Jul 7, 2015; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants outfielders Gregor Blanco (7) Angel Pagan (16) and Hunter Pence (8) celebrate their 3-0 win over the New York Mets at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports
Tuesday night, the Giants faced the Mets again. This time, the Giants won the game.
How? Two words: Hunter Pence. Pence was activated from the DL Tuesday afternoon, and manager Bruce Bochy put him in the lineup. Bochy said he could have sent Pence for a rehab stint, but, Bochy explained, the Giants need him now.
Oh sure, the rest of the guys did their part—they looked like a different team than the one that played Monday night. But Pence played like his hair was on fire, and it was contagious. He was great on offense and even better on defense.
Monday night, the Mets shut out the Giants. Tuesday night, the Giants turned the tables.
How? Two words. Hunter Pence. No, seriously. Curtis Granderson, the Mets’ right fielder, led off the top of the sixth with a stand up-triple. The next batter hit a fly ball to Pence in foul territory. Pence went into a slide, caught the ball and jumped to his feet. Granderson tagged up—with his speed, he should reach home easily—but Pence airmailed a perfect strike to Giants catcher Andrew Susac. Granderson went into a feet first slide, and Susac applied the tag just seconds before Granderson’s toes touched the bag. Out at home.
It was a spectacular play that saved a run and preserved the shutout.
In the third inning, Pence claimed the first RBI of the game, plating Gregor Blanco on a groundout. Also in the third, Joe Panik hit a single and scored on Brandon Crawford’s sac fly. In the fifth, Panik hit another single, and Pence claimed his second RBI of the game when Panik scored on Pence’s base hit.
Matt Cain had a great outing in his first game at AT&T Park in over a year. He pitched six scoreless innings, giving up two hits, two walks and striking out seven.
Cain got into a little jam in the third—he walked two batters, loading the bases with two out. He got himself out of it, striking out the next batter to end the inning. The bullpen took over and held the game through eight.
But when Santiago Casilla entered the game in the ninth, I have to admit that I was pretty nervous. And when he walked the first batter, I let out an audible groan and covered my eyes. The next batter hit a fly ball to Blanco and I lifted one hand away from my face. Then Casilla induced a double play to end the game, and I could see again. The final score was: Giants 3, Mets 0
It was fun to watch Tuesday’s game. You could really see a difference in the team from Monday’s game. What caused such a dramatic change? Two words: Hunter Pence.
Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines. He’s back!