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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Pence Lifts Giants Over Rockies

Giants fans had been waiting patiently for Hunter Pence to make his impact in the lineup and the right fielder delivered big on Sunday.

Before I get to the game-winning shot though, I wanted to point out the outstanding defense he's brought to right field. AT&T Park has the most tricky right-side outfield to play in all of baseball, and Hunter's picked it up seamlessly. He saved another potential game changing hit on a diving catch in the gap Sunday, then came up with his own later in the game. Pence blasted off for the first time in a Giants uni and cashed out in his most crucial at bat since coming to San Francisco last month. In a 6-6 ballgame with 2 outs in the bottom of the 8th, Hunter connected off Rockies closer Rafael Betancourt for a decisive 3-run jack that gave the Giants the lead and the victory. I noticed Betancourt throwing a lot of fastballs to Posey, and Buster just missed one before Pence came up. Then Betancourt tried to do the same thing with Hunter Pence and Pence made him pay. This one had to feel good for number 8 after slow offensive start he's gotten off to with his new team.

Pence has gotten some big hits here and there and was managing to drive in runs, but that first big fly is the hit he was looking for to remove the monkey off his back and settle in. You could just see it in his body language running the bases. This one should propel him out of the rut he's been in since long before arriving in San Francisco.

It was certainly good to see the Giants break out the offense on Sunday after an atrocious showing Saturday, and that's something they will have to keep up in this upcoming series. Next up, the Giants host the NL East-leading Washington Nationals and they have some payback they owe Washington for that ugly 3-game set they played in DC before the All-Star break. Washington has their three best arms lined up to face the Giants (Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmerman and Stephen Strasburgh), so they'll need all the offense they can get, and some. Someone I'll be watching closely in that regard is Brandon Belt, who's getting hot at the right time. A lot of what Belt's done recently has been a bit overlooked because of Buster Posey's scorching run, but the kid has really picked it up over the last couple of weeks. I mentioned a few posts back how he looks like he's playing with more confidence and it seems like it's growing by the day. Belt's 4-hit day Sunday raised his average up to .260, a 23 point hike over his last 10 games. I'd like to see more long balls, but they'll come if he keeps this up.
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2 Comments:

  • At 6:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I had a feeling Pence was going to come up big in that at bat. Great addition, glad to see him start hitting.

     
  • At 10:42 PM, Anonymous BlissfulBayArea said…

    What a sucky way to start vs. the Nationals. I hate how the Giants cannot beat them this year. Makes me scared for a potential playoff meeting.

     

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