Wilmer Flores, Jorge Soler pitch on crucial day for Giants lineup – NBC Sports Bay Area & California

The Giants were trending on social media Wednesday morning, and for a strange reason. Their decision to select Luis Matos to open up a roster spot for Austin Slater was not a popular decision with fans, many of whom latched onto Slater’s slow start before his concussion.

The longest-tenured Giant has been a hot topic for fans, but the issues with this lineup have little to do with the player who pitched in fewer than 40 games when he returned, or the 22-year-old who was sent back to Triple-A as a corresponding move.

Wilmer Flores was the team’s best hitter last season, and while the Giants have taken knocks on the bat with their offseason moves, they still plan to rely on Flores quite a bit this season. Entering Wednesday’s finale at Phoenix, Flores had a .573 OPS and just one homer in 50 games this season.

One player who has taken time away from Flores is Jorge Soler, who was signed in the offseason to be the everyday DH and cleanup hitter. Soler’s .648 OPS entering play Wednesday was his lowest since 2017, and he’s on pace to reach about halfway to last season’s 36 homers. Soler’s bat has gotten so cold in recent weeks that it hit the ground and then he was out of the lineup entirely on Saturday against the New York Yankees, where minor league outfielder Trenton Brooks started at DH.

There are plenty of reasons why the Giants might dip below .500, but at some point, most of them are just background noise. They’re not going anywhere unless their best and most experienced bats pick them up, and on Wednesday, they arrived at the party in a big way.

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Flores opened the game with a grand slam and Soler added a high-flying solo shot late as the Giants beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 9-3. The victory ended a losing streak that lasted six matches, the longest since last September.

The outburst was one of the best offensive performances of the year for a group that has struggled since Lamont Wade Jr. suffered a hamstring strain that will cost him at least three more weeks. The Giants had 14 hits and drew 10 walks. They made the Diamondbacks pitchers throw 220 pitches and, unlike Tuesday’s frustrating loss, made them pay in big scores.

“It’s no secret the way we were playing,” Flores told NBC Sports Bay Area’s “Giants Postgame Live” after the win. “Everyone played great shots today. [There was] A lot of traffic on the base, that’s what you want.”

The Giants put so much pressure on the Diamondbacks pitchers that they left 16 runners on base and still came away with a big win. It was a day to pump up the stats, and it was necessary, especially for so many of the veteran players that manager Bob Melvin planned to rely on.

Perhaps no one fits that description better than Soler, who signed a three-year, $42 million contract in the offseason, but spent much of the first half resisting his swing. He had a long afternoon BP session with the team coaches on Saturday, and there have been signs of a better approach in recent days. In the eighth inning, he took off with a low fastball, hitting a 108-mph moonshot that traveled an estimated 427 feet.

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The Giants will need a lot of that from Soler, who has the raw power to do what Aaron Judge and Juan Soto did at Oracle Park over the weekend. They’ll also need that approach from Flores, who got off to a slow start last year as well, before having a big second half.

For now, they simply need a few more veterans to join the 24-year-old leading the charge. It doesn’t take much to have an offensive explosion these days, not when Heliot Ramos is finding new ways to contribute at the top of the lineup in every game. Others just had to join.

Ramos occupied second place on Wednesday, a position usually reserved for the team’s best hitter. At this moment, there is no doubt about who is the hottest. He had one homer and four walks, each leading to a dramatic bat throw down the first base line. The latest huge game pushed Ramos’ OPS to 0.917, the second-highest mark among NL players with at least 100 plate appearances.

“He’s very balanced. Every shot, every swing, he’s completely locked in,” Melvin told reporters in Phoenix. “Whoever walks four times — especially when you’re hitting like that, you want to swing. But they count deep, get to 3-2 and end up taking the ball off the plate. It’s a really cool thing to watch.” “Because he’s a good kid and it’s been a tough road for him to get here, and he’s taken full advantage of it.”

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