PHILADELPHIA -- Nate Schierholtz's sudden spate of starts looks suspicious or legitimate, depending on your point of view.
Schierholtz started his third game in a row Sunday, marking the most activity he has received since a four-game starting stint June 8-12. Given the proximity of the July 31 Trade Deadline, Schierholtz's increased exposure could be considered an obvious effort by the Giants to showcase him for teams seeking an outfielder. Schierholtz began Spring Training as the apparent everyday right fielder, but Gregor Blanco's emergence had limited him to 149 at-bats entering Sunday.
On the other hand, manager Bruce Bochy cited logical reasons for each of Schierholtz's appearances. Friday, Bochy wanted to rest Angel Pagan. Saturday, Schierholtz's presence came in handy against Cole Hamels, since he was 4-for-6 lifetime against the Phillies starter. A similar instance occurred Sunday, since Schierholtz entered the game 3-for-3 off Joe Blanton. Schierholtz added a homer vs. Blanton to lead off Sunday's game.
Sunday marked the second straight day that the Giant who collected the previous game's big hit didn't start. Blanco, whose 10th-inning bunt drove in Melky Cabrera with Saturday's winning run, was replaced by Schierholtz. Shortstop Brandon Crawford, whose grand slam enabled the Giants to pull away Friday, returned to the lineup Sunday after not starting Saturday. The lefty-against-lefty matchup with Hamels forced Crawford to the bench.
Bochy also said that Blanco remained responsible for paying a fine resulting from missing a squeeze-bunt sign in Saturday's eighth inning, despite his game-winning hit.