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Brett Wisely continues to show off glove, blasts first homer in Giants’ win

Wisely show off glove, blasts first homer in Giants’ win originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SAN FRANCISCO — For all the fireworks, the most fascinating Giants play in Mexico City might have been a bouncer to first.

In the fourth inning of the second game, Nelson Cruz smashed a pitch up the middle that took second baseman Brett Wisely onto the turf in shallow center field. As he jumped in the air and twisted his body towards first base, the rookie made a quick calculation.

Cruz is 42 years old and runs like, well, a 42-year-old designated hitter. The infield the teams were playing on was about as fast as it gets in professional baseball. So Wisely jumped and threw a ball that hit the dirt before it even got halfway to first, then bounced three more times. It was practically rolling by the time it reached LaMonte Wade Jr., but Cruz was out by a step.

The play didn’t get much attention because it came in a third straight Giants loss, but it showed Wisely’s athleticism, as well as the acumen that allowed the middle infielder to pick up center field on the fly this spring.

Wisely had another highlight Saturday and also hit his first big league homer, teaming with Thairo Estrada up the middle to give Alex Cobb plenty of support on both sides of the ball. In his first home start since a shutout of the St. Louis Cardinals, Cobb threw seven shutout innings to lead the Giants to a 4-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers, their fourth straight.

“When you have plays being made like that, you’re not pitching so delicately, you’re not trying to strike everybody out, you feel like the attacker when you have guys with range like that and making plays like that,” Cobb said of the infield. “JD (Davis) at third has been incredible, as well. I think we’re playing the best defense we’ve played in a couple of years right now, and it just allows us to go deep into the game. When that happens , we’re just going to be a better baseball team. I think that’s pretty obvious.”

Cobb threw 107 pitches, getting through seven with some late help from his infield. After the leadoff runner got on in the seventh, Wisely and Estrada turned a slick double play. An inning earlier, Wisely’s sliding stop up the middle helped get the second out of the sixth.

“You’re impressed that he gets to the ball, and then there’s an internal calculation going on in your head with the runner going and where he’s at and how much time it takes to get to the ball,” Cobb said. “You don’t really feel that there’s enough time to make the play. Especially in Mexico City, I didn’t think he put enough on the throw, but he used his surroundings so well. The turf was quick so he threw it off the turf and it picked up momentum to get there.

“Today, he planted his feet well and put a strong throw on it. You know, I kind of thought maybe he got lucky in Mexico City, but I can see that there’s a lot going on up there and he uses his surroundings really well and knows what he has to work with.”

Wisely, acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays last November, has been a regular since Mike Yastrzemski and Brandon Crawford went down last weekend. His strong defense has made it an easy call for Gabe Kapler, especially with a staff that has plenty who rely on getting the ball on the ground.

The Giants knew Wisely was an athletic defender and quick runner when they picked him up, but they’re also counting on the left-handed bat. Wisely was a .284 hitter in the minors and hit 15 homers in Double-A last season, but it’s been an adjustment in the big leagues. He’s just 3-for-30 so far but was hopeful the homer would get him on track.

“I feel like, throughout my career, a month without hitting a home run is shocking in my eyes,” he said.

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The Giants will keep giving him chances to get in a groove, especially with their injuries up the middle. The defense will keep him on the field, particularly behind Cobb and Logan Webb, and Wisely said he feels confident that the offense is coming. It can be hard for a young player to avoid the numbers on the scoreboard, but so far he’s been able to, and he’s not taking any negative thoughts out to second base or center field.

“I learned a long time ago it’s about controlling what you can control,” he said. “I’ve had decent at-bats, and it helps a lot to keep seeing my name in the lineup. They have faith in me.”

Kapler said that won’t change, and he said he wasn’t at all surprised to see Wisely go to dead center as the night started to cool.

“He’s got a really compact swing and he can get the ball in the air. If you watch him take batting practice, he’s got some thunder from gap to gap,” Kapler said. “What we see with Brett is a guy that — when he settles a little bit — can give us more consistent at-bats, like the one he gave us today, but also just a grindier style of at-bat, because the swing is really good.

“And then obviously we’re seeing his defense at second base. It’s kind of a step above where it was for him in the spring. He’s turning out to be a fun one to watch.”

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