"I just tried to see the ball and hit it where they're not," Pence said.
But if it weren't for two defensive plays the Giants right fielder made earlier in the game, San Francisco could very well have been playing from behind.
Jean Segura singled to right field off Jake Peavy to begin the third inning and Hernan Perez followed with a line drive into the right-center-field gap. Pence, though, made sure to keep Perez off the bases as he raced toward the center-field wall, reached out and made a magnificent catch on the run.
"Hunter ran that ball down and obviously saved us there from having to stave [off] a big inning," Peavy said.
Then, with Jonathan Lucroy on second base in the fourth inning, Ryan Braun hit a reasonably deep fly ball to right. Pence sprinted toward the foul line, made the catch and then fired to third base to nab Lucroy, who was tagging up on the play.
Pence's catch in the third saved a run from scoring and his throw in the fourth erased another potential run. His defensive effort enabled Peavy to settle in after the pitcher allowed leadoff singles in back-to-back innings.
"Especially in a tight ballgame, those plays win games for you," manager Bruce Bochy said.
Pence recorded his fourth outfield assist of the season, tying Nori Aoki for the team lead, despite the right fielder having played in just his 35th game of the year.
Though Pence missed 66 games with two injuries to his left arm, he has been a major boost to the Giants both in the outfield and at the plate when healthy.
The right fielder is hitting .317 with three home runs and 15 RBIs since returning to the lineup July 7 and continually makes electrifying plays with his glove and arm.
"Hunter is a shot in the arm any time he's on the field, offensively and defensively for this ballclub," Peavy said. "We owe a lot to him, that's for sure."
Oliver Macklin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.