San Francisco Giants outfielder Hunter Pence has been named National League Player of the Week for the period ending September 15th. The announcement was made earlier today on MLB Network.
In seven games, Pence led the Majors with six home runs, 19 RBI, a 1.103 slugging percentage and 32 total bases. The right-handed-hitting slugger was tied for the Major League lead in hits (13) and ranked second among N.L. hitters with eight runs scored. Pence posted a .448 (13-for-29) batting average, the N.L.'s fourth-best mark, along with a .469 on-base percentage, which ranked eighth.
On Tuesday, Pence went 4-for-5 and tied a career-high with six RBI in a 9-8 loss to the Colorado Rockies. The six RBI were the most by a Giant at AT&T Park since Jose Guillen drove in six on September 19, 2010 vs. Milwaukee. The Fort Worth, Texas native hit a three-run shot in the first inning for his 20th home run of the season, becoming the seventh Giant to hit 20 home runs and steal 20 bases in a season, and the first since Barry Bonds in 1998 (also: Bobby Bonds, Willie Mays, Jeffrey Leonard, Glenallen Hill and Orlando Cepeda). On Wednesday, Pence helped the Giants edge the Rockies in the rubber match of their three-game set. His sacrifice fly in the seventh inning cut the Rockies' lead to 3-2, setting the deck for an eighth inning rally and an eventual 4-3 victory. With the win, the Giants also took the season series with their N.L. West rivals, improving to 10-9 against Colorado. The two-time N.L. All-Star clubbed a solo shot off Los Angeles Dodgers starter Zack Greinke in an eventual 3-2 loss in Thursday's series opener at Dodger Stadium. In Friday's matchup, Pence went 2-for-4 with a solo homer in the eighth, giving the Giants a 4-2 lead that they would not relinquish. On Saturday, the six-year veteran went 3-for-5 with his fourth career grand slam, setting a new career high with seven RBI as the Giants routed the first place Dodgers, 19-3. According to Elias, Pence became just the third Giants batter since 1958 to drive in seven runs within the first 5.0 innings of a game, joining Jeff Kent (July 24, 1998 vs. Cincinnati) and Jim Ray Hart (July 8, 1970 at Atlanta). Pence, along with Giants first baseman Brandon Belt, who had a six-RBI performance on the day, became the fourth pair of Giants hitters since 1920 (when the RBI became an official statistic) to drive in at least six runs each in the same game, joining Jimmy O'Connell and Ross Youngs (June 1, 1923 at Philadelphia), Phil Weintraub and Ernie Lombardi (April 30, 1944 vs. Brooklyn), and Will Clark and Rick Parker (June 8, 1990 at Atlanta). Pence continued his torrid hitting in Sunday's finale, going 2-for-3 with a pair of home runs and three RBI in a 4-3 victory. The multi-homer effort was Pence's fourth straight game with a home run and improved his RBI streak to six games. It marked his 53rd multi-hit game this season, which currently ranks third in the N.L. This is his third career weekly honor, having won previously May 14-20, 2007 and August 30-September 5, 2010, both while a member of the Houston Astros.
Other noteworthy performances last week included Pence's Giants teammates Brandon Belt (.526, 4 R, 10 H, 9 RBI, .483 OBP) and Gregor Blanco (.526, 4 R, 10 H, .591 OBP); Atlanta's Freddie Freeman (.500, 7 R, 13 H, 2 HR, .808 SLG, .567 OBP); Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt (.480, 4 R, 12 H, HR, 7 RBI, .760 SLG); Washington's Wilson Ramos (.333, 5 R, 10 H, 4 HR, 13 RBI, .733 SLG), Jayson Werth (.308, 6 R, 2 HR, 7 RBI, .654 SLG) and Ryan Zimmerman (.367, 10 R, 11 H, 4 HR, 5 RBI, .833 SLG); Pittsburgh's Gerrit Cole (2-0, 0.64 ERA, 16 SO, 14.0 IP); and Atlanta's Kris Medlen (2-0, 1.32 ERA, 11 SO, 13.2 ERA).
In recognition of his National League Player of the Week Award, Hunter Pence will be awarded a watch courtesy of Game Time, the leader in licensed sports watches, available at MLB.com.