Giants’ Lewis Brinson matches Willie Mays’ rare feat with two home runs

Brinson matches Mays’ rare feat with two-game home run against Dodgers appeared first on NBC Sports Bayarea

LOS ANGELES — Lewis Brinson has been a Giant for less than a week and there’s a long way to go before decisions are made for 2023, but he’s certainly made a good first impression.

With two homers on Monday night, Brinson helped the Giants snap an eight-game losing streak against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He also happened to do something a Giants center fielder hasn’t done since Willie Mays.

Brinson started in center field and went all nine, becoming the first Giants center fielder since Mays to hit two homers in a road game against the Dodgers, according to Sportradar. Mays did it at the Los Angeles Coliseum on May 12, 1958, and being Mays, he hit two more home runs the next day.

Mays and Brinson are two of just five Giants center fielders to have two-pitch games against the Dodgers in any location since the club moved West in 1958. Bobby Bonds, Jeffrey Leonard and Mike Aldrete did so also, though all three had two-game homers at Candlestick Park.

Brinson’s outburst came on a very hot night at Dodger Stadium, where the Giants have had a five-homer night just twice before. In addition to Brinson, JD Davis, Thairo Estrada and David Villar went deep.

The multi-homer game was Brinson’s fourth in the majors and he nearly had his first three-homer night. In his first at-bat, Brinson hit a rocket to left that was just a few feet from curling into the foul pole. Manager Gabe Kapler said after the 7-4 win that he thought the first swing set the tone.

“I think that generally happens when you feel accurate with the barrel. You know where the sweet spot is,” he said. “You hit a foul shot at home and you connect with it and you don’t feel anything and it gives you a sense of where that sweet spot is and you connect with it.

“It’s not like you put a perfect swing on him every time, but you know where it is and you’re a little more accurate with the barrel and I think that was the case for Brinson tonight.”

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The Giants will give Brinson a long look in September as they try to see if he can be part of the outfield mix in 2023. The early returns are exactly what they were hoping for. Brinson hasn’t had much overall success in five previous major league seasons with the Brewers and Marlins, but he has a .719 OPS against left-handed pitchers. In the minors this year, Brinson was 32-for-77 against lefties with seven homers and eight doubles.

The Giants will face Brett Anderson on Tuesday. In Wednesday’s series finale, they take on Clayton Kershaw. Brinson will likely hit leadoff and play center with both.

“He’s been good against lefties for stretches of his major league career,” Kapler said. “He had a great year in Triple-A with the Astros against lefties, so to the extent we can put him in those positions, I think that’s going to make him better. And his confidence is growing, too.”

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