego in their own division.
The Giants awoke Wednesday to an eerie sight as smoke plumes billowed over the city of San Francisco and created an orangish-red tint that surrounded the ballpark. The Oracle Park lights needed to be turned on for both teams to hold an afternoon batting practice, but by the time the game started, the orange sky had mostly turned dark.
Unlike some home games in recent weeks, the smell of nearby smoke wasn’t overpowering. Visibility never appeared to be an issue for the Giants as they rallied for 13 hits and chased Mariners starter Nick Margevicius from the game in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Yastrzemski’s ninth home run of the season came on a 1-2 fastball from the Seattle left-hander after catcher Joey Bart and shortstop Brandon Crawford had reached base to open the inning. The three-run blast over the right field arcade seats proved once again why a pitcher having count leverage is hardly a factor against Yastrzemski.
Of the nine homers the Giants right fielder has hit this year, five have come against left-handed pitchers, five have come inside the typically pitcher-friendly confines of Oracle Park, six have come in tie games and a major league-leading eight have come in two-strike counts.
The home run also marked the 13th three-run shot hit by a Giants player in 44 games this season, tying the total number hit by the 2018 and 2019 clubs over a 162-game season and besting the measly seven hit by the 2017 team.
The Giants had two other three-run innings on Wednesday as they piled up runs in the fifth and sixth against Seattle’s bullpen. After Longoria drove in two with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth, rookie Joey Bart laced his second hit of the game up the middle for an RBI single.
Since debuting on Aug. 20, Bart’s 16 batted balls with exit velocities above 100 miles per hour rank second on the Giants, trailing only the 20 hit by Longoria.
In the sixth inning, pinch-hitter Alex Dickerson came off the bench and drilled an RBI single through the left side on the eighth pitch of an at-bat before Wilmer Flores picked up an RBI with a double and Brandon Belt gave the Giants their 10th run of the night with an RBI groundout. Wednesday’s outburst was the fourth game in which the Giants have scored at least 10 runs this year, with three of them coming at home.
The challenge now awaiting the Giants is maintaining their success against the only team in baseball that’s been better than them over the last three weeks. Gabe Kapler’s club opens a four-game set against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park Thursday and will play seven of its final 16 games against the team with the second-best winning percentage in the National League.
The Giants haven’t announced whether Trevor Cahill or Drew Smyly will start Thursday’s series opener, but regardless of who takes the mound, the team’s pitchers should have confidence that a well-rounded lineup will give the club a chance to win.
©2020 The Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.)