WASHINGTON - San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy has something to ponder during the All-Star break: how to keep first baseman Travis Ishikawa in the Giants' lineup.
Ishikawa, a 2002 Federal Way High graduate. drove in three runs, rookie Madison Bumgarner took a shutout into the seventh inning and the San Francisco Giants beat the Washington Nationals, 6-2, on Sunday.
Relegated to a pinch-hitting role for much of the season’s first half, Ishikawa, The News Tribune’s All-Area player of the year before becoming a Giants draft pick in 2002, has flourished since San Francisco moved rookie Buster Posey behind the plate full time, opening an opportunity at first base. He wasn’t a slouch as a pinch hitter, either, leading the majors with a .476 average (10 for 21).
“The first few months of this season, I knew I wasn’t going to start,” Ishikawa said. “I just tried to stay mentally focused on what the job was at hand: I was going to come off the bench to hit or play defense. Just getting the opportunity on this road trip, at first kind of feeling like it was a spot start to give some guys a day off, I went in there with no expectations, no pressure.”
On the road trip, Ishikawa was 11-for-29 (.379) with a homer and 10 RBI.
“He’s really taken advantage of the opportunity here,” Bochy said. “I knew as soon as Buster started catching, we’d put (Ishikawa) in there and get a left-handed bat in there. He’s got some huge hits for us, great job at first base and he’s going to get some playing time.”
Ishikawa had a two-run single to right in the first inning. In the third, Posey tripled home two runs, then scored on Ishikawa’s sacrifice fly.