PITTSBURGH -- Justin Christian hasn't played much for the Giants in his second year with the organization, but the 32-year-old made the most of his start Thursday against the Nationals. Leading off and playing right field, Christian went 3-for-5 with a double and scored three runs. He also stole second base in the sixth inning. "I was able to put some decent swings on some pitches out over the plate and find some holes," said Christian, who earned his second straight start Friday in Pittsburgh. "Not playing in a while, it's kind of tough at times, but you just try and do the best you can."
Christian was in the lineup Thursday primarily because the Nationals started Ross Detwiler, a southpaw who has held left-handed hitters to a .122 average this season. That led Giants manager Bruce Bochy to put Christian in right rather than Gregor Blanco, who has hit .253 over 72 games this year. Bochy was so impressed with Christian's performance that he inserted him into the lineup against the Pirates and lefty Erik Bedard in Friday's series opener. The manager said to expect more of Christian against left-handers this season. "The way he played [Thursday], he kind of forces that issue," Bochy said. In seven games this season, Christian is hitting .308 (4-for-13). He played 60 games for Triple-A Fresno earlier in the year, hitting .364 with 51 runs, 31 RBIs and 10 stolen bases. "Any time you can go out there and help contribute in any which way you can, that's definitely a plus," Christian said. "I just believe in myself and know that the talent and skills that I have are still sharp."