Thairo Estrada could be the latest discovery for the San Francisco Giants, who will continue their four-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night in Phoenix.
The 25-year-old Estrada hit his first career grand slam in San Francisco’s 11-4 win on Friday, helping the Giants end their season-high four-game losing streak.
San Francisco has won seven of its first eight meetings against Arizona this season.
Estrada finished with three hits and five RBIs in his first start since joining the team on Tuesday, when he was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento.
Farhan Zaidi, the Giants’ president of baseball operations, is known for uncovering overlooked gems such as outfielder LaMonte Wade Jr., who hit his seventh homer in Friday’s victory.
Estrada, acquired from the New York Yankees in April, hit .385 with seven home runs and 33 RBIs in 37 games at Sacramento and can play three infield positions and the outfield.
Estrada replaced struggling utilityman Mauricio Dubon and figures to receive an extended look in the weeks ahead.
“He’s a great hitter,” Wade said. “It’s fun to watch him hit. I really feel like the game has slowed down for him, which is really fun to watch. It’s awesome to see how he approaches the game. He’s going to help us win a lot of games.”
The versatile Estrada could be in the lineup again Saturday against Arizona starter Jake Faria (0-0, 3.38 ERA), who was signed by the D-backs on June 19.
The 27-year-old right-hander made three relief appearances with his new club before pitching four innings against St. Louis on Monday.
Faria, who will face San Francisco for the first time, received a no-decision after allowing one run on three hits while throwing 67 pitches against the Cardinals.
The Giants will turn to rookie Sammy Long (1-1, 4.95), who gave up four runs on four hits over five innings in Sunday’s 6-2 loss to Oakland.
The 25-year-old rookie left-hander has 19 strikeouts against six walks in his first four appearances covering 20 innings.
Long faced Arizona on June 15 and received a no-decision after giving up four runs on five hits in five innings.
San Francisco is a major-league-best 51-30 and holds a half-game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West. One reason has been the play of shortstop Brandon Crawford, who had three hits Friday and is batting .256 with 17 homers and 51 RBIs.
The 34-year-old is fast approaching his career high of 21 homers, set in 2015.
Arizona is an MLB-worst 23-61 but has been encouraged by the recent play of veteran outfielder Josh Reddick, who is batting .333 (11-for-33) over his past 11 games.
“When he gets hot, he can barrel up anybody,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “I have seen these streaks from him before, and it is fun to watch. He has great bat-to-ball skills. He is in a real good spot with some big hits.”
The D-backs’ injury-plagued rotation received another blow Friday when Zac Gallen exited after two-plus innings due to right-hamstring tightness.
Gallen, scheduled for an MRI on Saturday, already has landed on the injured list twice this season.
–Field Level Media