When Jesus Guzman drove a Jeremy Affeldt fastball over the center field wall in the eighth inning of Tuesday night’s game between the visiting San Diego Padres and the hosting San Francisco Giants, things looked bleak for the home crowd.
However, the Giants got a huge boost from an unlikely source. After Brandon Belt hit a game-tying double, rookie outfielder Juan Perez came to plate with two outs, and battled Dale Thayer for six pitches before ultimately slapping the seventh pitch of the at-bat through the right side of the infield for what proved to be the game-winning hit.
This came after Perez had previously kept the game tied by nailing Mark Kotsay at the plate with a great throw in the top of the seventh.
Perez has already started making a name for himself with his defense. The first putout of Perez’s big league career came after he tracked a fly ball over 100 feet and smashed into the outfield wall. These plays have to be standing out to manager Bruce Bochy, considering that the defense from other outfielders has been spotty at times, to say the least.
The Giants would be wise to give Perez more playing time. At 26-years old, Perez is at an age where the Giants need to see what they have in him. If he struggles in a platoon, he won’t be much worse than what Torres would be producing anyway. And if he flourishes once he’s given the opportunity, then San Francisco may just have stumbled into an answer for what currently stands as one of their biggest problems.
At the very least, the move will almost certainly be a defensive upgrade.