Third baseman settles in with help from Posey's advice
By Alex Espinoza
Special to MLB.com |
SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants third baseman Matt Duffy might be a rookie but he's not playing like one. Hitting in the No. 3 hole, handling the hot corner and forcing his way into the everyday lineup -- Duffy has done it all so far.
In Saturday night's 8-5 win over the Phillies, Duffy continued his impressive campaign by going 3-for-5 with a key two-run triple in a five-run sixth inning for San Francisco. He finished a home run short of the cycle while earning the praise of his coaches and teammates after the game.
The performance came just 24 hours after he collected the first four-hit game of his career. Safe to say, Duffy's feeling more comfortable hitting third these days.
"At first, I was maybe putting a little bit too much pressure on myself," Duffy said. "I think I've settled in a little bit, started relaxing and gotten back to my approach. Just trying to stay in the middle of the field and keep the ball low."
Buster Posey deserves some credit for an assist, too. During the last homestand, Posey noticed Duffy was rolling over the ball. So the catcher pulled Duffy aside and asked him if he was pressing.
"He said, 'Don't try to do anything special. They put you there because of what you can do and based on what you've already done. You don't have to do anything differently,'" Duffy said. "That really helped me get into a more relaxed state at the plate."
To cap off Saturday's big rally, Posey eventually poked a single through to right field to drive home Duffy in the sixth and turn a 4-1 deficit into a 6-4 lead. The outburst came just a half-inning after Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong surrendered two homers to put the Giants in a hole.
Despite getting pulled earlier than he would have liked, Vogelsong said his stuff was as good as it's been all year, aside from the two mistakes that resulted in homers. He finished 5 2/3 innings, allowing four earned runs on five hits and three walks while striking out five.
"There's some nights where it's going to be our jobs [as pitchers] to keep throwing zeros up there and give them a chance to score some runs," Vogelsong said. "There's going to be other nights where things don't go right on the mound and the offense needs to pick you up. They did it tonight."
Angel Pagan started off the two-out rally by roping a double down the right-field line to drive home Brandon Crawford and Gregor Blanco. Then a walk from Joe Panik set up Duffy's big triple, which soared and sliced into the triple's alley in right-center.
"It's all about timely hitting," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
Alex Espinoza is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.