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SF Giants pick up fourth shutout victory of April, Kevin Gausman beats Phillies with his splitter
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The Giants are scoring the fewest runs per game of any major league team, but the starting rotation has been so dominant that the offensive struggles have hardly mattered.
With six scoreless innings from right-hander Kevin Gausman, three more from a trio of relievers and a two-run homer from Brandon Belt, the Giants secured their second straight shutout win in a 2-0 victory in Philadelphia.
After defeating the Marlins 1-0 on Sunday, Phillies skipper Gabe Kapler made his first visit back to Citizens Bank Park with the Giants and notched his 200th career win, bringing his managerial record to an even 200-200 as San Francisco improved to 10-6 on the year.
The Giants didn't notch a single nine-inning shutout win in Gabe Kapler's first year with the club, but have picked up four in the last eight days as backup catcher Curt Casali has been behind the plate for all of them. San Francisco also won Monday's series opener without its best relievers, as closer Jake McGee remained on the COVID injured list for the second straight day due to side effects after receiving his second dose of a vaccine while setup man Tyler Rogers wasn't used because the Giants planned to give him a day off.
Struggling right-hander Matt Wisler cut through the heart of the Phillies order in the seventh, rookie Camilo Doval followed up his big league debut on Sunday with a scoreless eighth and lefty Wandy Peralta picked up his second career save with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
The back-to-back shutout wins are the Giants' first since defeating the Rockies 2-0 on September 14, 2018 and 3-0 on September 15, 2018.
Gausman didn't have his best fastball command on Monday, but he still tossed six shutout innings and made his best pitches of the night in some of the most important spots. The Phillies went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and stranded 10 runners against Gausman, who generated 14 swings and misses including nine with a splitter that's as good as any pitch in the majors.
Opposing hitters entered Monday's game 0-for-23 with 11 strikeouts in at-bats that ended with Gausman throwing his splitter and the Giants starter continued to dominate with the pitch. Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins and shortstop Nick Maton each singled against the splitter, but Gausman picked up all five of his strikeouts with the pitch including one that froze Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto on a 3-2 count to end the third inning.
After recording three extra-base hits in his last two games, Belt broke a scoreless tie in the third inning against Anderson with a two-run home run into the right field bleachers. The 372-foot blast scored Evan Longoria, who started the Giants' rally with two outs and the bases empty by doubling into the right center field gap.
Belt's home run doubled the team's offensive output from Sunday, but the Giants know that maintaining their second-place standing in the National League West is unsustainable if they continue to score fewer than 3.3 runs per game.
The Giants' defense provided more help to its pitching staff than its offense as center fielder Austin Slater robbed Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto of a hit with a full-extension diving catch to end the seventh before shortstop Brandon Crawford snared a 102.5-mile per hour liner off the bat of Nick Maton to close out the eighth.
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