"We just need to keep putting our foot on the pedal," said right-hander Tim Lincecum, referring to first-place San Francisco's bid to stay ahead of the Dodgers in the National League West race.
That's not the most original sentiment, if the Giants indeed have adopted it. But their three-game sweep of Colorado, the first they've recorded on the road this season, indeed reflected the effort of a team that intends to go full throttle.
Batting .182 (2-for-11) in four games since Tuesday's trade that brought him to the Giants, Pence doubled his San Francisco hit total by stroking RBI doubles in the fifth and seventh innings. Those hits helped the Giants pull away after they assumed a 2-1 first-inning lead, which Pence helped provide with a run-scoring groundout.
Pence, San Francisco's No. 5 hitter, felt pleased to capitalize on the industriousness of the teammates batting ahead of him. In the series, Angel Pagan scored seven runs at the leadoff spot, Ryan Theriot notched five, Melky Cabrera amassed eight -- hiking his NL-high total to 77 -- and Buster Posey contributed three.
Moreover, consider the possibilities when Pablo Sandoval returns from the disabled list in about a week.
"I tell you what, it's really been ridiculous," Pence said. "The at-bats I've had, baserunners are everywhere. It's been incredible to see them in action and I'm looking forward to more of it."
Shaking off the lethargy of a 3-7 homestand in which they scored 29 runs and hit .220 overall, the Giants jumped on Colorado for 35 runs and 45 hits in the three games.
"They showed a lot of character, the way they bounced back here," manager Bruce Bochy said.
Granted, Coors Field tends to inflate offensive numbers, and the Rockies played without injured stars Troy Tulowitzki and Michael Cuddyer. Colorado finished 1-8 on its homestand, a franchise worst for a three-opponent set. But that didn't matter to the Giants, who proved that they were capable of thriving offensively against somebody. They hit .360 for the series, including .385 (20-for-52) with runners in scoring position, though they cooled off in the latter category Sunday (4-for-17).
"That's the way it has to be," Bochy said. "We can't just rely on pitching all the time. We have to find a way to put runs on the board."
The Giants also displayed the pedal-to-the-metal approach defensively. Cabrera recorded his seventh assist of the season in the fourth inning when he fired a one-hop throw home from left field to apprehend Wilin Rosario and complete a double play. Immediately afterward, Lincecum delivered a grateful slap on the butt to catcher Hector Sanchez, who blocked the plate and held onto the ball despite Rosario's hard feet-first slide.
"I was definitely pumped up," Lincecum said. "That double play was really big for the whole game."
Lincecum (6-11) personally won a second straight start for the first time since April 23 and 28. He yielded one run and five hits in six innings and survived five walks, two of which came in a 36-pitch first inning that filled Bochy with doubt.
"I'll be honest -- that's a big first inning," said Bochy, who had Shane Loux warming up in case Lincecum imploded. "I didn't know how much we were going to get out of him. He saved us by regrouping. That was impressive."
Lincecum adjusted mentally and mechanically. He said he persevered by leaning on his "competitive side," besides realizing early that the mile-high altitude had transformed his changeup into what he called a "slow cutter." Said Lincecum, who improved to 3-1 with a 2.48 ERA in five outings since the All-Star break, "I pretty much just went back to all sliders and fastballs the whole game, with a couple of curveballs."
Colorado manager Jim Tracy lamented that his club could not seize upon Lincecum's vulnerability.
"I personally feel that we were one swing away from having him out of the game in the first inning," Tracy said. "There were opportunities for us offensively, there were baserunners out there. But the big hit that would have changed their entire day from a pitching standpoint, and could have changed our entire day, we weren't able to get that."
San Francisco's acceleration continued as Sergio Romo inherited a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the seventh and struck out Matt McBride and Rosario. Romo added a perfect eighth, rendering Colorado's mild ninth-inning uprising futile.
It was a redemptive outing for Romo, who allowed six runs spanning 2 2/3 innings in his previous four appearances.
"I was just being aggressive," he said. "The team needs me to be good."