Hunter Pence launched a three-run homer in the 1st inning in Houston last night, a real moon shot that hit high up on left-field wall. The Giants had already scored a run, but you never have enough in this game. The plucky no-name Astros chased Barry Zito in the 3rd and made a game of it. Six Giants relievers subdued them eventually, and Joaquin Arias got a big two-out, two-run triple in the 6th to seal the deal. Give that man a cheroot! He's earned it. Pence has hit two homers as a Giant, both of the half-sixpence variety, and has managed to drive in 19 runs in his 27 games. But the .219/.274/.352 line is getting old. It does look like he's making better contact these days and the at-bats seem to be trending upward, but the team is really going to need something closer to his career averages real soon. He racked up 304 total bases in 2011! Let's hope another night at Minute Maid Park helps.
Angel Pagan led off the game with a double, and Marco Scutaro followed that with a bunt. I like to think he was trying for a hit--I don't get the logic of sacrificing someone to third base. The man is already in scoring position, and he's a fast runner. Why give up outs so early in a game? Teams win more often when they score first, I get it. But playing for one run means you only get one run. When the Houston Astros, one of the historically-worst teams in baseball history, can score four runs off a good pitching staff, playing for one run at the beginning of a game is, in my view, a loser's tactic. I'd rather see Scutaro hit in that situation. He's patient and selective, and I trust him to find a ball he can hit the other way if nothing to his liking comes in. A grounder to the right side at least has a chance of going through for a hit, and he's running out a .328/.356/.432 line as a Giant. Why give yourself up when you are one of the best hitters on the team? It wasn't Kershaw vs. Bumgarner at home, fer chrissakes. That's a hitters park down there. Thankfully Pablo Sandoval got a bloop for the RBI and Buster Posey walked to give Pence his chance. It's a quibble, I know. One of the things I like most about Ol' Boch is he's not big on bunting. (A game like last night really makes you appreciate how well he and Rags handle the pitching staff.) The Giants got the win and kept the pressure on LA, and that's what matters most.
A sweep would be sweet. Go get 'em, Vogie! And swing the bats, lads. Another sixpence ought to be enough.