Pence in the middle as Giants rally to tie Series
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) His swings, shouts and sliding catch all done, Hunter Pence shuttled from one postgame TV interview to another outside the San Francisco dugout, bumping through a crush of people with every step.
At last, he wound up standing smack in the center of a giant World Series logo. A fitting spot, for sure.
With eyes wide open and tongue hanging out, the quirky player who seems to be a perfect fit for a quirky ballpark rallied his team and their fans, sending the Giants past the Kansas City Royals 11-4 Saturday to even the Series at two games apiece.
”I mean, he’s the guy that’s a vocal leader on the team, and he gets guys fired up,” rookie second baseman Joe Panik said.
”And with his play, he’s all-out and gives everything he’s got. It’s spectacular to watch. He’s fun to watch. He’s really big to this team. He’s in the middle of a lot of things, offensively and defensively,” he said.
All part of Pence’s approach.
”I want to give every single game everything I have to win, and the rest, the numbers, will take care of themselves,” he said.
”Literally, my goals are to play each game as hard as I can to win,” he said.
With a weird throwing motion and an odd setup at the plate, Pence certainly isn’t the perfect model for how a Little League coach would teach a youngster to play.
The results can’t be debated.
Pence doubled and singled twice, driving in three runs, scoring twice and punctuating his big plays with whoops.
At 7 for 15, his .467 batting average is the best among Series regulars. He leads with five RBIs, too, and has scored four runs.
Overall, Pence has reached base safely in 17 straight postseason games, dating to when the Giants won the 2012 championship.
”If I was to say the keys to my success, trying not to do too much sometimes,” he said. ”I think I had struggles when I was younger, and I still have a lot to learn and get better.”