Brett Pill has been bugging Hunter Pence for hitting tips lately, and for good reason: His Giants teammate has homered in four straight games.
Pill summed up Pence’s advice this way: ”I just try to kill the ball.”
Did he ever against the Dodgers.
Pence hit two more homers, Pill connected for a tiebreaking shot leading off the eighth inning, and San Francisco Giants beat Los Angeles 4-3 on Sunday.
Pence said he simply told Pill, ”I try to see the ball and hit it as hard as I can. Then he gets all mad at me.”
Pence got his revenge when Pill hit the second pinch-hit homer of his career.
”I couldn’t wait to ask him what was he thinking,” Pence said, laughing.
Pence has 19 RBIs in six games, the most for a Giants player in that span since RBIs became an official statistic in 1920, according to information provided to the Giants by the Elias Sports Bureau.
”I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone that hot,” Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong said.
Pence became the first Giants player to homer in four consecutive games since Barry Bonds from September 2005. Pence drove in three runs, a day after his grand slam and career-high seven RBIs led the Giants to a 19-3 rout at Dodger Stadium.
”It’s fun to watch when you see a good hitter locked in,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
Pence piled up the most RBIs in a series against the Dodgers since 1935, when Ripper Collins of St. Louis had 13 during a five-game set.
”It was pretty tough to see out there, the sun is bright,” Pence said. ”I just block out anything that has happened (before). Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of hits and some good fortune. Yesterday, I had two bloopers.”
The Dodgers rallied in the ninth, but pinch-hitter Yasiel Puig grounded out with the bases loaded to end the game. The NL West leaders lost three of four to San Francisco, and the magic number to clinch their first division title since 2009 remained at four after second-place Arizona won.
”We’re definitely looking for the clincher,” first baseman Adrian Gonzalez said. ”We wish we would have been able to do it here at home, but getting it is the most important thing and getting our guys healthy.”
Pence joined Willie Mays as the only players in Giants history to homer in every game of a four-game set against the Dodgers, which Mays did twice. Pence’s five homers tied for the most ever in a series against the Dodgers, tying Philadelphia’s Mike Schmidt in 1979 (four games) and Pittsburgh’s Frank Thomas in 1958 (five games).
”If I’m mentioned with these names, it’s extremely humbling,” Pence said.
Jean Machi (3-1) pitched one inning. Sergio Romo closed for his 35th save in 39 chances.
Paco Rodriguez (3-3) gave up Pill’s homer.
Pence homered leading off the second for a 1-0 lead.
”We’re all kind of feeding off him, getting aggressive swinging the ball, having no fear,” Pill said.
The Giants tied it at 3 with two outs in the sixth on Pence’s two-run shot. Brandon Belt singled and moved up on a wild pitch by Edinson Volquez before Pence hit his 25th homer.
”That’s one guy you really don’t want to be leaving the ball up to at all,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. ”Volquez didn’t execute a couple of pitches and he made us pay.”
Los Angeles took a 3-1 lead in the fifth on Gonzalez’s bases-loaded double down the right-field line. With one out, Volquez reached on an infield single, Dee Gordon followed with a single and Mark Ellis got hit by a pitch.
The Dodgers thought they had tied it at 1 in the fourth, but a video review showed the ball bounced near the top of the center-field wall and Juan Uribe was credited with a triple rather than a home run.
Vogelsong allowed three runs and seven hits in six innings. Volquez gave up three runs and five hits in 5 2-3 innings, struck out seven and walked none.
NOTES: It was Pence’s ninth career multihomer game. … The Dodgers were without SS Hanley Ramirez and OFs Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford, all of whom have nagging injuries. … Giants 2B Marco Scutaro left the game in the middle of the third with lower back tightness. … The Dodgers are the first major league team to exceed 3.5 million in attendance this season. They lead the majors in both average home and road attendance (35,622). … After an off-day Monday, the Giants will spend the week in New York playing the Mets and Yankees, the first time they’ve played both teams in the same week.