PHILADELPHIA -- Baseball people often say of a promising hitter, "His bat will play," meaning that despite his various flaws, he'll force his way into the lineup on the strength of his hitting.
Adam Duvall just might receive a chance to prove whether his bat will play.
Freshly recalled from Triple-A Fresno to replace concussion-riddled Brandon Belt, Duvall collected two hits, including a two-run, sixth-inning homer. It generated a three-run uprising Monday that helped the Giants secure their fourth victory in five games, a 7-4 triumph over the Philadelphia Phillies.
Philadelphia led, 4-3, when Michael Morse singled to open the sixth inning off Phillies starter Cliff Lee (4-5). The teams had combined for 21 hits, all singles. If this were tennis, the teams would have been lobbing groundstrokes at each other.
Then Duvall unleashed an ace.
The 25-year-old, who's in his second stint with the Giants, clobbered a 1-0 fastball into the center-field topiaries. Homering off Lee, a legitimate ace until injuries dulled him, gave Duvall something to remember.
"I've seen him pitch some pretty big games," Duvall said. "It's cool to face guys like that and come out with a win."
It was the second Major League homer for Duvall, who topped the Pacific Coast League in homers, RBIs, slugging percentage and total bases upon rejoining the Giants.
Though those are Minor League credentials, players capable of such slugging rarely come along in the Giants system. Manager Bruce Bochy described Duvall as possessing "easy power." That's almost unheard of when talk turns to Giants prospects.
Duvall's not known for his defense. If he proves that he can hit for distance at the Major League level at even a moderate rate, the Giants might settle for adequate defense from him.
"He has some work to do," Bochy said. "But he's getting better at first base."
Duvall probably will return to Triple-A when Belt recovers. Then again, maybe the Giants will hold on to Duvall for his offensive potential and demote another player.
There's also next year to consider. Duvall can play the infield corners; third baseman Pablo Sandoval will be eligible for free agency after the season and Belt will be in his second year of salary arbitration eligibility. With vacancies in left field and the pitching staff to consider, the Giants conceivably could groom Duvall to start somewhere -- not only to seize upon his power, but also to ease the payroll crunch.
Right-hander George Kontos (2-0), also contributed handsomely to the Giants' seventh victory in their last nine games at Citizens Bank Park. Recalled with Duvall from Fresno to reinforce the bullpen while Yusmeiro Petit replaces Matt Cain in the starting rotation, Kontos relieved Ryan Vogelsong and pitched out of a two-on, nobody-out jam in the fourth inning to begin a stretch of six shutout innings from the bullpen that sealed the decision.
Kontos launched the relievers' momentum by slipping called third strikes past Marlon Byrd (cut fastball) and Domonic Brown (backdoor slider) before Cody Asche flied out to end the fourth. Javier Lopez, Jean Machi and Jeremy Affeldt followed Kontos to the mound before Santiago Casilla worked the ninth for his sixth save. Machi benefited from an impossible-looking double play that shortstop Brandon Crawford and second baseman Ehire Adrianza collaborated on to end the seventh.
The excellent relief pitching compensated for the starters' subpar efforts. Fighting a cold, Vogelsong yielded a career-high 11 hits and four runs (three earned) during his three-plus innings.
"I had no energy going into the game," he said. "I knew it was going to be a night where I had to battle."
The Giants collected 12 of their 15 hits off Lee, who overcame an elbow injury to start for the first time since May 18. The subject of rampant trade speculation allowed six earned runs, exceeding the five earned runs (seven total) that he permitted the Giants in six previous regular-season starts against them.
Said Vogelsong, "The offense picked me up big time."