Estrada, Flores hit home runs as Giants offense comes alive in 7-0 win over Rays

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Estrada Homers In Giants Win Over Rays
(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Estrada Homers In Giants Win Over Rays
(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

AN FRANCISCO (AP) — As trying a baseball journey as Wade Meckler had to reach the majors only a year after being drafted, Giants manager Gabe Kapler knew he had to defend the rookie center fielder playing just his second big league game.

Kapler argued a questionable strike call in the fourth inning of a 7-0 win against the Tampa Bay Rays and had to watch on television Tuesday night, after being ejected by plate umpire Chad Whitson, as Meckler delivered his first career hit in the sixth.

The high pitch to the outside corner certainly appeared to be a ball on replay. Meckler hardly flinched — and knew better than to argue two days in — after all, he got cut twice at Oregon State after joining the program as an undersized walk-on.

“To get one feels very thrilling,” Meckler said of coming through after an 0-for-3 performance with two strikeouts in his debut Monday. “I don’t want to come off as disrespectful to them and say anything, even if I say in a respectful way they might say I’ve played two major league games. Just keep making the right swing decisions and eventually build a reputation I know what the strike zone is and if I say something there’s a cause behind it.”

It was Kapler’s second ejection this season and seventh of his career. Meckler hit a sharp single to center in the decisive sixth that chased Rays right-hander Zack Littell (2-4). Meckler became the ninth Giants rookie to record a hit this year, most in baseball.

Thairo Estrada homered with one out in the sixth to break up a scoreless game and Wilmer Flores hit a two-run drive three batters later as the Giants’ offense came alive.

Jakob Junis struck out seven over four scoreless innings then gave way to Sean Manaea (4-3), who struck out five and allowed one hit over 3 1/3 scoreless innings for the win.

A day after the Giants surrendered a season-high 18 hits — also the Rays’ most this season — they showed energy and enthusiasm for 27 outs to win for just the third time in 10 games. San Francisco added two more runs in the seventh on catcher René Pinto’s wild pickoff attempt throw that sailed over third baseman Isaac Paredes.

Joc Pederson made a hard slide into home on Michael Conforto’s double in the eighth and Pederson looked up at Whitson and said “safe” as the umpire made the safe call. The play went to replay review and was confirmed.

“One day we’ll have monitors in the dugout and be able to watch this stuff because you actually see the game even better than you do from the dugout. That was a really fun moment,” Kapler said. “It was great to see Joc break out in that big smile, both in the moment and then the camera panned to him in the dugout after the call was confirmed on the field and just a huge smile comes out.”

Littell, who pitched for the Giants the past two seasons, struck out five and didn’t walk a batter over 5 2/3 innings.

Randy Arozarena went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts to have his eight-game hitting streak snapped for the Rays, who are 10-7 in their last 17 games after a majors-worst 5-15 streak from July 1-26.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rays: OF Manuel Margot traveled back to Florida and will undergo a procedure to remove bone chips from his right elbow on Wednesday and is set to miss up to a month. Team orthopedist Dr. Koco Eaton will do the surgery. … In more tough news for Tampa Bay, ace left-hander Shane McClanahan is scheduled to undergo Tommy John elbow surgery Monday. He was examined by Dr. Keith Meister on Tuesday and is expected to miss the entire 2024 season. The 26-year-old McClanahan went on the 60-day injured list retroactive to Aug. 3 with tightness in his pitching forearm and last pitched Aug. 2 on the road against the Yankees. “Tough loss, no doubt,” manager Kevin Cash said. … The Rays recalled INF Jonathan Aranda from Triple-A Durham to fill the roster void.

Giants: Flores returned to the lineup at third base after he was a late scratch for Monday’s 10-2 defeat with an ear infection and nausea. … Kapler has been trying to give a full day off to J.D. Davis, who didn’t start for a second straight game.

UP NEXT

RHP Aaron Civale (5-3, 2.61 ERA) pitches the series finale for the Rays in his third start since being acquired by Cleveland. RHP Ryan Walker (4-1, 2.28) will start for the Giants.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB