Pence shows grit after fouling ball off face

Pence shows grit after fouling ball off face

WASHINGTON -- Following the Giants' 7-1 victory Saturday over the Washington Nationals, San Francisco right fielder Hunter Pence looked as if he had just emerged from a prizefight, not a ballgame.

Yet Pence played the entire game despite fouling a Stephen Strasburg pitch off his face in the second inning, which left an ugly bruise on his right cheekbone. After the game, Pence also sported the beginnings of a black eye.

Pence smashed a fastball that struck home plate and bounced straight back up into the right side of his face. Giants head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner and manager Bruce Bochy immediately sprang from the dugout to examine Pence, whose face grew swollen and discolored despite between-innings applications of ice.

Pence's game-ending catch

"If I'm OK to play, I want to give it everything I can," Pence said. "I don't claim to be anything special or tough. I just want to play. It's an honor to be out there with those guys and a privilege to play for the Giants. It's awesome."

Said Bochy, "What a warrior. By the time I got there that thing was swollen. He was adamant he wasn't coming out."

Before Saturday's game, Bochy said he expected to rest Pence in Sunday's series finale. Pence had played all six of San Francisco's games since he was reinstated from the disabled list last Saturday.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.