This has been a tough week for the San Francisco Giants, but they did scratch-and-claw their way to a 7-6 victory over the Houston Astros thanks to a clutch home run from Hunter Pence.
The season has not gone as planned for the long-time Giants outfielder. At one point, it seemed that he was beginning to lose playing time, but he is warming up.
Hunter Pence Returns
After spending one season with the Texas Rangers and being elected to the American League All-Star team, Pence returned to the Giants on a one year, $3 million pact.
He was reeled in to help San Francisco against left-handed pitching. With the Rangers, the 37-year-old posted a 1.015 OPS in 119 plate appearances against southpaws, but the 2020 season has been a different story entirely.
The right-handed bat is slashing a meager a .109/.163/.283 line (21 OPS+) while being worth -0.5 WAR. He does have two home runs and 6 RBI on the year. All of which came within the last seven days.
Interestingly, Pence swatted two three-run home runs this past week. Despite the team’s overall struggles, the ability to hit the three-run home run is not one of them.
The SF Giants Highlight of the Week
That said, the home run highlighted as the play of the week, of course, led to a Giants victory.
Tyler Anderson and Brandon Bielak started the game for the Giants and Astros, respectively. Anderson gave the Giants five innings of work but yielded four earned runs. The Astros extended their lead after Rico Garcia gave up two more runs.
San Francisco had not faced off against Bielak before the game, and they managed to only scratch two runs across against the young Astros starter.
Pence came up to the plate as a pinch-hitter in the 7th inning with Mike Yastrzemski and Chadwick Tromp on base. At the time, he was batting below .100, so it did not seem like a great matchup for the Giants.
However, in baseball, anything can happen and Pence reminded the Giants fanbase of the player he’s capable of being:
This blast brought the Giants within one run and they scored two more to nab a 7-6 win in extra innings.
The Giants have some grittiness in them that their bats have shown it off over and over again. Even when they are down, their players have a lot of fight in them. It does not always result in a victory, but it is a refreshing trait to see.
This time, Pence led the gritty comeback against his former team with a three-run jolt. The three-run home run has been somewhat of a unicorn for the Giants in recent seasons as they have been few-and-far in between.
I am glad they are bringing it back because I don’t know about you, but I like three-run homers. I think Pence does too. After all, he blasted another one just a few days later.