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Giants Observations: Mike Yastrzemski Homers Twice in 7-2 Win

What we learned as Yaz homers twice in Giants' win vs. Cards originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The only thing that slowed the Giants in the first half was the schedule. After three-plus months of shockingly good baseball, they had to sit for the last four days, waiting for their surprise push for an NL West crown to restart. There wasn't any rust on Friday. 

The Giants looked just like the team that took MLB's best record into the All-Star break, pulling away with homers and getting another strong pitching performance in a 7-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Mike Yastrzemski and LaMonte Wade Jr. hit bombs off Adam Wainwright, backing Logan Webb in what was an emergency start for the young right-hander, and Yastrzemski later added a second shot to put the game away.

Gabe Kapler needed five innings out of his bullpen and a rested group was up to the task. Jarlin Garcia got two big outs in the sixth after entering with two on. Dominic Leone loaded the bases in the seventh and Kapler turned to Jay Jackson, who entered in a tight spot in his first big league appearance since 2019. The right-hander, called up Friday, struck out Harrison Bader to get out of the jam. 

Those weren't the only scares in the late innings. Brandon Crawford came out of the game in the eighth with what appeared to be hamstring discomfort. Kapler said after the win that it was just a cramp for Crawford, who had a busy week.

They won a few minutes later, clinching their fifth straight. Here are three more things to know: 

Road Bombers

Wade broke the game open with a three-run homer with two outs in the fifth, giving the Giants a three-run lead. The blast was his eighth and came at the end of a very strong at-bat. Wade waited for Wainwright's trademark curveball and lined a low screamer just a couple of feet over the right field wall.

Yastrzemski added another two-out, three-run shot in the seventh off reliever T.J. McFarland. The homer was the Giants' 78th in 46 road games, easily the most in the Majors. The Toronto Blue Jays are next with 65 and the Cardinals are the only other NL club with at least 60 road homers. 

The Giants entered the break with 132 homers overall, the most in baseball. This is the third time they've led the way in homers at the All-Star break. They also did it in 1958 and 1989.

The 2020 Yaz

Yastrzemski didn't have a bad first half by any means, but it wasn't quite up to the lofty standard he set in 2020 or even as a rookie. With nagging injuries slowing him down, Yastrzemski posted a .803 OPS and 12 homers before the break, but you could tell in recent weeks that his swing was locking in. The Giants are going to be even more dangerous if he finds his 2020 form, and it seems he is.

Yastrzemski broke a scoreless tie in the fourth with a solo homer off Adam Wainwright. In the seventh, he got a hanging slider from McFarland and skied it over the left field wall.

The multi-homer game was Yastrzemski's third in the big leagues. He hit three against the Diamondbacks in 2019 and two against the Padres last July. 

Strong Fill-In

With Kevin Gausman on the family emergency list, Webb returned from Triple-A Sacramento and did a nice job of getting the second half off to a solid start. He allowed one run in four innings and escaped a jam in his final frame by striking out Wainwright with the bases loaded. 

That last inning got Webb's pitch count high enough that Darin Ruf pinch-hit for him with two on in the fifth. Webb is still building his arm up after a lengthy IL stint and threw 60 pitches to get through four. He has allowed just one run over seven innings since coming back from injury, and probably can just build his arm up at the big league level at this point.

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