Giants catcher triples on big night at plate vs. Padres
By Oliver Macklin
SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy told reporters he'd like to get Andrew Susac more at-bats, and the catcher responded in a big way, helping San Francisco shut out San Diego 6-0 on Wednesday night at AT&T Park.
Susac went 2-for-4 with a double and a triple, extending his hitting streak to a career-high six games.
"He's been swinging the bat better," Bochy said. "With his increased playing time, he's gotten some better swings off."
Susac could have easily have had a three-hit night, but official scorer Michael Duca ruled his first at-bat an error after his one-hopper hit off the glove of third baseman Will Middlebrooks.
No matter the ruling, Susac's ability to get on base to begin the third inning set up a five-run Giants' outburst, culminated by a Buster Posey grand slam.
"He got us going on that ball," Bochy said. "He got an error, but that ball was hit pretty good."
Susac followed up his first plate appearance with a deep fly ball off the wall in right-center field for his first career triple and later lined a pitch from Ian Kennedy into the right-center gap for a two-bagger.
The 25-year-old rookie also caught his third shutout of the season and his second consecutive with Ryan Vogelsong starting. Vogelsong said he admires the way Susac goes about his business calling games behind the plate.
"He handles himself very well back there," Vogelsong said.
With Susac getting more comfortable at, and behind, the plate, Bochy has a bit more flexibility to tinker with his depleted lineup on a day-to-day basis. Posey figures to see more action at first base and Brandon Belt more time in left field, at least until Nori Aoki recovers from a fractured right fibula.
Posey said he's also seen rapid growth from his fellow catcher.
"He's a quick learner and a patient guy," Posey said.
The Giants also on Wednesday called up Travis Ishikawa, who Bochy said will split time with Gregor Blanco and Justin Maxwell in the outfield. With Aoki and Hunter Pence on the disabled list, Susac said he is ready to take on a bigger role.
"I'm always looking for an opportunity," Susac said. "I know my role on this team and I'm pretty much a 'yes man,' so whatever they say, goes."
The catcher has a career batting average of .269, but has been even better as of late. He's batting .450 (9-for-20) during his hitting streak and .364 (8-for-22) in June.
"Hitting is hard enough when you're not hitting every day," Susac said. "Just getting consistent at-bats here and there, it's definitely gotten a lot easier at the plate."
Oliver Macklin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.