Baseball / Sports

Giants' Morse gets his groove back

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants have been waiting for somebody -- anybody -- to get hot and help them break out of their two-month slump at home.

Enter Michael Morse, who had been stuck in a power outage during the same stretch in which the Giants suddenly lost their once potent home-field advantage. That finally turned around over the weekend, and the Giants' postseason hopes could get a significant boost if Morse continues his hot-hitting ways.

"I think he's just gotten his timing back," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "His confidence, his swagger, all those things."

The Giants are back on the road beginning Tuesday for a six-game trip that starts with three against the Chicago Cubs. They've been better on the road this season than at home but are aware they need to start winning at AT&T Park to have any hopes of success into October. A 3-2 record on the recently completed home stand represented a small step in the right direction.

"We've been grinding it out here," Tim Lincecum said after snapping a five-start winless streak Sunday. "We're in the dog days now, so we're looking to turn it around and use this as a positive lift."

Morse's resurgence might have started with an out, of all things. In his first at-bat Friday against Philadelphia Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels, Morse crushed a ball more than 400 feet to right-center field. Marlon Byrd tracked it down for an out as Morse threw his hands up in disgust.

The Giants left fielder hasn't been retired since.

He finished the weekend having reached base in nine straight plate appearances -- the first Giant to do so since Bengie Molina in 2010. Seven of those are hits, including four for extra bases.

Entering the weekend, Morse had only one homer and five doubles in his previous 31 games. Then he homered Friday night and had a triple and two doubles Saturday. He singled three times Sunday for his second straight three-hit game. His torrid weekend boosted his batting average at home from .294 to .317.

What's working well for Morse right now?

"I don't know, I'm getting hits," Morse said. "I'm just trying not to do too much and trying to get my pitch to hit. I'm just trying to put it in play."

Bochy said Morse's success has helped loosen him up at the plate.

"Like everybody, you get in a funk and you might start pressing or thinking too much," Bochy said. "He looks free and easy up there, and he's swinging the bat the way he can. Hopefully this continues because he has really done a great job of lifting this club and getting some big hits for us."

Morse is on pace to set career highs in games played and at-bats. He already has played in the second-most games of his career at 118. If it seemed as if the grind of the long season had been weighing on him, he's successfully fought that off.

Morse said the team has tried not to focus too much on its home struggles, which included an 8-23 stretch before taking the last two games of the three-game series against the Phillies for the Giants' first consecutive home wins since June 7-8. That also represented their first home series victory in a month.

"You get caught up with everything that's going on," Morse said, "but I think the mentality we have right now is get on base, try to score as many runs as possible and try to win the game and try to win the series."

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

Visit the San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.) at www.mercurynews.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services


Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus

Related Books from BookDaily

BookDaily.com -  Book Samples for Book Lovers