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Panik produces more magic in Kansas City

MLB.com @sfgiantsbeat

Giants second baseman Joe Panik maintained his penchant for distinguishing himself at Kansas City. This time he boosted the Giants with his bat instead of his glove.

A high achiever in a low-scoring game, Panik singled home Nick Hundley with the tiebreaking run in the 11th inning, five innings after he singled and scored San Francisco's initial run. Panik thus contributed handsomely to the Giants' 2-1 triumph in Tuesday night's opener of a two-city, five-game trip.

Full Game Coverage

Giants second baseman Joe Panik maintained his penchant for distinguishing himself at Kansas City. This time he boosted the Giants with his bat instead of his glove.

A high achiever in a low-scoring game, Panik singled home Nick Hundley with the tiebreaking run in the 11th inning, five innings after he singled and scored San Francisco's initial run. Panik thus contributed handsomely to the Giants' 2-1 triumph in Tuesday night's opener of a two-city, five-game trip.

Full Game Coverage

When Panik last performed in Kauffman Stadium, he captured attention far and wide with his diving stop of Eric Hosmer's third-inning smash that started a double play and helped propel the Giants to their Game 7 victory in the 2014 World Series.

This time, the stakes were much smaller. But Panik's level of play wasn't.

Again, he initiated a double play that halted a Royals rally before it started. Once more, Hosmer was the luckless hitter who set the play in motion. As was the case in 2014, an umpires' video review proved necessary to seal the call.

Video: SF@KC: Giants turn two after call overturned in 10th

However, Panik generated his offense all by himself. He lifted his batting average to .319, continuing to establish himself as a source of consistency on a team that lacks steady offense.

Giants bench coach Ron Wotus, who served as acting manager while Bruce Bochy recovered from a mild heart procedure, wasn't surprised to see Panik deliver in the 11th, when he followed Nick Hundley's two-out double with his line drive to center field that barely eluded Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain. The left-handed-batting Panik defied the percentages by stroking his hit off Royals lefty Scott Alexander.

"That's the type of player he is. He's a baseball player," Wotus said of Panik. "You get all the statistics today, the matchups. But the guy plays baseball. He's in the moment and he wants to be the guy. He's just a good hitter. In big situations, we've seen it from him a lot. Playoffs, World Series, he's that type of player. It was nice to see him come through with that hit."

Panik wasn't certain he had the hit the Giants needed.

"Right when I hit it, I saw a lot of green," he said. "But going to first, you're seeing Lorenzo running it down. Luckily, the thing snuck down. They cover a lot of ground out there. Fortunately, that one caught some grass."

It was a night to savor for Panik, who keenly recalled the Giants' previous Kansas City visit.

"A lot of great memories," he said. "We had a great battle with them back in '14. It's a different feel with April baseball, but we appreciate coming back here and all the memories that we have."

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.

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

San Francisco Giants, Joe Panik