SAN FRANCISCO -- Justin Maxwell's performance Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Dodgers was so rewarding that even pain brought him satisfaction.
Maxwell, who started in right field to give the Giants a right-handed-hitting presence against Dodgers lefty Brett Anderson, delivered a multifaceted effort in San Francisco's 6-2 triumph. Prompting amazement with his sliding catch of Yasiel Puig's foul fly ball, he bracketed that play with helpings of offense, tripling and scoring on Brandon Crawford's deft bunt single in the second inning before crushing a two-run homer off Dodgers reliever Pedro Baez in the eighth.
Maxwell paid a physical price for his catch. His right knee struck the padded portion of the wall adjacent to the visitors' bullpen, but he mashed his left knee against the base of the wall, which has no padding.
"I'll probably feel it more tomorrow than today," Maxwell said, meeting reporters with his left knee bandaged.
Maxwell sensed as he pursued the ball that he shouldn't give up on it. The advice of third-base coach Roberto Kelly, who also tutors the Giants' outfielders, ran through his mind: Foul balls that travel toward first base often descend back into play.
"So I was busting it over there because I figured I would have a chance," Maxwell said.
After making the catch, Maxwell briefly lay on the ground in obvious pain but remained in the game after head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner examined him.
Maxwell proved in the bottom of the inning that he was physically whole. With the count 3-1, he rocketed Baez's 97 mph fastball into the tunnel beyond the left-field corner.
"That's why you play baseball," said Maxwell, whose homer was his first in the Majors since Sept. 22, 2013, for Kansas City against Texas. "There's no better feeling than squaring up a baseball. I think it's the best feeling in sports, to be honest with you."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.