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Belt, Pence lead offensive surge in Cincy

First baseman homers three times in series; right fielder returns to post four hits

CINCINNATI -- The San Francisco Giants have found their hitting touch at a very inopportune time for the team they are chasing in the National League West.

Sunday afternoon's 9-8 victory at Cincinnati gave San Francisco wins in the last three games of the four-game series. In those three games, the Giants scored 30 runs on 45 hits, with eight doubles, a triple and seven home runs.

The next opponent for the red-hot Giants is the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers, who lead San Francisco in the division race by 4 1/2 games entering this week's three-game series between the archrivals that begins Tuesday at AT&T Park.

Video: [email protected]: Aoki rips a two-run single to right

"The boys swung it well here," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's a good offense. It's hard to put up these kinds of runs, but I still think it's an offense that can be more consistent than we were early in the season."

The Giants came to Cincinnati averaging 3.29 runs per game. Only Philadelphia was averaging fewer.

Several factors contributed to the team's weekend offensive resurgence.

One was first baseman Brandon Belt, who hit a home run in the last three games. He came into the series as the only everyday first baseman in the National League without a homer.

"I'm seeing the ball well," Belt said. "Hopefully, we gave our pitchers a little confidence that we can put numbers up there. We kind of knew from the beginning what kind of team we could be."

Video: [email protected]: Pence rips a two-run shot for his first homer

Another factor was the return of injured right fielder Hunter Pence to the lineup. Pence was 4-for-8 with a double, a home run and five runs scored in his first two games.

"Having [Pence] back out there definitely helps," Belt said.

A third factor was playing in Great American Ball Park, known as a hitter-friendly facility.

"It's nice … when balls you think are going out actually go out," Belt said.

The fourth and final factor was confidence. Positive results, of course, help build that confidence.

"You get four or five guys hitting like that, and your team will start putting up big numbers," Bochy said.

Andy Call is a contributor to
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