San Francisco Giants 9, Colorado Rockies 6: Hunter Pence stars in Big Hit Hunting

San Francisco Giants’ Hunter Pence, second from right, celebrates after hitting a three-run home run off Colorado Rockies’ Rafael Betancourt in the eighth inning of a baseball game, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

BOX SCORE

Hunter Pence has been looking to contribute since joining the Giants late last month.

He got one Saturday with an RBI double. He got an even bigger one Sunday.

Pence hammered a three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth, sending the Giants to a 9-6 win over the Rockies.

“There’s definitely times that you’re down, but I understand that the next at-bat everything can change,” Pence said. “I try to think of it as ‘Let it go and go out there and try to do everything you can to win. Whether you’re getting hits or not, play defense, and you never know when you’re going to get another opportunity.’ “

The opportunity Sunday came in the eighth inning.

Trailing 6-4, the Giants loaded the bases with no one out. But Marco Scutaro’s fly to left was not deep enough to advance any of the runners.

The Giants made it 6-5 on an infield single by Melky Cabrera. Then Buster Pence made Rockies’ closer Rafael Betancourt work before lofting a 3-2 pitch to left field for a sacrifice to tie the game.

But with two on and two out, the Rockies were looking to get out of the inning tied 6-6. Then Pence smacked an 0-1 pitch over the left-field fence for a 9-6 lead.

It was the first home run by a Giants player other than Buster Posey at AT&T Park since June 29.

And that called for a curtain call, even if it was a bit forced.

“Melky pushed me out there,” Pence said. “I didn’t even realize … it was pretty exciting. Those things don’t happen very often and is just kid of humbling.”

It’s hard to call a game this early in August as a must-win. But these are games the Giants need to win. When you’re playing a team like the Rockies, those are series they need to win.

It’s especially true with the NL-leading Washington Nationals coming to town on Monday.

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