Pagan's grand slam sends Giants off on romp

June 22nd, 2016

PITTSBURGH -- The Giants sent forth a hail of base hits and an avalanche of runs Tuesday night in their 15-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. But don't overlook the lightning bolt.

That was Angel Pagan's fourth-inning grand slam, the highlight of a seven-run outburst. It was the Giants' most prolific scoring inning of the season, which served as the genesis for one of their biggest offensive outputs in recent years.

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When Pagan faced Wilfredo Boscan in the fourth, the Pirates starter had just walked Brandon Crawford with the bases loaded to force in a run. It was an 11-pitch at-bat, which conceivably gave Pagan a thorough look at Boscan.

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Actually, Pagan got an eyeful of Boscan in their previous confrontation, when the rookie right-hander slipped a called third strike past him.

"He's got a really good changeup and a good sinker," Pagan said. "I figured he was going to go back to that front-door sinker and he got in my trap."

Pagan ended the matchup quickly, clobbering the first pitch over the center-field barrier.

"I was just trying to bring a run in, at least," Pagan said. "It just happened to be well-hit and over the wall. I wasn't looking to hit a home run."

In fact, it was Pagan's second career grand slam. He delivered his other one on Aug. 1, 2009, while playing for the Mets at Arizona. Given his proficiency with the bases loaded, it's somewhat surprising Pagan doesn't have more grand slams in his collection. He's a .347 career hitter (26-for-75) with the bases full, which has helped swell his lifetime average with runners in scoring position to .304 (248-for-816).

Pagan theorized he swings more efficiently in clutch situations.

"Every time I have people in scoring position, I guess I get more compact," he said.

With Pagan's big drive, the rout was on. The Giants' 15 runs marked the most they've ever scored at PNC Park and their most in Pittsburgh since scoring 16 runs at Three Rivers Stadium on Aug. 18, 1982.

The Giants' 10 extra-base hits (seven doubles, one triple, two homers) matched their most since they also had 10 in a game Aug. 31, 2014, against Milwaukee. Their 22 hits also equaled their most in a game since last July 10 against Philadelphia. Moreover, the Giants hadn't amassed this many hits in a road game since Sept. 14, 2013, at Dodger Stadium (also 22).

All this offense prompted memories of Monday's series opener, when a mere couple of runs would have sustained the Giants. Instead, they lost, 1-0, as Pagan reached into the stands in an admirable attempt to catch Erik Kratz's fifth-inning homer off Madison Bumgarner but couldn't hold on to the ball.

"When I caught it, I thought I hit a fan or something," Pagan said. "But then I looked at the replay and when I hit the wall, then I hit something in the bottom -- I don't know if I hit the back of the wall. ... I put my best effort out there for Madison. It wasn't meant to happen. I just wanted to at least bring it back."