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Pence's bat shows signs of life with grand slam

Veteran outfielder off to slow start in Cactus League play
MLB.com @sfgiantsbeat

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Hunter Pence might not have silenced all skeptics, but he at least drowned out a few doubters Sunday with a first-inning grand slam that propelled the Giants to their fifth consecutive Cactus League victory, a 5-4 decision over the Padres.

Pence entered the game hitting .105 (2-for-19) with 10 strikeouts. But he has downplayed concerns about his performance, pointing out that he was experimenting with batting stances. He went from a closed stance to a conventional square one (feet even with each other) before settling on an open stance -- at least for now.

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Hunter Pence might not have silenced all skeptics, but he at least drowned out a few doubters Sunday with a first-inning grand slam that propelled the Giants to their fifth consecutive Cactus League victory, a 5-4 decision over the Padres.

Pence entered the game hitting .105 (2-for-19) with 10 strikeouts. But he has downplayed concerns about his performance, pointing out that he was experimenting with batting stances. He went from a closed stance to a conventional square one (feet even with each other) before settling on an open stance -- at least for now.

View Full Game Coverage

Pence admitted that he felt "jumpy" at the plate before finding comfort.

"I definitely felt better at the end of yesterday, coming into today," he said.

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Maybe Blanco's ageless

After watching Gregor Blanco dash around the bases on a first-inning triple, some observers wondered whether the 34-year-old might be faster than he was when he initially joined the Giants as a Minor League free agent in 2012.

"I feel like I am, to tell you the truth," Blanco said.

Blanco, 34, said that he has maintained his physical condition with a workout routine featuring exercises that requires quick bursts.

Up next: The Giants play their first exhibition against the Bay Area-rival Athletics at 1:05 p.m. PT in Mesa. Chris Stratton will start for the Giants, while right-hander Jharel Cotton starts for the A's. The game can be heard on Gameday Audio.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

San Francisco Giants, Hunter Pence