Davis hits slam in return, leads Giants to blowout win

LOS ANGELES — In the minutes before the start of Saturday’s game, the on-field hosts at Dodger Stadium led a CPR demonstration on the scoreboard that was meant to be educational for fans. When it was over, one of the hosts, fully decked out in Dodger blue, jokingly asked if there was any way to give CPR to the Dodgers’ bullpen, eliciting groans from a surprised crowd.

It’s been that kind of stretch for a team that’s struggling to keep pace with the division-leading Arizona Diamondbacks and has watched the Giants appear quickly in the rearview mirror, and on Saturday night, the Giants made sure they kept the pedal down.

A 15-0 win was their largest shutout ever at Dodger Stadium and got them within a half-game of the second-place Dodgers. With 21 wins in their last 30 games, the Giants have turned their season around, and while the rookies have gotten most of the attention, there still are plenty of veterans down there who are ready to lead the way.

On Saturday, it was J.D. Davis’ turn.

In his first at-bat since what looked to be a serious ankle injury, Davis hit a grand slam to dead center, stunning the Dodgers and blowing open what already was a 5-0 game. It was the first pinch-hit grand slam of the season in Major League Baseball and the first for the Giants since 2019.

“It definitely made it easier just to go 30-40 percent around the bases and jog around and not have to sprint,” Davis said, smiling.

Even so, Davis picked up some steam as he came around third. It’s hard right now not to have a little extra bounce in your step when you’re wearing orange and black.

The Giants have won all five games on this road trip and eight in a row away from Oracle Park. After winning just one game at Dodger Stadium last year, they already have two wins here this season.

Saturday’s outburst made a winner of Alex Wood, who beat his old team for the first time since signing with the Giants. It also once again showed off how deep this lineup is when at full strength, or even close to it.

The Giants lost Mitch Haniger and Wilmer Flores this week but have been able to fill the gaps, and Davis returned at the extreme front end of the initial projection. When he rolled his ankle at third base on Tuesday in St. Louis, he initially feared he might end up on the IL. But he woke up Wednesday feeling good, and an MRI showed a sprain that would require anywhere from three days off to two weeks.

“I knew for sure I wasn’t going to play Friday,” he said. “Today and tomorrow, I was hoping to at least get to DH.”

Davis got to slide into that slot because of LaMonte Wade Jr., who had made it a four-run game with a three-run homer an inning earlier. With two on and two outs, Wade worked a good walk against lefty Alex Vesia, allowing manager Gabe Kapler to send Davis up for Joc Pederson.

“The LaMonte at-bat that led to the J.D. homer was equally important,” Kapler said. “Vesia was making really good pitches in that at-bat. LaMonte was spoiling them. The last pitch in that at-bat was a fastball right at the top of the zone exactly executed where they would want to execute it. LaMonte laid off that pitch and it obviously led to the opportunity to hit for Joc there.

“Sometimes those ones don’t get talked about enough. That was a huge at-bat in the game and, I thought, the most important one.”

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Davis’ big swing came about six hours after he took early BP with hitting coaches Justin Viele and Pedro Guerrero. The focus of that session was to be more direct to the baseball, and when he saw the swings Davis was taking, Kapler knew one of his best players was back.

Davis still is running at only about 80 percent and can’t play the field yet. But the swing? It’s just fine.

“That was the same ball that he was hitting over and over to center field in early BP,” Kapler said. “He was landing balls in the net and just looked really athletic in the batter’s box even before the game. It was nice to give him an opportunity in the game and to see him come through.”

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