SAN FRANCISCO -- Manager Bruce Bochy said after the Giants’ loss Thursday that he considered his offense -- which had totaled nine runs in its last six games at that point -- "too good" to remain in such a dormant state. But even he surely didn’t anticipate such a loud awakening.
The Giants broke out Saturday on a record-setting night with 22 hits in a 15-2 blowout of the Philadelphia Phillies, who sent ace Cole Hamels to the mound and watched the Giants hammer him for nine runs, eight of them coming in the fourth inning.
The Giants’ 22 hits were their most ever in a game at AT&T Park, eclipsing the previous mark of 20. Their 15 runs were a season high and their eight-run fourth was their highest scoring inning since an eight-run third in San Diego on Aug. 17, 2012. Three different players had four hits, and Hunter Pence slugged the Giants’ fifth grand slam of the season -- their most in a single year since they hit six in 2010.
"It’s been a long time since we’ve had a game like this," Bochy said. "Occasionally you have them, and it’s good to see us break out. It’s been a struggle for us."
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Collectively, yes, but also for several individuals over a longer period than just the last week. Angel Pagan came in batting .189 with one extra-base hit in his past 24 games. Justin Maxwell had four hits in his previous 40 at-bats. Brandon Belt was batting .214 in 24 games since June 11, hitless in 19 straight at-bats against left-handers.
Saturday, they led the charge. Pagan had three hits and his first multi-RBI game since opening day, with his two-run single igniting the landslide fourth inning. Maxwell went 4-for-4 and came a home run shy of the cycle, with his eighth-inning double setting the Giants’ new AT&T Park hits record moments after Belt had tied it. Belt reached base four times with two doubles and two walks, including a double off Hamels that marked the first of eight consecutive Giants reaching base in the fourth.
"We had some guys that had been struggling, and really happy for them," Bochy said. "They had some good at-bats, success tonight, needed I think for their confidence."
Before the game, Pagan was among several players taking early batting practice under the eye of hitting coach Hensley Meulens. Afterward, he said he felt the session and getting a few "pointers" from both Meulens and Will Clark helped him in the game.
"I was just trying to work on some things that I feel like I need to make some adjustments (on)," Pagan said. "I think everything is coming along. I feel really good at the plate, I’m seeing the ball good. You’re going to have some slumps, you’re going to have some good moments. But today, it was awesome."
This was Pagan’s third multi-hit game of July -- one fewer than he had all of June, as his average had dipped to .261 entering Saturday. All three of his hits were singles, and he still has just two extra-base hits since the start of June, but both his hits off Hamels were solid line drives.
"He’s a big part of this lineup," said second baseman Joe Panik. "If he can get going, you can see what this lineup can do. He did a great job for us tonight, swung the bat really well both sides of the plate. When he gets going, he’s the table-setter and guys, we kind of feed off him."Maxwell, meanwhile, reached base in all five of his plate appearances, scoring three runs and driving in two. Perhaps most encouraging were his three extra-base hits, equaling his total from his previous 22 games. Belt scored three runs and was one of four Giants who reached base at least four times. Panik and Matt Duffy also had four hits each.
"The last week and a half it was, ‘We’re going to break out of this soon, we’ve just got to keep believing, putting in the work in the cages,’" Panik said. "And it came out tonight … Our offense is very capable of having big nights. Obviously 22 hits is a lot, but we know we’re capable of doing big things."
Even starter Madison Bumgarner got in on the hit parade, singling twice and driving in a run in the fifth. He was OK with being overshadowed.
"We swung the bat today as good as we can swing it," Bumgarner said. "That was really good to see."
* Bumgarner didn’t pitch as deep into Saturday’s game as he normally does, exiting with two outs in the sixth. The Giants led 10-2 at that point, and with Bumgarner already at 103 pitches, Bochy took him out of a bases-loaded situation.
"If there’s any time I can save some bullets with him, I’m going to do it," Bochy said.
Interestingly, Bochy took Bumgarner out with a left-hander, Ben Revere, coming up. Revere already had two hits off Bumgarner in the game, and is 7-for-15 in his career against the Giants’ left-hander. Bochy brought in George Kontos, who retired Revere on a groundout and has now stranded all 23 of his inherited runners this season.
Bumgarner allowed eight hits with seven strikeouts and said he "felt OK" about his start.
"It’s just about winning games," he said. "They obviously put plenty of runs on the board and at that point it was just about getting quick outs and being aggressive. I could’ve done a better job of that. Sometimes it’s going to be more of a battle than others."
* Pence had just one hit, but it was a big one -- an opposite-field grand slam that capped the eight-run fourth and knocked Hamels out of the game. It’s the first time in his career Hamels has allowed nine earned runs in a start. For Pence, it was his fifth career grand slam and the 18th home run by a Giants right-handed batter to right field at AT&T Park.
"Really impressive how he’s come back, and swinging well," Bochy said of Pence, who went a month without facing big-league pitching before returning from the DL earlier this week. "He’s using the whole field, too, and it looks like he’s seeing the ball really well."
Panik also homered in the eighth inning, a two-run shot for his 100th hit of the season. It was notable for the guy outside the stadium who saw it bounce off the arcade seats into McCovey Cove and hurdled the railing into the water to grab it. Presumably, he got out OK.
"I saw the replay," Panik said. "That’s pretty funny. I mean, I’m sure that water’s pretty cold that time of night, and he’s just diving, going straight in. Gave me a good chuckle."
* The series continues Saturday with Giants right-hander Ryan Vogelsong (6-6, 4.10) opposing Phillies right-hander David Buchanan, who will be making his 2015 debut. First pitch at 7:05 p.m.