"We need him," said catcher Buster Posey, whose three-run homer in the eighth inning highlighted a 4-for-5 performance. "He's going to be huge for us. With his speed, getting on base, he can do a lot of things, so it was nice to see him swing the bat well tonight."
Pagan contributed to each inning in which San Francisco scored multiple runs. Scoring after each of his hits, he doubled in a two-run first inning off ex-Giants lefty Jonathan Sanchez, tripled home a run in the seventh inning, beat out an infield hit in the eighth and walked and scored in the ninth. This was Pagan's first game of the year in which he recorded multiple extra-base hits.
Pagan's performance interrupted a prolonged slump that threatened to render him a nonentity offensively. He entered the game batting .156 (7-for-45) in his previous 14 games. The .272 batting average he owned before the game was his lowest since he was at .256 on May 11.
Studying video with hitting coaches Hensley Meulens and Joe Lefebvre helped Pagan recover his lost form.
"Today I felt like I was seeing the ball really well and my balance at the plate was really good," he said.
Pagan wasn't the Giants' only asset. Every starter collected at least one hit as San Francisco matched its season-high total with 16. Posey hiked his second-half batting average to a National League-high .464 (32-for-69) with five homers and 17 RBIs. Melky Cabrera, Ryan Theriot and Marco Scutaro each drove in a pair of runs. Hunter Pence stroked his first hit since joining the Giants and drove in a run with a first-inning groundout. Brett Pill delivered a fourth-inning homer.
The Giants largely attributed their offensive outburst to manager Bruce Bochy's pregame address, in which, by all accounts, he urged hitters to be more aggressive. Asked if Bochy incorporated "tough love" into his talk, Posey said, "A little bit," then refused to divulge further details.
Asked if the ballclub absorbed Bochy's message, Posey said, "I hope so. In my short time here, he's always been a good motivator. He does a good job of getting guys' minds in the right place."
Said Pagan, "We needed something like that. We felt like the energy level was a little bit down. We have to be honest."
San Francisco's output complemented another effective outing by Ryan Vogelsong (9-5). The right-hander worked six shutout innings before giving way in the seventh, when he yielded four runs and was pulled with one out. That increased Vogelsong's ERA from 2.22, which led the National League entering the game, to 2.38.
"It's a tough place to pitch, man," Vogelsong said, explaining that the mile-high altitude dulled his curveball. "The ball doesn't always do what you want it to. I was trying to keep them off the board as long as I can to give these guys a chance to relax and swing the bats a little bit. That was my goal going into tonight -- not have them try to play catchup."
The Rockies ended Vogelsong's stretch of 16 consecutive outings in which he's allowed three runs or fewer. But he has pitched at least six innings in all 20 of his starts this year. Most importantly from the Giants' perspective, they have won 13 of Vogelsong's last 16 appearances.
This was the sort of excellence the Giants once envisioned from Sanchez (0-3), who settled down after a 37-pitch first inning but worked only two more innings after that. Recently acquired by the Rockies after being jettisoned by the Royals, who swapped Cabrera for him, the left-hander is striving for consistency -- as was the case during most of his Giants tenure.
"There's nothing wrong," Sanchez said. "I just have to get out there and keep being aggressive and make quality pitches."