PHOENIX--Looking to reward a productive minor league prospect and jump-start a slumping big league club, the San Francisco Giants on Saturday called up second baseman Joe Panik, their first selection of the 2011 draft.
It was another former first-rounder who sent a jolt through the lineup, though, one who wasn't selected by the Giants.
Tyler Colvin got the big hit the Giants had been searching for during a six-game losing streak, a two-run single in the first inning that gave the Giants an early advantage they wouldn't give up in a 6-4 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Diamondbacks put the tying run on second in the ninth, but Sergio Romo got Paul Goldschmidt to line out to right field.
The Giants took a flyer on Colvin this spring, and it has paid huge dividends. The left fielder made it 3-0 in the first inning with a liner, and later added an RBI groundout after Brandon Crawford's triple. Pablo Sandoval had hits in his first three at-bats, including a second-inning single that drove in Buster Posey, who had doubled.
With the Giants leading 5-4, Hunter Pence added an insurance run in the sixth. Pence crushed a hanging changeup from Randall Delgado for his 11th homer of the season. The ball sailed up beyond the top of the foul pole before landing in the upper deck, a patio for a restaurant in left field. Pence was the first player to hit a ball into that section since Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton put one there August 21, 2012.
Vogelsong made it through only five innings, giving up four runs on four doubles, a single and three walks. He has given up 14 extra-base hits in his past three starts.
The Diamondbacks loaded the bases in the seventh, but Jean Machi got Aaron Hill to pop up to third to end the inning. The Giants then loaded the bases in the top of the eighth but also failed to score.
Panik made his big league debut in the eighth, drawing a walk. The plate appearance came about 23 hours after Panik got the phone call he has been waiting for his whole life. Assistant general manager Bobby Evans called the 23-year-old Panik and told him to hop a flight from New Orleans--where Triple-A Fresno was playing--to Phoenix. Panik immediately called his parents, Paul and Natalie, who live in New York.
"My mom gets on the speaker phone and asks, 'What's wrong?'" Panik said, smiling. "I told her this is the first good call you're getting at 3 a.m."
When Panik arrived, manager Bruce Bochy told him to just worry about getting settled in. Panik likely will start Sunday, Bochy said, and will get consistent playing time. He was hitting .321 for Fresno, and scouts and coaches reported to Bochy that Panik was playing excellent defense.
Panik jumps ahead of a trio of second basemen--Brandon Hicks, Ehire Adrianza and Joaquin Arias--who had combined for a .558 OPS coming into Saturday's game. The former St. John's University star called the call-up a dream come true.
"It's good to take a step back and say this is why you're here," he said. "It's time to go help this team."
Panik has always looked comfortable in the big league clubhouse during spring training, and he has spent the past three springs on the major league side. His development in the minors was sometimes slow, but this season he has picked up the pace and said it's been about "taking a consistent approach."
Panik's bag got held up during a connecting flight and he was still waiting for his bats and glove to arrive in Phoenix. Closer Sergio Romo gave him a pair of cleats, and Hicks loaned him a glove.
"It's like Christmas," Panik said.
--Michael Morse was removed in the fifth inning because of back tightness. The Giants already are without Angel Pagan because of the same ailment. Pagan missed his fifth straight game Saturday, but Bochy said he could be back in the lineup within a day or two.
--The Giants optioned outfielder Juan Perez back to Triple-A to clear a spot for Panik. Right-hander Jake Dunning was designated for assignment to open up a spot on the 40-man roster.
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