SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Hunter Pence retooled his swing under the guidance of a hitting guru while rehabbing in the minors from a right thumb sprain.
A few days ago, he went back to a few things from the old approach and adjusted his stance.
“A smorgasbord weird Hunter Pence swing,” San Francisco’s spirited outfielder said, poking fun at himself.
Pence certainly liked the result Sunday, when he hit a two-run double down the first-base line with the bases loaded and one out in the 11th inning to send the Giants past the San Diego Padres 3-2.
“Still always a work in progress, you never completely figure it out and every day is different. That’s the fun of it,” said Pence, who has primarily been a backup since returning earlier this month from a 40-game absence.
One of his teammates pulled open his uniform shirt in celebration, leaving only the top button intact. Pence said he might require a new jersey.
“Ecstatic,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “It’s been a tough road for him.”
Brad Hand (1-4) got in trouble fast. He allowed Andrew McCutchen’s one-out double, then intentionally walked Buster Posey and hit Brandon Crawford with his first offering. Pence followed with his 11th career walk-off hit and first since another against Hand two years ago. Pence raised his arms once the ball got past first baseman Eric Hosmer.
Cory Spangenberg had put San Diego ahead in the top of the 11th with a single.
Manuel Margot led off the game with a home run, and drew a leadoff walk in the 11th from San Francisco reliever Reyes Moronta. After Ty Blach (5-5) relieved, Spangenberg singled off first baseman Brandon Belt’s glove.
A solo homer by each team was it until the 11th.
Belt hit a two-out double in the eighth against Kirby Yates. Padres right fielder Hunter Renfroe made a magnificent catch in foul territory on McCutchen’s flyball, rolling into the first row of fans after the grab.
Posey doubled and singled for the Giants, who concluded a stretch of 17 straight games without a break.
Margot began the game with a 3-2 drive into the left-field bleachers for his second homer of the year. It was his fifth career leadoff home run after hitting four last season. The Giants tied it on a leadoff homer by Gorkys Hernandez in the sixth, his ninth after none in 2017.
McCutchen’s one-out single in the fourth was the Giants’ first hit off Padres starter Eric Lauer.
Giants rookie Dereck Rodriguez stuck out six and walked one over seven innings, allowing one run on four hits in his fifth major league start and third at home — where he remains unbeaten.
The Giants’ rally spoiled a chance for victory by journeyman reliever Robert Stock in his long-awaited major league debut at age 28. He worked out of a tough spot in the 10th after a call-up earlier in the day from Triple-A El Paso.
Joe Panik doubled leading off the 10th before Stock retired the side with a pair of strikeouts.
Stock’s parents were in the stands at AT&T Park in case he got the call.
“I think that knowing the trials and tribulations that some people go through over an entire minor league career as opposed to some people get there like that, maybe makes you appreciate it more,” Stock said.
Padres: Travis Jankowski was a late scratch with left quadriceps soreness and Matt Szczur replaced him in left field. ... C Austin Hedges went hitless in his return from the disabled list. He was activated and started, batting seventh, after being sidelined since May 1 with tendinitis in his right elbow. ... RHP Jordan Lyles, scratched in the bottom of the first Saturday just before his scheduled start, was placed on the DL retroactive to Thursday with inflammation in his pitching elbow. He will go home to San Diego and be examined Monday but the injury isn’t considered serious — there is believed to be no structural damage — and as of now the training staff didn’t plan to do any additional exams, though manager Andy Green acknowledged that could change.
Giants: Bochy is encouraged by RHP Johnny Cueto’s first rehab outing as he works back from a sprained pitching elbow. Cueto went 3 2-3 scoreless innings throwing 38 pitches with no walks for Triple-A Sacramento on Saturday and rejoined the Giants on Sunday for a bullpen session. The plan is for another off the mound in five days and likely two more rehab starts, and the next could be with Class A San Jose. “Right now he feels great,” Bochy said.
Padres: LHP Joey Lucchesi (3-3, 3.86 ERA) takes the mound for the series opener at Texas, making his second start since returning from the DL for a right hip strain.
Giants: Following their first off day since June 7 on Monday, LHP Derek Holland (5-7, 4.48) will pitch Tuesday night against Colorado looking to win back-to-back outings for the first time in 2018.
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