SAN FRANCISCO -- Hunter Pence was acquired just before the trade deadline to bolster the San Francisco Giants' low-scoring offense at home. After going hitless in his first four at-bats on Sunday, he became the hero with one swing.
Pence hit a three-run home run to left in the bottom of the eighth inning to help the Giants beat the Colorado Rockies 9-6 on Sunday afternoon.
"That moment is a big inning for us and we got it done," Pence said. "A lot of things came together for that opportunity to come up and I think everyone enjoyed it on our team. It was great for the team to come together late in the game and tie it up and win it, it was huge for us."
The Giants blew a 3-0 first-inning lead, yet managed to come back from a two-run deficit by scoring five runs in the eighth, highlighted by Pence's clout.
Prior to the home run, Pence struggled, striking out twice and also lining into a double play. He had been 0-for-10 for the Giants in home games before getting an RBI double on Saturday.
"That's baseball; you've got to keep plugging away," Pence said. "With this team we've got a lot of guys that are out there grinding. We're all pulling together so keep grinding and go out there and good things can happen."
Brandon Belt was 4-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI as the Giants won for the seventh time in their last 10 games to remain one game ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West.
"I think it was huge just for the fact that we battled," Belt said. "Now we know that we can battle and come back in any situation, and that's what happened. There was a lot of stuff going wrong for us, but it didn't matter. Everybody just came together and did what they had to do to get the job done."
With the Giants leading 4-3 in the sixth inning, Giants starter Barry Zito was lifted
for reliever George Kontos after giving up a one-out single to Jordan Pacheco. Kontos could not hold the lead, giving up a double to D.J. LeMahieu. Pinch hitter Carlos Torres got his first major-league hit and RBI when he singled to center, giving the Rockies the edge.
The Rockies added a run in the seventh. Dexter Fowler singled and stole second. He eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Pacheco to put Colorado ahead 6-4.
In the eighth, Brandon Crawford hit a high fly ball to shallow left. Initially Crawford slammed his bat into the ground in disgust. But he would get a hit because shortstop Josh Rutledge lost the ball in the sun. Pinch hitter Hector Sanchez, after a long at-bat, hit a ground rule double that one-hopped the wall in deep center field. Angel Pagan walked, and the Giants had the bases loaded and nobody out.
Marco Scutaro flied out, but Melky Cabrera delivered in another clutch situation for his third RBI of the day. Cabrera hit a ball up the middle. Rutledge dived for the ball and kept it from going into center field, but it did allow Crawford to score to make it a one-run game.
The bases remained loaded for Buster Posey, who fouled off several pitches. On the 10th pitch of the at-bat, he flied out to left, bringing in pinch-runner Joaquin Arias to tie the game at 6-6.
Pence was the next batter, and he delivered his three-run homer.
"They played with energy and the whole key to the eighth inning was the lead off pop up that fell," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "I really believe if we record that out, that inning is going to go fairly cleanly, and it didn't. We were going to play the ninth inning with a 6-4 lead, but it didn't work out that way. Give them credit, they know what's at stake and they took advantage of the situation to lead the eighth inning off and beat us. That's pretty much what it boils down to."
Despite blowing the early lead, it proved to be an uplifting victory for the Giants.
"It's a euphoric feeling when you see that, especially the way that game was loaded with the ups and downs," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "A three-run homer helps make up for a few mistakes that we made today and we had some great at-bats in that inning. We found a way to tie the game and then when Pence's ball went out, it's a great
feeling because what could go wrong was going wrong for us. But the guys kept battling and that's a big win for us, and we found a way to win it."
The Giants sent nine men to the plate in the bottom of the first and scored three runs. Pagan led off with the double to right center. He advanced to third on a wild pitch. Scutaro grounded out to the pitcher and Pagan was caught in a rundown. Somehow, Pagan was able to avoid being tagged out and slid safely back to third base. Meanwhile, Scutaro scampered all the way to second base on the play.
The inability for the Rockies to execute that rundown proved costly.Cabrera recorded his 58th and 59th RBIs with a single to center field.
Colorado got on the board in the third inning. LeMahieu reached base with an infield single to short. He was sacrificed to second by White and scored on a hard-hit double to left field by Eric Young. Rutledge followed with a double down the right field line to score Young, and the Giants' lead was down to 3-2.
In the fifth, with two outs, Belt walked and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Ryan Theriot doubled to left and Belt scored easily from second base to give the Giants a 4-3 lead.
The Rockies tied the game in the fourth inning. Zito issued a leadoff walk to Wilin Rosario. With one out, Chris Nelson doubled to left center. The Giants elected to intentionally walk LeMahieu and take their chances with pitcher Alex White. But White is a decent hitter and he hit a sacrifice fly to left. Rosario scored and the game was tied up, 4-4.
NOTES: The Giants improved to 4-46 when trailing after seven innings.... Posey reached base four times and has hit safely in 24 of 27 games since the All-Star Break, batting .449 (44-for-98) with 17 walks. ...Pence hit his first home run in a Giants uniform. ... The Rockies fall to 5-13 in rubber games this season. ... Four of the Colorado runs were driven in by rookies. Colorado has 104 RBIs from rookies, most
in the National League.
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