For once, Panik doesn't pass on 3-0 pitch

May 14th, 2016

PHOENIX -- Giants second baseman Joe Panik doesn't usually get a green light on a 3-0 pitch, nor does he swing at one. Like never.

"Up here, no. In my life, yeah," Panik said referring to his short tenure in the Majors. "It depends on the situation."

In the situation against D-backs starter Shelby Miller on Friday night, with runners on second and third and nobody out in the sixth, Giants manager Bruce Bochy gave Panik the green light. And the lefty hitter buried an inside fastball into the right-field bleachers at Chase Field for all the runs the Giants would need in a 3-1 victory.

Jeff Samardzija finished the job, pitching eight innings of eight-hit, one-run ball to earn his fifth win since signing a five-year, $90 million free-agent contract with the Giants this past offseason.

The D-backs had taken a 1-0 lead in the fifth inning as Miller hit the first triple of his career and scored on Jean Segura's base hit. When Samardzija saw Panik's second homer in two games go out, he breathed a deep sigh of relief.

"Especially with what had happened in the previous inning," Samardzija said. "Trust me, I've been giving Joe a lot of hugs tonight."

Panik just about put the kibosh on Zack Greinke with a two-run homer off the $206.5 million man in the fifth inning of Thursday night's 4-2 Giants win.

But his antics off Miller were pretty unexpected. Previously, Panik had faced 3-0 pitches 37 times since he made his debut with the Giants right here on June 21, 2014. He hadn't swung at any of them and wound up walking 19 times.

Go figure it.

"He gets the sign whether to swing or not," Bochy said. "But he's going to swing there. If he gets a good pitch he did what you're hoping he would do on a 3-0 pitch. Blame it on the manager. Maybe he didn't give him the green light enough."

Panik is such a good natured kid he just sloughed it all off. He's a .256 hitter coming off missing six consecutive games because of a strained right groin. Standing at his locker addressing the media, his lower right side was encased in ice and an Ace bandage wrap.

This coming off sitting out most of the last two months of the 2015 season because of inflammation in his lower back.

"I mean, you're going to have bumps and bruises," said Panik, at 24 last season selected by Bochy to play on the National League All-Star team. "The groin was less than a week. You're going to go through those things during the season. It was a cold night in New York. Things happen."

What happened the last two nights is that Panik contributed five runs to an offense that scored seven overall and is 21st in the Majors with 33 home runs.

Panik now has five of them.

"They're both very good pitchers. They've got some pitchers who can put you away," Panik said specifically about Greinke and Miller. "When you face guys like that, guys who are generally going to be around the plate, you have to be ready to hit."