The Giants’ Brandon Belt hits an RBI double down the right field line, scoring Buster Posey against the Atlanta Braves in the fourth inning at AT&T Park on May 10, 2013. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

It’s axiomatic that the defending world champion San Francisco Giants are “built on pitching.”

Their five starters – Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum, Barry Zito and Ryan Vogelsong – have been among the best in the major leagues over the past three years. And their relief pitchers have been equally impressive.

Meanwhile, until this year, the team’s offense has often struggled to score runs, consistently ranking among the lowest in the National League in hitting statistics.

Given all this, it may come as something of a surprise that the 2013 Giants are winning as much with their bats as their arms. Through Sunday’s games, the Giants rank second in batting average, runs scored and RBIs in the league, trailing only the Colorado Rockies, whose home park, Coors Field, is legendary as a hitter’s paradise – every bit as much as AT&T is considered a better environment for pitchers.

San Francisco’s  offense was certainly on display over the weekend, as the Giants swept the last three of a four-game home series against the Atlanta Braves, outscoring them 23-4. Three Giants — Brandon Belt, Pablo Sandoval and Marco Scutaro — belted home runs in Sunday’s  5-1 finale.

The Giants are in first place in the NL West. The Dodgers, meanwhile, are in last place, seven games behind.


David Weir

David Weir is Senior Editor, Online News for KQED.  He previously worked at Rolling Stone, Salon, Wired Digital, Excite@Home, Mother Jones, among others, and as a co-founder and Executive Director of The Center for Investigative Reporting.

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