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.
And what is the hottest hitter in baseball thinking?
"Buster gives me something (technical) but Hunter is all, 'just try to kill the ball,' " Pill said.
Pill crushed a Paco Rodriguez pitch to left to pick up the second pinch-hit homer of his career and send a charge through a Giants dugout that had failed to give Ryan Vogelsong a healthy lead.
Vogelsong was sharp through four innings, throwing 41 of 58 pitches for strikes, but as he did in his previous two starts, Vogelsong fell apart in the fifth, giving up three runs on Adrian Gonzalez's bases-loaded double.
"It's just one of those things — it's weird," Vogelsong said of the continued fifth-inning issues. "Other than that, I felt I threw the ball pretty good. I've been working hard all year to try and find consistency in my delivery. Obviously it's been rough to do that for some reason, but it definitely felt better today."
Vogelsong was given an early run when Pence became the first Giant to homer in four straight since Barry Bonds in 2005. With the Giants trailing 3-1 in the sixth, Pence crushed another homer to left, his career-high-tying 25th of the year. The blast gave Pence a Giants record 19 RBIs over the past six games and he became the first player since 1935 to drive in 12 runs in a series against the Dodgers.