LOS ANGELES — When you intend on having serious contract negotiations with the Giants, it's a huge benefit to be able to say you've accomplished something that previously had been done only by Willie Mays.
Right fielder Hunter Pence pulled that off in the second inning Sunday, becoming the only Giants player other than Mays to homer in all four games of a series against the rival Los Angeles Dodgers. Pence then upped the stakes in the sixth inning, hitting a two-run shot, his second of the day and sixth of the week.
Pence again put on a show at Dodger Stadium, leading the Giants to a 4-3 win and a series victory. The Giants have won nine of 16 meetings with the Dodgers, the past three coming mostly because of a hot streak that had Pence joining statistical lists with the likes of Mays, Mel Ott and Willie McCovey.
“I'm shocked,” Pence said, when told of his new company. “If my name is mentioned with those names, it's extremely humbling. It's one at-bat at a time for me, I'm trying to really just block out anything else that's happening.”
Pence's teammates aren't blocking out the historic run. Instead, they're simply following their right fielder, and the result is a run of six wins in eight games that has the Giants back in third place in the division.
“Yeah, it's getting pretty ridiculous,” said Brett Pill, who hit a go-ahead homer in the eighth. “To do what Hunter is doing right now is pretty unbelievable. I think we all kind of feed off of it. We're getting aggressive like he is.”
Brandon Belt's late-season surge has relegated Pill to pinch-hit duty, and he was just 1 for 22 in that role before heading to the plate in the eighth inning with the game tied at 3-all. Pill has taken the role in stride, peppering Pence and Buster Posey with questions after their at-bats.
“Every time I get a hit, he comes up and asks me what I'm thinking,” Pence said, laughing.