Morse picks up ring, takes on Giants

One more Tiffany Blue box had to be opened at AT&T Park. It belonged to Michael Morse, in San Francisco with the visiting Miami Marlins.

Fans crowded the visiting dugout before Thursday night’s game toting “Morse will always be Giant” signs hoping the generous new Marlin would autograph an old No. 38 jersey. They cheered for the NLCS Game 5 hero as he took batting practice and watched him pal around with Angel Pagan as he stretched.

Questions about Morse brought a smile to Hunter Pence’s face:

“Awesome to see him … great to see his joy.”

His old teammates got in some hugs and butt grabs as Morse accepted his 2014 World Series ring, with his old walk-up song, Take on Me, jamming in the background in a ring ceremony just for the lovable slugger.

That love kept going until his first at-bat, and inning after inning dissolved into a mere spattering of applause; Morse went 2-for-4 in the Marlins’ 7-2 win over the Giants.

Tim Hudson and Dan Haren, two right-handed veterans with similar pitching styles — both rely heavily on the groundout sinker — faced off. Haren took over, Hudson flopped.

Hudson acknowledged Haren’s dominance:

“He did a nice job keeping us off balance.”

Manager Bruce Bochy added:

“Haren was the one that killed us on the mound and with the bat.”

Haren’s two-run RBI double in the second got the hitting party started for the Marlins.

Huddy gave up a season-high 15 hits and six runs in 6-2/3 innings of work. The Marlins’ work against Hudson was not only a low point for the vet, but marked the first time a Giants pitcher has allowed 15 or more hits since Gaylord Perry  allowed 16 in 1968. Juan Marichal allowed 16 a few months before.

So Hudson is in good company, a very exclusive club. But not a club most pitchers want to be in, though:

“They were just swinging the bat … they got 15 hits off me. I just couldn’t finish guys off.”

Five of those hits came in the top of the second; Morse started the rally with a leadoff single. J.T. Realmuto, Dan Haren and Dee Gordon rallied to put Miami up 3-0.

A devilish fan who might revel in a perfect pitcher-hitter matchup was probably dying to see record breaking-contract man Giancarlo Stanton get a juicy homer off Hudson, who had give up five already this season.

Well that moment never happened. But the batter after Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, cracked a two-run shot deep into left field for Hudson’s sixth. That put the Marlins up 6-0. Bochy acknowledged he might have kept Hudson in a pitch too long; even Hudson said after the game he noticed his sinker rising as the innings wore on:

“If I could go back, I woulda pounded my sinker earlier.”

The Giants couldn’t get much going against Haren. They went 1-for-4 with RISP and could only score two in the sixth thanks to a sacrifice fly from Justin Maxwell to score Buster Posey, who got a leadoff single and moved to third on a Brandon Belt double, his fifth straight.

The second run came via a Matt Duffy double that skimmed the right field chalk and scored Belt.

The Giants continue this four-game series tomorrow at 7:15 p.m.

Notes

Speaking of former teams, Casey McGehee didn’t get the chance to face his. He is three-games deep into the ‘breather’ Bruce Bochy has him in. Duffy has been a solid replacement at the hot corner and at the plate. … Hunter Pence was taking some nice hacks in the cage today in batting practice, he is expected to start his rehab assignment tomorrow with the Sacramento River Cats, so get ready for that big return and roster shuffle. Pence said of his recover after the game: “My arm strength is not 100 percent. … I am excited to be able to start playing.” Bochy said there’s a Belt-inspired strategy behind his trip to Triple-A Sacramento: “Last thing we want to do is send him to Arizona with those young kids pitching…Sent Belt there and he got hit in the hand.” … The Giants have three catchers up right now, one (Susac, probably) is bound to return to the minors to make room for Pence.