SAN DIEGO -- Kevin Pillar hit three spots behind Evan Longoria on Wednesday night, so the longtime Toronto Blue Jay was getting ready to grab his bat in the third inning when the former Tampa Bay Rays star crushed a two-run shot to left-center to tie the game. It looked familiar to Pillar.
"He looks like the Longo of old," he said after the Giants' 7-5 win over the Padres.
Longoria right now looks every bit like that player, the one the Giants hoped would lead them back to the postseason last year. He's had an up-and-down two seasons in San Francisco, generally putting up solid numbers but falling short of his previous standards, and also of what most fans surely expected.
But over a three-game sweep of the Padres, Longoria destroyed a young pitching staff. He hit a homer and scored three runs Monday, hit two homers and drove in five Tuesday, and had that key early homer Wednesday.
Longoria said the whole lineup has been able to relax because so many hitters up and down the line are hot. He doesn't feel like he has to save the day every time up, but he's doing plenty of damage.
"The last seven games -- even the Arizona series I felt like we were doing a good job of stringing together hits and getting big hits when needed," Longoria said. "It's fun, having fun helps a lot."
As Bruce Bochy always says, a team can look depressed when it's not hitting. But the Giants were a raucous bunch in San Diego and Longoria was a big part of it.
He teammed with Alex Dickerson on Wednesday to give the Giants back-to-back homers for the first time this season. Longoria is the first Giant since Jarrett Parker in 2015 to homer four times in three games; Barry Bonds (four times) and Ellis Burks are the only others to do it since 2000. Longoria also joined Andrew McCutchen and Hunter Renfroe as the only players to hit four homers in a series at Petco Park, and he has seven homers in San Diego since joining the Giants, the most of any visiting player.
Pillar and Longoria have become friends in part because of their AL East connections, and as Pillar talked about the lineup's outburst, he pointed out that there's been a lot of work involved. Longoria has searched relentlessly for a solution and is constantly talking about hitting with Pillar. He took early batting practice recently and something has seemingly clicked.
"People get maybe a misconception about guys who have been doing this a long time and have been paid and think they're okay with not being the best version of themselves," Pillar said. "But he's constantly working."