Pence energizes Giants with dazzling play
Right fielder makes diving catch, fires home to double up Granderson
SAN FRANCISCO -- Hunter Pence raced toward the right-field line, slid into foul territory and made a basket catch as he braced himself with his left wrist. He immediately rose to his feet and fired a perfect strike to Andrew Susac, who tagged out Curtis Granderson trying to tag up on the play.
"It was kind of a miracle," Pence said after his play helped the Giants to a 3-0 victory Tuesday over the Mets. "All of the stars kind of have to align."
The sellout crowd at AT&T Park rewarded Pence with a standing ovation for a spectacular defensive effort, especially impressive for a player who had missed the previous 30 games with tendinitis in that same wrist.
But Pence said that wasn't going to prevent him from making the grab.
"[I] caught the ball with nothing to lose," Pence said.
The Giants right fielder also drove in two runs to help San Francisco snap its seven-game losing streak.
Manager Bruce Bochy's ballclub entered Tuesday having scored 17 runs during its losing streak, but Pence helped turn the offense around. He legged out an RBI fielder's choice in the third inning to open the scoring and slapped an RBI single to right field in the fifth inning to give the Giants an insurance run.
Pence has 15 RBIs in just 19 games this season.
The Giants right fielder is not only a unique talent, he has the ability to lift an entire team with the energy he brings to the field every day. While San Francisco has endured several lengthy losing streaks this season, its most recent was filled with multiple agonizing losses.
With the Giants struggling to find answers, it seems like they mostly need to get healthy.
"The toughest part about this whole thing was being patient and not doing stuff," Pence said.
It was expected that Pence would return sometime this week, but for it to happen Tuesday was a bit of a surprise. Bochy said he most likely would have given his outfielder a few rehab starts at Triple-A Sacramento if the team hadn't lost seven straight contests.
"We needed some presence out there with this streak we've been going through," Bochy said. "Just a shot of adrenaline -- he gives you that."
For the Giants, Pence's return could not have come at a better time.
"He brings that energy, brings that excitement, and that's what you saw today," starter Matt Cain said.