ATLANTA -- Besides amassing a surprising home run total thus far, the Giants also are excelling in the art of making minimal contact: Bunting.
They entered Saturday with 16 sacrifice bunts, third in the National League behind Miami and Milwaukee. The Giants were particularly effective with this skill in Friday's series opener against Atlanta, as Tim Lincecum and Ehire Adrianza put down successful sacrifices.
Giants third-base coach Tim Flannery, who doubles as the team's bunting guru, pointed out the challenge Adrianza faced. Everybody knew Adrianza was ordered to bunt with runners on first and second and no outs in the seventh inning. Yet he still accomplished his task.
"That's what we've been working on since Spring Training, trying to create that pressure in your mind," Flannery said Saturday. "So the first thing you have to do on your way up there is slow everything down. Take a moment and do a few things that you know are the keys for you to get a bunt down. Usually it's go with your strike zone, try not to get out of it and understand that the pressure's on [the pitcher] when it's [runners on] first and second, nobody out or first and second, one out."
Flannery observed that refining this skill is a constant responsibility.
"They've worked hard at it and we have to continue to work hard at it," he said. "It's one of those parts of the game where if you don't work on it, it'll come back and bite you real quick."