Pence starts Derby campaign with grand slam

Pence starts Derby campaign with grand slam

SAN FRANCISCO -- It goes without saying that a grand slam can't happen without the help of at least three teammates, but Hunter Pence was happy to acknowledge that fact after slugging the Giants' first of the season in Thursday's home opener.

It was the final salvo in a 12-6 victory over the Dodgers, an offensive display that showed off the merry-go-round effect this year's Giants lineup can bring with players from top to bottom making good things happen -- sometimes adding up to a grand slam.

"I think it took a lot of at-bats," Pence said of his sixth career slam. "Obviously, the grand slam was nice, but these things don't happen without a lot of good at-bats in front of you and people on base."

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In this case, it was a trio of leadoff types with singles getting the eighth inning started, with Gregor Blanco pinch-hitting for the pitcher in the No. 8 spot, Angel Pagan adding his second knock of the day at No. 9 and Denard Span bunting to load the bases. Joe Panik got one run in with another single, and after Buster Posey struck out, it was Pence's turn to take on hard-throwing Dodgers right-hander Pedro Baez.

"My approach right there was I knew he threw hard and knew he had a good fastball, a good slider," Pence said. "If it was a slider, I wanted to catch it out front, and if it was a fastball, maybe catch it a little deep and hit it the other way."

He got the slider, and he got out in front of it plenty to crush it 423 feet to left-center, sending the sellout crowd at AT&T Park into a tizzy and impressing Posey, for one.

"I'm going to go ahead and start it right now," Posey said. "We've got to get him in the Home Run Derby because he'll be fun to watch. He hits the ball as far as anybody."

Where that goes remains to be seen, but one thing Pence figures is that he'll have plenty of RBI opportunities the way this Giants lineup is shaping up in an impressive first week of the season.

"We feel like our lineup is pretty deep and everyone will take a good at-bat," Pence said. "Every once in a while, you can catch those innings when you can do some damage."

John Schlegel is a national reporter for You can follow him on Twitter @JohnSchlegelMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.