SAN FRANCISCO -- Hector Sanchez insists he has nothing but love for the Giants. The Padres catcher spent five seasons with San Francisco, winning two championships along the way. He regularly keeps in touch with a number of his former teammates. And he lauds the fans for their continued support,
SAN FRANCISCO -- Hector Sanchez insists he has nothing but love for the Giants. The Padres catcher spent five seasons with San Francisco, winning two championships along the way. He regularly keeps in touch with a number of his former teammates. And he lauds the fans for their continued support, even though he's now wearing a Padres cap.
Sanchez has a funny way of showing his affection. In the Padres' 12-9, 11-inning victory at AT&T Park on Friday night, Sanchez bedeviled his former club. He went 3-for-6 with a homer, a double and two RBIs, leading the Padres back from an early four-run deficit.
"You enjoy it," Sanchez said of facing his former club. "It's fun playing against those guys, because that was my team for a long time."
Sanchez's fourth-inning homer to straightaway center field sparked the Padres' early comeback. It was his 10th since joining the team last May, and five of them have come in his 24 at-bats against San Francisco.
In 297 plate appearances as a Giant at AT&T Park, Sanchez went deep just twice. He has stepped into the box at the stadium 15 times as a Padre -- and has homered three times.
Eighty-five percent of Sanchez's career at-bats have come for the Giants. And yet his five homers against them are more than he's hit against any other club.
"It's hard to look at the numbers and not think [he gets fired up to face the Giants]," Padres manager Andy Green said. "He's had so much success and so many big at-bats [against them]. He's upbeat every single day. But there's a locked-in factor when he's facing the Giants that seems pretty special."
Sanchez has taken over as the Padres' primary backstop since Austin Hedges went down a week ago with a minor concussion. Since then, Sanchez is hitting .375 with four home runs.
"It's different when you play like every day, get more opportunity," Sanchez said. "You get more game time, you're consistently in there, you see more pitches. I'm just happy to have the opportunity to be helping my team get Ws."
After Sanchez's fourth-inning blast, he tacked on a double in the fifth to chase Giants starter Jeff Samardzija. He singled in the seventh, leaving him a triple shy of the cycle.
Not known for his wheels, Sanchez had never tripled in his career.
"If I hit it, I was going to go for it," Sanchez joked.
He never got that chance, flying out in the eighth and striking out in the 10th.
AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.