LOS ANGELES -- A year after delivering one of the most famous speeches in baseball history, Hunter Pence is putting forth a contract drive for the ages. The right fielder drove in seven runs Saturday night, and Brandon Belt added six RBIs on five hits, leading the way as the Giants hammered the rival Los Angeles Dodgers, 19-3. The 19 runs set a Dodger Stadium record.
Pence has impressed all season long with his durability and energy, and in the season's final weeks he's dipped into the reserves to go on a tear at the perfect time. A free agent at the end of the season, Pence has four homers and 16 RBIs in his last five games. After three hits Saturday, including a grand slam, Pence has a .348 average in the season's second half.
Pence's career night helped the Giants improve to 8-7 against the Dodgers this season. The first seven Giants reached base in a three-run first inning, with runs coming in on Belt's single, Pence's single and a bases-loaded walk of Brandon Crawford.
The Giants batted around in the first against Dodgers midseason acquisition Ricky Nolasco and sent eight more to the plate in the second, with Pence driving in two runs with a single and Pablo Sandoval bringing home two more with a double.
Nolasco had given up just 16 runs in his first nine career starts against the Giants, but he was pulled with one out in the second inning and the Dodgers trailing 7-1.
After a couple of quiet innings, the Giants lineup exploded again in the fifth. Tim Lincecum led off with his second single of the night, and the Giants loaded the bases ahead of Pence. He hit the first Giants grand slam of the season, a screaming line drive that kept carrying until it had cleared the center field fence.
Pence has homered in three straight games and now ranks eighth in the National League in homers (23) and RBIs (89). He became just the sixth player to amass at least seven RBIs at Dodger Stadium; the only other Giant to do it was Barry Bonds in 1993.
Pence has started every game this season and played all but 13 innings heading into Saturday's game. He has said several times that he would like to start all 162 games, and Giants manager Bruce Bochy intends to let Pence go for the milestone.
Pence got a breather in the late innings Saturday, when Bochy pulled him after a double-play groundout in the seventh inning.
Even as Bochy emptied his crowded bench, the lineup kept the pressure on. Belt's fourth hit of the night was a two-run homer, and his fifth was a two-run double that gave the Giants a 14-run lead.
Belt set career-highs with five hits and six RBIs. Pence and Belt became the first Giants teammates to each drive in six runs since Will Clark and Rick Parker in 1990. During the late-inning rallies, rookies Johnny Monell and Ehire Adrianza picked up their first big league hits.
The Giants finished with 22 hits and scored in seven of the nine innings. In six of the innings, they picked up multiple runs.
The hitters weren't the only ones to have a nice night. Lincecum gave up three runs over six innings to earn his 10th win of the season and has now reached double-digit wins in each of his six full seasons with the Giants. He cruised through the first four innings before giving up two runs in the fifth.
Lincecum struck out six and has 1,498 for his career.
(c)2013 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