The San Francisco Giants had only scored eight runs in their last six games, and needed someone to snap them out of their offensive malaise. Enter Hunter Pence. He hit into a fielder’s choice to knock Pablo Sandoval off the basepaths in the second inning, and proceeded to steal second on a close play. Then he took off for third with nary a glance from Trevor Cahill. Miguel Montero’s throw got away from Martin Prado, and Pence sprinted home when he probably could’ve jogged.
The Giants would end up doubling their run total for this month and then some, and I’m going to question the so-called “box score,” which says Pence only drove in one of the Giants’ 10 runs and scored only three. Could’ve sworn he accounted for at least seven.
Pence stole two bases and hit a home run on Saturday night. He leads his team in both categories, and the way he did all three proved that he’s the team’s best athlete … it isn’t even close, actually. Pence hasn’t been caught stealing this year. The opposite field home run off Will Harris never went higher than 25 feet off the ground. Pence works out for at least a half hour after each game, and eats healthier than anyone else who enters AT&T Park, and it showed.
Trevor Cahill, who always seems to give the Giants trouble, had no idea where his pitches were going. Mike Krukow was on top of that from the start, and had one of the best calls of the year when Buster Posey came to the plate with two outs and a 6-0 lead in the fourth
“This is a break, that they’re letting Posey hit,” Krukow said.
After a sinker way off the plate, Cahill laid one in there and Posey hit what Duane Kuiper called “a Matt Williams home run.”
Pence’s first run gave the Giants the kick in the ass they’ve needed for a while, and the other position players seemed to relax afterward. That includes Posey, as well as Brandon Belt (3-for-5) and Brandon Crawford (4-for-5). Pablo Sandoval was removed from the game after grounding into a double play, but how surprising is that? A disabled list stint for Sandoval seems almost overdue at this point. On the other hand, Pence is in the best shape of his life and changing baseball games.
— The D-Backs may be in first in the NL West, but the Giants are probably happy they didn’t sign Cody Ross, who hasn’t done much this season and got thrown out at third to end the fourth inning when Arizona was down by eight runs.
— In all fairness to the guy who terrorized Roy Halladay in the 2010 NLCS, Gregor Blanco’s throw was outstanding.
— Two doubles and an assist? Blanco had a one of the better three-strikeout games we’ll ever see.
— How did Andres Torres not catch that liner?
— Madison Bumgarner looked pretty awesome over five innings, but Bruce Bochy had the quick hook in the sixth after the D-Backs started with a single, a walk and a double. The Giants needed this one, and with the offense’s sudden revival there was no way Bochy was going to let this one get away.
— The only problem was Ramon Ramirez was the guy who relieved Bumgarner, and he probably isn’t going to end the season with this team … especially if he can’t remember to cover home.
— Jean Machi, who pitched two shutout innings, isn’t going back to Fresno anytime soon.