LOS ANGELES – Hunter Pence’s RBI binge is a once-in-a-generation happening for the Giants.
Two or three generations, actually.
Pence drove in seven runs while hitting a grand slam as the Giants set a Dodger Stadium record by scoring 19 runs in their victory on Saturday. The huge night gave Pence 16 RBIs over five games.
It was the first time a Giant has driven in at least 16 runs over a five-game span since Hall of Famer Mel Ott in 1934.
One more Pence stat: He’s one of just two major leaguers with 20-plus steals, 20-plus home runs and 30-plus doubles. The other is Mike Trout.
And yes, Pence is in the lineup for the 150th time in the Giants’ 150th game this season. (It’s a planned day of rest for Angel Pagan and Buster Posey.) The Dodgers are resting several of their nicked up regulars as well, since they’ve got no shot to clinch in the final game of this homestand before they hit the road.
The Giants helped prevent that by winning two of the first three. They lead the season series 8-7 with four to play, and although Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he hasn’t really thought about it, he agreed with the suggestion that taking the season series would be a nice consolation.
“I think you’d like to win the season series with any club, particularly in your division,” Bochy said. “But even with how well we’ve played within our division, it hasn’t helped our cause with our struggles in the (NL) Central and interleague.”
As you probably know, the Giants’ 39-30 record within the division is the best among NL clubs. (The Dodgers are 31-31.) But while the Dodgers made hay outside of the division, the Giants went 11-23 against the NL Central and 5-12 in interleague play.
It’s been a topic of much discussion among Bochy and GM Brian Sabean. They’ve asked whether it’s a lack of information, but Bochy doesn’t think it’s the case. He believes the advance work and amount of video scouting has been more than sufficient.
“Players are more familiar within the division and maybe there’s more of a sense of comfort,” Bochy said. “I can’t answer that for certain. But every year is different, and we have talked about it.”
It might just be this: games against NL West opponents tend to come in three huge chunks, two of them come at the beginning and end of the season, and that’s when the Giants were playing their best baseball.
Not much else in the way of pregame news, except Bochy said he’ll continue to play mostly regulars the rest of the way. And if the rotation changes to include a sixth man on the final homestand, Barry Zito would be the candidate to get a start.
That’s pretty much what everyone figured – one more start for Zito at AT&T Park, with a chance to end on a heartwarming note.