Giant power surge buries Dodgers

The Giants have scored 43 runs in seven games. Of those 43 runs, 22 have come off home runs.

Forget moving the line, the dinger has become the Giants’ specialty, though one doesn’t necessarily exist without the other. Three round-trippers led the Giants to a 9-6 comeback win to seal a series win over the Dodgers Sunday afternoon. The Giants took this exciting series 3-1, in every game of which the team that started out with the lead never finished with one.

This story has been updated with quotes and post-game material from the Giants clubhouse at AT&T Park.

All but two position players (Gregor Blanco and Kelby Tomlinson), oh, and Madison Bumgarner, have homered so far this season. Joe Panik won’t say this team is a power hitting team, though:

“We got a good lineup, we can beat you multiple ways. I’m not gonna say we’re a power hitting team, but we got some guys with some pop. Pitchers make mistakes and we’ll jump on it.”

Scott Kazmir made a big mistake to Buster Posey in the third, sending a junky changeup that Posey hit deep to left for a solo shot.

Brandon Belt, who entered the game with a career 1.33 slugging percentage against Kazmir, clobbered a two-run shot to deep center-right — an area that’s evaded him a bit this series — to tie the game at 5-5. It marked Belt’s third career home run off the lefty.

Angel Pagan topped it off with a solo shot of his own in following inning .

The three from Sunday pushed the Giants (5-2) into the MLB lead (14), the mile-high Colorado Rockies have 13. And Trevor Story has seven of those.

The Giants needed every one of those three homers on Sunday after falling to a fast 5-0 in the first inning. Bruce Bochy said of his offense:

“It’s a team that’s going to hit for more power. It doesn’t always mean home runs…Throughout the lineup we have guys that can drive the ball. We’re not going to rely on the long ball, but it certainly helps. Particularly when you’re down five runs, you need someone to pop one to get you back in the game.”

Johnny Cueto (W, 2-0, 4.50 ERA), in his AT&T Park debut, stumbled hard out of the gate. After pelting leadoff hitter Chase Utley in the leg, Cueto allowed five hits and five runs. He’d seen the entire order once before finally knocking out Utley to end the inning.

A groan projected from the crowd when they saw Cueto slip on his way to cover home after Justin Turner’s RBI single put the Dodgers (4-3) on the board. Cueto said his knee and back are fine. Bochy said they’ll keep checking on him.

Cueto had an evil twin pitching the first, clearly. The real Cueto came to play for six more innings, dishing eight strikeouts and giving up just one more run. Posey, his catcher, said Dave Righetti told Cueto to give his pitches more depth:

“I think he just started getting better depth in his pitches, his angle was better. First inning had a little bit of tough look too … I was impressed with his performance overall, to give us seven innings and help the bullpen out and give the offense a chance to get back in the game was big.”

Cueto said Hunter Pence and Angel Pagan gave him a bit of motivation heading out of that rough first:

“My teammates told me to keep the game at 5-0 and that they would take care of the rest. And that’s exactly what they did.”

But the Giants didn’t rely on the long ball to help their pitcher out, like Bochy mentioned, they just drove it.

They answered the Dodgers’ five runs in the first with a Belt bloop RBI single to score Buster Posey, who had singled. Matt Duffy drove a line drive by Chase Utley’s glove to send Hunter Pence, who had worked a walk, home. Pence evaded the tag home by inches to put the Giants second run on the board.

Angel Pagan started the sixth inning with a double off the right field wall and Denard Span sent him to third on a dribbler that snuck around reliever J.P. Howell.

Joe Panik, who was 0-for-3, paid it off with a base-clearing, screaming double to the left warning track. Pence finished it off with a sac fly to send Panik on home. Said Bochy of his team’s effort:

“I thought it was important that we answered back. Long ball got us back in the game and this offense has picked us up all series. Every team that had a lead ended up losing the game this series.”

He added:

“It’s a great message for these pitchers. Keep going, keep grinding and give us a chance to come back.”


Shayna Rubin is SFBay’s San Francisco Giants beat writer. Follow @SFBay and @ShaynaRubin on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of Giants baseball.