SAN DIEGO -- Don't try telling Giants second baseman Joe Panik that his recent concussion never happened.Yet Panik's steady offense and slick defense have continued despite his nine-game hiatus after he was sidelined by a throw home that struck him in the head on Aug. 13 at Washington.Panik's performance for
SAN DIEGO -- Don't try telling Giants second baseman Joe Panik that his recent concussion never happened.
Yet Panik's steady offense and slick defense have continued despite his nine-game hiatus after he was sidelined by a throw home that struck him in the head on Aug. 13 at Washington.
Panik's performance for the Giants brightened their otherwise dismal 6-3 loss to the Padres on Tuesday. He went 2-for-4 while scoring twice and hitting his ninth home run, and he turned Carlos Asuaje's challenging first-inning grounder into an out with his sprawling diving stop of the ball.
That play established the pattern of his evening.
"Any time you can make a good play, it definitely gives you a little jolt of energy," Panik said.
Panik easily could have gone 4-for-4. But Padres shortstop Yangervis Solarte robbed him of a first-inning hit. And right fielder Jabari Blash needed a four-star effort, according to Statcast™, to hunt down Panik's sixth-inning drive.
Nevertheless, Panik has become synonymous with consistency. In seven games before he was sidelined, he hit .385 (10-for-26). In five games since he returned, he's batting .357 (5-for-14).
"Any time that you're going good and something happens and you take some time off, you always want to pick up where you left off," Panik said. "For me to do that, it's definitely a good feeling."
Salvaging that feeling has been difficult for Panik, who has grown accustomed to playing for successful Giants teams since he ascended to the Majors in 2014. They fell to 53-81 with their latest defeat.
"Every year I've been here, we've been in the hunt," he said. "At the same time, you have to be professional. We have 30 games or so left. We have to give everything we've got -- for ourselves and for our fans."
Sticking to the basics has helped Panik sustain his uninterrupted hitting.
"Everything feels simple," he said. "Everything's smooth in my swing, my load, everything. It's a long season. When you have a stretch like this, you have to capitalize on it. Right now I have the right approach. Everything's clicking for me."
Teammates have noticed.
"I'm happy to see him making Gold Glove-caliber plays and hitting a home run off a guy [Kirby Yates] who could be a closer," left-hander Matt Moore said. "To see him bounce back the way he has is very encouraging. It's always nice having him around, especially in the starting lineup."
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.