SAN FRANCISCO – How does Hunter Pence know he’s going to have a huge day?
Well, he starts out by feeling terrible in batting practice.
“The day before, I felt awesome in BP and didn’t get any hits,” said Pence, after the Giants’ 9-8 loss to the Colorado Rockies Tuesday night. “Today I was telling (third base coach) Tim Flannery, `I was awful, so I guess I’m due for a lot of hits.’”
Pence had four of them, along with a career-high tying six RBIs, and finished a triple short of the cycle. The Giants wasted that performance, along with a six-run lead, in the loss.
Pence even had enough energy left to tie the game with a two-run single in the eighth inning before Michael Cuddyer put the Rockies back in front with a solo shot off Sergio Romo in the ninth.
And, of course, when his three-run homer clanked off the left field pole in the first inning, Pence became the seventh Giant in history to hit 20 and steal 20 in a season – and the first since Barry Bonds in 1998. (Bobby Bonds, Willie Mays, Jeffrey Leonard, Orlando Cepeda and Glenallen Hill are the others.)
More than speed or power, though, Pence’s most valuable commodity is his energy. In an era when players can’t pop greenies or spike the coffee pot to get up for a game, Pence brings his hyperactivity every day. He’s played all but 13 of the Giants’ innings in right field this season. And he’s poised to become the first Giant in the San Francisco era to start every regular-season game in a season.
(For much more on that, check out the story I wrote earlier this week.)
Even in a four-hour, two-minute game that was decided in nine innings, Pence stayed wired till the end. That energy is something teams desire – and it’s going to make him a lot of money very, very soon.
“It shows you he comes to play every day,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “It’s the intensity he plays with every day. Here he is in September and he has a game like that. It says a lot about the shape he’s in.”
Pence was self-effacing, as usual, and continues to set aside talk of his free agency.
“I’m just trying to continue to focus on the daily game,” Pence said. “I’m trying to black that process out and enjoy the team, enjoy the city and do all I can for them.”
Pence became the first Giant to drive in six runs in a game at AT&T Park since the great Jose Guillen, on Sept. 19, 2010.
Pence also joined the Angels’ Mike Trout and the Rockies’ Carlos Gonzalez as the only 20-20 guys in the majors thus far this season.
Jeremy Affeldt (groin) is expected to be activated from the disabled list on Wednesday. Chad Gaudin (carpal tunnel) will throw one more simulated game before he’s cleared to return.
Yes, Cuddyer (0 for 4 with three strikeouts against Romo entering his home run at-bat) had this to say after the game:
“I usually don’t sniff Romo in my career.”