Pence humbled by special moment in Giants' win


Pence humbled by special moment in Giants' win

SAN FRANCISCO If Hunter Pence was feeling down on himself at all when he came to the plate in the eighth inning of a tie game with two men on, it would have been understandable.

In his first 51 at-bats in a Giants uniform, Pence managed just seven hits for a minuscule .137 average. In his first four appearances on Sunday, the newly minted right fielder struck out twice with runners aboard, and twice made solid contact but was robbed of a hit in the second inning and lined into a double play in the fifth.

But Pence seemingly put his first 11-and-a-half days since a trade with Philadelphia behind him, and jacked a three-run homer over the left field wall to cap a come-from-behind victory over Colorado and keep the Giants in first place by a single game over the Dodgers, 9-6.

Theres definitely times that youre down, but I understand that the next at bat, everything can change, Pence said. I try to think of it as, let it go and go out there and try to do everything you can to win. Whether youre getting hits or not, play defense, and you never know when youre going to get another opportunity.

With perhaps his first boos from the home crowd on the line, Pence came through in dramatic fashion with his first home run in a Giants uniform, and was even awarded with a curtain call thanks to some assistance from Melky Cabrera.

Melky pushed me out there. I didnt even realizeit was pretty exciting. Those things dont happen very often, and is just kind of humbling, Pence said.

Buster Posey said: That was big. Hes been working hard, and its nice to see him come through there.

In fact, Poseys at bat prior to Pences longball may have been the key to the rally. The Giants trailed 6-5 when the red-hot catcher approached the plate with one out and the bases loaded to oppose Rockies reliever Rafael Betancourt.

No fewer than 10 pitches later, Posey, who has now hit safely in 24 of 27 games since the All-Star break, lifted a game-tying sacrifice fly into left field.

Pence was quick to give credit where credit was due.

That was huge. All the pressure is on Buster because were down at that point, he said. To wear down the pitcher like that and still get the job done, its obviously deflating for that pitcher because he just did about 10 wind sprints and we tied the game anyway.

Manager Bruce Bochy said: Its what you live for, that kind of competition, and Buster found a way to get it done.

But the afternoon belonged to Pence, who must finally feel like hes joined the pennant race on a fresh team.

We got it done, he said. A lot of things came together for that opportunity to come up, and I think everyone enjoyed it on our team.

But probably no one more than him, whether Pence wants to admit it or not.

What a blast: Jae-gyun Hwang crushes homer in Giants' debut

What a blast: Jae-gyun Hwang crushes homer in Giants' debut

SAN FRANCISCO -- Before his MLB debut, Jae-gyun Hwang promised not to flip his bat in the big leagues. 

"I don't want to get hit by a pitch," he said, smiling. 

He didn't quite flip it, but Hwang had some fun when his first big league hit soared out to left field. The 29-year-old rookie crushed a solo shot in his third big league at-bat, giving the Giants a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the seventh.

Hwang got a 2-0 fastball from lefty Kyle Freeland and hit it 417 feet, with an exit velocity of 108 mph. He posed for a second before stylishly dropping his bat. Hwang pumped his fist when he reached the plate. He was greeted by a raucous dugout.

Hwang had driven in a run earlier in the game. He said the game was a big deal in South Korea, with television channels scrambling to broadcast the debut of a superstar who traveled overseas to live out his big league dream. It was 6:42 a.m. in Seoul when Hwang's blast landed.

Giants place Melancon on DL, make series of roster moves

Giants place Melancon on DL, make series of roster moves

SAN FRANCISCO -- Mark Melancon's outing Tuesday night was one of his best of a rough year. The momentum didn't last long. 

Melancon was placed on the disabled list Wednesday morning with the same right pronator strain that cost him 12 games in May. To help out a pitching staff that covered 14 innings Tuesday, the Giants called starter Dan Slania up from Double-A. 

Melancon struck out two in Tuesday's win. After a shaky start to his season, he has three straight scoreless outings, with just one hit allowed and three strikeouts. 

"He threw great last night, had good stuff," manager Bruce Bochy said. "But he showed up and he could really feel it (today). We need to get this behind us."

Bochy said he hopes Melancon is back when his 10 days on the DL are up, but that seems very, very optimistic. Melancon is going for an MRI, and given the team's record, there's no reason for him to rush back. 

In the meantime, Sam Dyson, designated for assignment by the Rangers just a few weeks ago, is the team's closer. Dyson has been sharp since coming to San Francisco and he threw well the previous two games. He is not expected to be available Wednesday because of the heavy recent workload. Hunter Strickland could fill in for a day. 

Slania, is a hulking 25-year-old right-hander who was added to the 40-man roster in the offseason after a big 2016. Listed at 6-foot-5, 275 pounds, Slania was moved from the bullpen to rotation last season and promptly posted a 1.48 ERA in 10 starts. He was promoted to Triple-A this season but struggled and was sent back to Richmond. Slania has a 6.44 ERA in 15 starts this year but the Giants were short on options. 

Tyler Beede, the likely first choice, threw eight innings for Sacramento on Monday and would not have been available today. Joan Gregorio is on the disabled list with a back injury that will cost him at least a month. Slania is here to help a tired bullpen, and it's likely another move will come this weekend, when the Giants also have to activate Eduardo Nuñez. For now, Bochy said the staff is hoping to get a look at Slania and see if there's a tweak that can be made at the big league level.