Baseball / Sports

The San Francisco Giants' Hunter Pence scores on a sacrifice fly by Michael Morse against the Cleveland Indians in the first inning at AT&T Park in San Francisco, Calif., on Friday, April 25, 2014. (Jim Gensheimer/Bay Area News Group/MCT)

Giants turn back Indians behind injured Pagan

SAN FRANCISCO -- Angel Pagan underwent an MRI on the Giants' day off and was diagnosed with a small tear in his right patella tendon and bruised kneecap, but the club doesn't consider the tweaks to be serious and manager Bruce Bochy insisted his leadoff hitter is fine.

On Friday night, Pagan certainly looked like his usual, dynamic self while sparking a 5-1 victory over the visiting Cleveland Indians. Pagan had two singles, two runs and a stolen base and was moving well in center field.

"It's only going to get better," Bochy said. "He looked good playing tonight, swinging the bat and running the bases. I think he's got a sense of comfort now, that he's fine."

Bochy held Pagan out of the starting lineup Wednesday after he went 0 for 5 a night before and looked limited while chasing fly balls. On the off day, Pagan came in for treatment and tests. Bochy said that more than anything, the day gave Pagan peace of mind after several uncomfortable games.

It was on defense that Pagan first showed his full form Friday. Two batters into the game, he chased down Nick Swisher's deep fly to the warning track in right-center field.

Pagan led off the bottom of the first with a single and raced home on Hunter Pence's triple. Pence scored on a Michael Morse sacrifice fly to give Tim Hudson a 2-0 lead. Pagan singled again leading off the third and promptly stole second. He scored on a single by Pence, who has nine hits in his last 16 at-bats.

"He's the table setter for us," Hudson said of Pagan, a former National League East foe. "When he seems to have a good game, those guys in the lineup click behind him. Those are the types of guys you need. Tonight, he definitely set the tone."

Hudson was no slouch himself, giving up four hits and one run in seven innings. He did see a record streak come to an end, however. Hudson had thrown a franchise-best 30 consecutive innings without a walk to start the season before Carlos Santana drew a free pass with two outs in the first.

Hudson cruised through the night, though, becoming the first Giants starter to go at least seven innings in his first five starts since Livan Hernandez in 2002. He's 3-1 with a 2.19 ERA in his first month in orange and black.

Morse, the other big offseason acquisition, chipped in as well. He hit a homer to deep right-center field in the fourth inning, a rarity for right-handed hitters at AT&T Park. Morse has six homers in 70 at-bats, surpassing the total (5) that nine Giants left fielders put up in 599 at-bats last season.

"For a guy to hit a ball where he hit it, a man has to do that," Bochy said, smiling. "I guess that's why he got nicknamed The Beast. There's not a ballpark that can hold him, including this one."

n Brandon Belt hit third for the second consecutive game and Pablo Sandoval was bumped down to sixth. Bochy said he's hoping to find a consistent mix in the heart of the order, and for now that will have Sandoval hitting behind Pagan, Pence, Belt, Buster Posey and Morse.

"With Pablo, I'm hoping to take a little pressure off him," Bochy said.

Sandoval, who is hitting .171, was 1 for 3 and looked relieved after legging out a triple in his final at-bat.

"I tried to get him to relax in the dugout," Bochy said. "He needs to play like he always has, like when he was young. That (triple) had to take a load off of him."

-- First baseman Travis Ishikawa, a member of the 2010 championship team, signed a minor league deal and will report to Triple-A Fresno. The Pittsburgh Pirates released the 30-year-old last week.

-- The first 40,000 fans received a bobblehead commemorating the lone homer of broadcaster Duane Kuiper's 12-season career. Morse said he caught himself watching a video honoring Kuiper late in the game. "To get a bobblehead and hit one home run is pretty cool," Morse said, shaking his head. "I mean, that's unheard of."

(c)2014 San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.)

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Distributed by MCT Information Services

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GIANTS


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