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Aoki, Panik power Giants to quick advantage

Duo hit back-to-back leadoff homers as San Francisco sweeps Angels
Special to MLB.com

SAN FRANCISCO -- Going into Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Angels, it was hard to imagine a more unlikely Giants duo to hit back-to-back home runs than leadoff hitter Nori Aoki and second baseman Joe Panik.

Aoki hadn't hit a home run since Aug. 5 at Arizona -- his lone homer last season. Panik hadn't homered since Game 5 of the National League Championship Series last year against St. Louis and had just one regular-season homer in 2014.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Going into Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Angels, it was hard to imagine a more unlikely Giants duo to hit back-to-back home runs than leadoff hitter Nori Aoki and second baseman Joe Panik.

Aoki hadn't hit a home run since Aug. 5 at Arizona -- his lone homer last season. Panik hadn't homered since Game 5 of the National League Championship Series last year against St. Louis and had just one regular-season homer in 2014.

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So of course Aoki hit right-hander Jered Weaver's first pitch into the right-field seats at AT&T Park and Panik followed with a home run to right-center, giving the Giants a two-run lead and sparking them to a 5-0 victory.

"For Nori to hit a home run, OK," Panik said. "For me to hit a home run, OK. But for us to do it back-to-back like that, I don't think the oddsmakers would have pretty good odds on that one. Nori did a great job obviously, setting the tone."

The ball was carrying well to right field, and Aoki jumped on Weaver's 83 mph fastball, which he left up.

Video: LAA@SF: Aoki leads off with a solo shot to right

"Everyone looked surprised," Aoki said of his teammates' reaction.

Especially shortstop Brandon Crawford.

"Crawford asked me how I got it, so then I told him my secret, which is [biceps] and [triceps]," Aoki said, smiling, as he flexed his muscles.

Facing a 1-1 count, Panik hit Weaver's 68 mph curveball into the seats.

"It was one of those slow curveballs," Panik said. "That was the first time I'd ever faced him. One of those where you really have to focus on staying back. Just really try to stay back because you don't see too many at that speed."

Video: LAA@SF: Panik goes back-to-back with Aoki in the 1st

Panik, who hit 22 home runs over four seasons in the Minor Leagues, was happy to get home run No. 1 out of the way this year.

"I know I'm not a home run hitter but here and there," Panik said. "It's always good getting that first one and kind of just go about your business as usual."

The Giants opened a game with back-to-back homers for the fourth time in franchise history and first time in 51 years. Chuck Hiller and Duke Snider hit back-to-back homers on May 27, 1964, off Bob Gibson.

"It could almost have been three in a row, too," Aoki said.

No. 3 hitter Angel Pagan tripled high off the right-center-field wall in the first inning, barely missing a home run.

Video: LAA@SF: Pagan triples off the wall in right

Aoki and Panik gave right-hander Tim Lincecum all the offensive support he needed. Lincecum pitched eight shutout innings, allowing three hits while striking out four and walking one. He also went 2-for-2 with a walk.

"I think Timmy just did a nice job of keeping them off-balance," said Buster Posey, who caught Lincecum in a start for the first time since April 26, 2014, against Cleveland. "Never really fell into too many patterns and elevated when he needed to. Was able to get offspeed over for strikes behind in the count."

Lincecum seemed more excited about his fifth career multi-hit game than his pitching gem.

"I don't expect to get hits," Lincecum said. "When I do, I think that's why I'm more happy than the next guy. It's a good day."

Eric Gilmore is a contributor to MLB.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

San Francisco Giants, Nori Aoki, Joe Panik