Giants' latest comeback win reminds Joe Panik of 'October baseball'

Giants' latest comeback win reminds Joe Panik of 'October baseball'

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants have been careful not to get too far ahead of themselves during this stunning July run, but they're human. They are just like you at home, although without the ability to tweet Vince McMahon GIFs during rallies. They can't help but think about the big picture. 

A few minutes after another comeback win, Joe Panik couldn't help himself. He started to think of what the 5-4 win reminded him of

"That eighth inning," Panik said, "That's October baseball at Oracle Park."

It was hard to argue. With seemingly half the house rooting for the visiting Cubs, Oracle Park had a raucous back-and-forth vibe on a Monday night. For nearly eight full innings, the visiting fans were having all of the fun. 

But these Giants, one of the worst teams in baseball for three months, all of a sudden can't be put in the dirt. Trailing by two in the eighth, they got a leadoff double from Pablo Sandoval on a pitch that nearly scraped the dirt. Brandon Crawford's single squeezed just between two middle infielders to get the Giants within one. Kevin Pillar just barely beat out an inning-ending double play ball and scored when Austin Slater's drive to deep center climbed inches over Albert Almora's glove. 

Panik put the finishing touches on, slicing a double down the left field line to send the ballpark over the edge. It's been a rough stretch for Panik, one during which he has lost playing time, but he was the hero on this night.

"It feels good," he said. "You want to feel like you're helping the team. I got fortunate to be put in that situation -- runner on second, go-ahead run on. It feels good. These guys have been battling hard, grinding hard. It definitely feels good to help them out and have a productive night."

Panik's three-hit game was his first since May 7 and couldn't have been timed better. He has lost time to Donovan Solano recently and entered the night with just one extra-base hit in his last 20 games.

But Bruce Bochy has kept the faith. He had his longtime second baseman in there for the first game of a huge three-game series.

"Solano, yeah he's in the mix more playing short and second, but Joe, you've got to stay with a guy who has a base-hit bat," Bochy said. 

The final base hit Monday did the trick, putting the capper on a night when the Giants once again got contributions from all over. Drew Pomeranz, recently moved to the bullpen, struck out four in two scoreless bridge innings. Sam Dyson took over the ninth with Will Smith due a day off. He brought some "torture" back, but shut it down.

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Dyson's final out got the Giants to 51-50, putting them above .500 for the first time all season. They're a winning team for the first time since last August 14. 

"I feel great for these guys," Bochy said. "The way they're fighting and battling back ... what a comeback."

Giants' Mauricio Dubon needs jersey number after Gabe Kapler took his

Giants' Mauricio Dubon needs jersey number after Gabe Kapler took his

Gabe Kapler had his introductory press conference as the Giants' new manager, and he's chosen his uniform number as well.

The skipper has chosen No. 19 to sport this season, which means young infielder Mauricio Dubon will have to choose a new number -- and he needs your help.

He recently took to Twitter and asked what number he should wear now that he has to make the switch: 

No. 21 appeared to stand out from a Milwaukee Brewer's fan account, since Honduras became a country in 1821. Dubon was born in Honduras in 1994 (sorry to make you guys feel old).

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Five-time All-Star second baseman Jeff Kent also sported the number with San Francisco.

We shall see ... 

Giants continue Triples Alley construction, moving bullpens off field

Giants continue Triples Alley construction, moving bullpens off field

SAN FRANCISCO -- Gabe Kapler and Scott Harris both went through the same drill earlier this week, standing near the home dugout at Oracle Park as a team photographer grabbed shots from their first days on the job. Behind the two new members of the brain trust, construction workers continued the work that started last month.

The Giants plan to make an official announcement about the changing dimensions of their ballpark, and the new locations of the bullpen, soon, but those who attended the press conferences this week -- and a TopGolf event the park hosted last week -- got a sneak preview. 

A chunk of the bleacher seats in right center have already been ripped out to make room for the new bullpens, and some seats have also been taken out in left center to accommodate other changes to the ballpark. But team president and CEO Larry Baer said the changes won't be drastic for hitters. 

"Triples Alley will still be Triples Alley, just with some refinements," Baer said. 

The Giants are still figuring out some of the exact details, but they know the bullpens will be side-by-side in center and right center. The kale garden will remain, although it sounds like there will be some changes to the dimensions out there because the center-field wall is coming in about six feet, which should please hitters. 

The deepest part of the park -- the nemesis for Brandon Belt and other left-handed hitters -- is 421 feet and will ultimately be closer to 410 feet when the construction is done, the Giants think. The Giants put a bar underneath the new scoreboard last season and plan to have additional changes, including a terrace, out there this year, continuing a trend around the game -- seen across the bridge in Oakland -- of having more gathering spots for fans. 

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Even as they held two press conferences last week, the Giants remained coy about their exact plans for the dimensions, but they expect to take out about 400 seats.

Some of those may be made up for in other spots. There is a short wall separating the old bullpens from the first row of seats and about 80 feet of that wall has been taken down on both sides of the park, which would seem to indicate that the Giants are going to add some premium seating in some of that territory.