Nunez provides big spark with 4 hits vs. Nats

Nunez provides big spark with 4 hits vs. Nats

WASHINGTON -- Now that Eduardo Nunez has truly announced his presence with the Giants, the ballclub hopes he'll stick around for a while.

With his 4-for-5 performance in San Francisco's critical 7-1 victory Saturday night over the Washington Nationals, Nunez was everything the Giants believed they were getting when they acquired him from the Minnesota Twins on July 28.

He was electrifying, recording his first career two-triple game and negotiating the basepaths as if he were an Olympic sprinter on loan from Rio de Janeiro. His size 7 1/4 batting helmet flew off his head as he ran, as if he were a latter-day Willie Mays.

"His speed is a game-changer," first baseman Brandon Belt said.

Nunez was relentless, adding a double and single to his effort to finish with a career-best nine total bases. He became the only Giant in the franchise's San Francisco history other than Will Clark to amass two triples and a double in the same game.

And Nunez was timely, providing the Giants an oasis of offense while scoring three runs. San Francisco mustered 65 runs while losing 14 of its previous 19 games.

The Giants took the field at Nationals Park knowing that second-place Los Angeles already had defeated Boston, jeopardizing their two-game lead in the National League West. Nunez helped dissolve the tension by tripling and scoring in the fourth and fifth innings as the Giants scored twice in each frame.

"It was a definite spark to ignite some of those good innings," right fielder Hunter Pence said. "That's the player he is and why we're so excited to have him here."

History indicated that if anybody could lead a winning bid against Stephen Strasburg, it was Nunez. He went 3-for-4 in an April 24 Interleague game against the Washington ace. Nunez improved that figure to 6-for-7.

Nunez admitted the experience helped.

"It's easier for me. I had a better idea of how he throws," he said.

Moreover, Nunez himself was at ease after enduring a trying start to his Giants career. He entered the game 2-for-20 as a Giant and was burdened by the memory of two errors defensively that precipitated defeats.

"It was a very tough week," Nunez said. But his worries evaporated after a chat with manager Bruce Bochy a couple of days ago.

"He wanted to make sure my mind's right, and he gave me confidence. I appreciate that," Nunez said.

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.