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.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as Giants drop finale in Miami


Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as Giants drop finale in Miami


SAN FRANCISCO — The flight from Miami to San Francisco is one of the longest in the league. It will not be a happy one.

The Giants fell behind early and never recovered, losing 8-1 in the series finale with the Marlins. The Giants had won six of nine entering the road trip. They dropped a series in Washington D.C. and then lost two of three to the Marlins. 

You are here already, so here are five things to know … 

—- Matt Cain deserved better in the first, and it was kind of a stunning error that cost him. With two outs, Brandon Crawford dropped a liner that was hit right at him. The next batter, Tomas Telis, hit a two-run double. 

—- Cain was charged with five runs in four innings, but only two of them were earned. He struck out seven and walked just one, showing a good curveball throughout. Several times, he dropped down for a new look. Like I said, he deserved a bit better than that final line. 

—- Pablo Sandoval’s walk in the eighth was his first since returning to the Giants. His numbers, by the way, are right in line with his Boston numbers. 

—- Albert Suarez has seen his stuff take a tick up during this stint with the Giants, but it’s not leading to results. After giving up a walk-off grand slam on Sunday, he allowed three runs in 2 2/3 innings in relief of Cain. Suarez currently has a 7.43 ERA. 

—- Giancarlo Stanton was 2 for 4 with two singles. His run of six games with a homer came to an end. I suppose that’s a small victory for the Giants?

Giancarlo Stanton to Giants? Upside vs downside from Marlins perspective


Giancarlo Stanton to Giants? Upside vs downside from Marlins perspective

Because we are too cool to allow the games to sustain us and because we all think the purpose of sports is actually not to be the best player but the general manager, the new item on the baseball menu is not the pennant races but “Where should Giancarlo Stanton go?”

The usual suspects are listed – the Yankees, the Giants, the Chunichi Dragons, Real Madrid – and the $295 million still on his contract is not considered an impediment.

But the logic behind the Marlins keeping him is just as clear and more pressing. Namely, Bruce Sherman, the incoming owner, and Derek Jeter, the designated face, did not buy this team and promptly try to make themselves detested by the few people who still care about it.

So far, we know that the monstrous thing in center field (no, not Christian Yelich) is likely to be torn down, and that Stanton is don’t-go-to-the-bathroom-during-his-half-inning entertainment. Beyond that, we know only that the Marlins draw when they win a lot and barely at all the rest of the time. They are clearly a distant third in a four-team race with the Dolphins and Heat for people’s hearts, and now that hating Jeffrey Loria’s living guts are off the table for the fans, there really is no there, there.

So what’s the up-side of moving Stanton (and before we go any further, the Giants don’t have nearly enough assets to make that work, so calm the hell down) for the Marlins? Prospects, the dark hole that makes a three-year plan a six-year plan.

And the down-side? Sherman may as well move the team for the level of fun he’ll get from it, and the only reason to buy a team looking at a $60 million loss is for the fun. Besides, onlky a very few owners have ever made the full turn from villain to hero – the first impression almost always lasts forever.

So while Stanton may create immediate wallet relief for this aggressively average team (their current record of 57-61 is the 12th best in their 25-year history, and they’ve only had eight winning seasons ever), they also have nothing to sell the fans that they have to live with every day. And if they don’t have enough fans . . . well, I hear San Jose is always hot for a mediocre franchise that lurches between spending money and hoarding it.