Replacement third baseman stays hot as backups star in win vs. D-backs
By Jake Rill
PHOENIX -- Conor Gillaspie doesn't look up at the scoreboard at his statistics. But if he did at the beginning of June 21, when starting third baseman Matt Duffy went on the disabled list, he would've seen a batting average well below .200.
When Duffy went down, the Giants needed the sporadically used Gillaspie to fill a more substantial role. He entered that day batting .159. After going 3-for-4 in Friday's 6-4 win over the D-backs, Gillaspie has raised his average to .288, and he's helping the first-place Giants maintain one of the best records in the Majors.
"It's a crazy game sometimes, but the more you get off yourself, so to speak, and push your own well-being aside and try to be a part of a great organization like this and the fact that this is a winning ballclub, that's the No. 1 priority," Gillaspie said, "It makes it easier when you're not doing well to look up and say, 'I'm on one of the best teams in baseball.' It's very gratifying to know that you're a part of that."
Gillaspie has been more a part of San Francisco's success recently. He is batting .444 over his last 11 games (seven starts) and has had four multi-hit games in that span. On Friday, he was a homer shy of the cycle, drove in a run with an RBI triple in the second inning and scored a pair of runs.
"He's done a nice job with the bat," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's got a short swing, uses the whole field and has got some big hits."
Duffy isn't the only key San Francisco player on the disabled list, and Gillaspie isn't the only fill-in who had a big night.
Joe Panik is injured. But second baseman Grant Green went 2-for-4 with a two-run single in the fourth to help the Giants battle back after facing an early 4-1 deficit.
All-Star catcher Buster Posey (routine day off) and outfielder Denard Span (neck stiffness) were also missing from the San Francisco lineup. But backup catcher Trevor Brown hit a go-ahead, two-run double in the sixth to help account for that, too.
"You consider yourself fortunate," Bochy said. "It's one thing for them to go in and contribute, but the big way that they did tonight, that was key for us. Some guys being down, forget the DL guys, Buster, he needed a day, Span needed a day, and when that happens, you need somebody to pick it up, and those guys did it. They did a great job for spot-starts."
Jake Rill is a reporter for MLB.com and covered the Giants on Friday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.