Pence humbled by special moment in Giants' win


Pence humbled by special moment in Giants' win

SAN FRANCISCO If Hunter Pence was feeling down on himself at all when he came to the plate in the eighth inning of a tie game with two men on, it would have been understandable.

In his first 51 at-bats in a Giants uniform, Pence managed just seven hits for a minuscule .137 average. In his first four appearances on Sunday, the newly minted right fielder struck out twice with runners aboard, and twice made solid contact but was robbed of a hit in the second inning and lined into a double play in the fifth.

But Pence seemingly put his first 11-and-a-half days since a trade with Philadelphia behind him, and jacked a three-run homer over the left field wall to cap a come-from-behind victory over Colorado and keep the Giants in first place by a single game over the Dodgers, 9-6.

Theres definitely times that youre down, but I understand that the next at bat, everything can change, Pence said. I try to think of it as, let it go and go out there and try to do everything you can to win. Whether youre getting hits or not, play defense, and you never know when youre going to get another opportunity.

With perhaps his first boos from the home crowd on the line, Pence came through in dramatic fashion with his first home run in a Giants uniform, and was even awarded with a curtain call thanks to some assistance from Melky Cabrera.

Melky pushed me out there. I didnt even realizeit was pretty exciting. Those things dont happen very often, and is just kind of humbling, Pence said.

Buster Posey said: That was big. Hes been working hard, and its nice to see him come through there.

In fact, Poseys at bat prior to Pences longball may have been the key to the rally. The Giants trailed 6-5 when the red-hot catcher approached the plate with one out and the bases loaded to oppose Rockies reliever Rafael Betancourt.

No fewer than 10 pitches later, Posey, who has now hit safely in 24 of 27 games since the All-Star break, lifted a game-tying sacrifice fly into left field.

Pence was quick to give credit where credit was due.

That was huge. All the pressure is on Buster because were down at that point, he said. To wear down the pitcher like that and still get the job done, its obviously deflating for that pitcher because he just did about 10 wind sprints and we tied the game anyway.

Manager Bruce Bochy said: Its what you live for, that kind of competition, and Buster found a way to get it done.

But the afternoon belonged to Pence, who must finally feel like hes joined the pennant race on a fresh team.

We got it done, he said. A lot of things came together for that opportunity to come up, and I think everyone enjoyed it on our team.

But probably no one more than him, whether Pence wants to admit it or not.

Former Giants infielder replaces Dodgers' star shortstop on NLCS roster


Former Giants infielder replaces Dodgers' star shortstop on NLCS roster

LOS ANGELES — Shortstop Corey Seager has been left off the Los Angeles Dodgers' roster for the NL Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs.

The Dodgers announced Seager's surprise omission due to a back injury on Saturday, several hours before Game 1 at Dodger Stadium.

Los Angeles also dropped reliever Pedro Baez from its roster. Infielder Charlie Culberson and outfielder Joc Pederson were added.

Chicago made only one change from the last playoff round, adding reliever Hector Rondon and removing reliever Justin Wilson.

Seager complained of back soreness during the Dodgers' NL Division Series clincher in Arizona on Monday, and 2016 NL Rookie of the Year didn't participate in team workouts this week. Still, manager Dave Roberts said Friday that he was very optimistic that Seager would play in the NLCS.

Seager was an All-Star selection this season while batting .295 with 22 homers and 77 RBIs as a key part of the top of the Dodgers' lineup.

Kike Hernandez, Chris Taylor and Culberson all worked out at shortstop Friday for the Dodgers. The versatile Taylor was the Dodgers' center fielder during the NLDS, but he made 96 appearances in the outfield this season and 44 in the infield, including 14 games at shortstop.

Pederson is batting .071 with no homers since July, but the Dodgers could need him in center field if Taylor plays shortstop.

Culberson famously homered to clinch the Dodgers' NL West title in announcer Vin Scully's final home game last season, but the infielder spent most of this season at Triple-A, appearing in only 14 games for the Dodgers.

Rondon was the Cubs' closer in 2014 and 2015, but moved to a setup role last season after Aroldis Chapman's arrival. He appeared in 61 regular-season games this year, going 4-1 with a 4.24 ERA in an up-and-down campaign.

Chicago acquired Wilson in a trade with Detroit on July 31, adding a veteran left-handed reliever who had 13 saves for the Tigers this season. The Southern California native wasn't great in his two months with the Cubs, posting a 5.09 ERA with 19 walks in 23 appearances.

Manager Joe Maddon chose Wilson for the NLDS over Rondon, only to switch it up against the Dodgers.

Bochy, Giants issue statement following manager's heart procedure


Bochy, Giants issue statement following manager's heart procedure

Bruce Bochy's minor offseason heart procedure went as planned, the team announced Friday afternoon. 

In a message passed along to beat reporters, Bochy said "the procedure went extremely well and I'm feeling better. I'm grateful for the doctors and want to thank everyone who has reached out with well wishes."

Bochy, 62, had an ablation procedure to help him deal with heart issues that have plagued him in recent years. The operation was his second of the year, but it was considered minor enough that it could be pushed back to the end of the season.

Cleveland's Terry Francona had a similar procedure this year and returned to manage, and Bochy has left no doubt about his future. 

“I don’t want anyone to think this has an effect on my work, or ability to work,” Bochy said last week. “This is something that is not uncommon.”