SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants scored as many runs on their six-game road trip to Washington and Miami (36) as they had in their previous 12 games combined. Pablo Sandoval (11 for 24, seven RBIs) and Hunter Pence (8 for 27, nine RBIs) both broke out while Brandon Belt (8 for 26, two homers, four RBIs) continued his torrid August.
Even Buster Posey showed he might be breaking out of an uncharacteristic slump. Posey went 6-for-16 on the trip after going 9-for-57 (.158) in his previous 16 games, and Giants manager Bruce Bochy said this afternoon Posey looked more like his typical self.
"Buster's getting better swings off, got a day off yesterday," Bochy said. "I think he's seeing the ball better."
All in all, the Giants' lineup is showing signs of life -- far too late to turn them into a contender in September. That's a fact underscored by the presence of the Boston Red Sox at AT&T Park this evening -- the A.L.-East leading Red Sox, who are trying to hold off the Tampa Bay Rays in their division and figure to have a drama-loaded month and a half of baseball remaining.
The Giants -- not so much. They're 13 games under .500 and, with the lowest winning percentage in the league since May 14, and 17 games behind the Dodgers in the West. They can still make a mark on the playoff picture, but only a residual one, depending on how they play against teams like the Red Sox and Pittsburgh Pirates, who come in for four games on Thursday.
Bochy was asked about playing the role of spoiler -- an unfamiliar one around here the past few seasons -- and gave a begrudging answer:
"I acknowledge it. It's not something I relish or cherish. I've said this before, you talk about having a chance to be a spoiler and that means you're not very good. That's not good to hear.
"Your job's coming out here and trying to win every game, whether you're in last or in first place. That's what we'll do. Trying to make our season by being the spoiler -- no."
The non-spoiler lineup, then, the Giants will send up against Red Sox lefty Jon Lester:
And the Red Sox lineup against Lincecum:
* Angel Pagan, who has gone 0-for-3 with a walk in his first two rehab assignments with the Giants' rookie-league team in Arizona, will begin a rehab assignment at Triple-A Fresno in two or three days, Bochy said.
In other injury news, Bochy said reliever Jeremy Affeldt, recovering from a groin strain, could begin throwing off a mound in two or three days. Affeldt was out throwing off flat ground before today's game and got treatment at AT&T Park, and Bochy said Affeldt is "doing better, making progress."
* The Giants had a cross-country flight yesterday ahead of today's game from Miami, but that was nothing compared to the Red Sox. Boston played a primetime game against the Yankees at home -- you may have heard about a certain hit-by-pitch that occurred -- and lost in four hours, 12 minutes. The Red Sox flew in this morning and their pre-game work commenced with pitcher stretch at 3:45 p.m.
* The last Giant to have eight or more RBIs in a three-game series before Pence had eight against the Marlins? Hint: he's on the roster -- again. Andres Torres did it back in 2010 in an Aug. 23-25 series against the Reds.
* This is just the fourth time the Giants and Red Sox will play each other in a series, with the last coming in 2010. Boston leads the all-time series 6-3.
-- Matt Kawahara