SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Michael Morse showed he has some power left in his 35-year-old swing, something he’d been telling Giants general manager Bobby Evans ever since signing a minor league contract last offseason.
The veteran bopper still has a flair for the dramatic, too.
Morse delivered a tying, pinch-hit homer in the eighth inning, Hunter Pence hit a game-winning sacrifice fly with the bases loaded in the 10th and the Giants rallied to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-3 on Wednesday night.
“That was quite an energy jolt right there,” Pence said of Morse’s home run. “It’s one of those special moments that can change a season. It was one of the coolest moments of the season by far.”
Los Angeles led 3-0 before Christian Arroyo’s two-run homer off former Giants reliever Sergio Romo in the seventh. Morse, just called up from the minors, tied it with his one-out drive off Pedro Baez in the eighth.
It was the first major league at-bat this season for Morse, who hit a clutch home run for San Francisco against St. Louis in Game 5 of the 2014 NL Championship Series.
“That was pretty awesome. Just what this team needed,” Morse said. “One of the things I told Bobby is I’m going to give it everything I’ve got and try to help turn this ship around as much as I can.”
The Giants (8-14), who avoided matching their worst start in San Francisco after 22 games, didn’t get their first hit until the sixth inning and trailed 3-0 in the seventh before rallying to stun their division rivals.
Gorkys Hernandez singled off reliever Ross Stripling (0-2) to open the 10th. After Hernandez stole second, Conor Gillaspie walked. Pinch-hitter Nick Hundley sacrificed, and Hernandez beat first baseman Adrian Gonzalez’s throw to third, loading the bases for Pence.
The Giants’ leadoff batter, hitless in four at-bats on the night, got into a 10-pitch battle with Stripling before lofting a fly ball to medium left field. Hernandez slid home easily ahead of the throw from Cody Bellinger.
“Obviously, (Pence) was in swing mode,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “I don’t like to second-guess sequencing. Strip was going outside of the zone to pitch to him. He saw a lot of fastballs in a row. He found a way to push it to the outfield.”
Derek Law (2-0) retired three batters for the win.
Corey Seager homered, Justin Turner extended his career-high hitting streak to 12 games and Chase Utley added an RBI single for the Dodgers.
Pence’s game-ending plate appearance had several Giants players and coaches chuckling in the dugout as he repeatedly fouled off pitches that were well outside the strike zone. After falling behind 1-2, Pence fouled off four pitches and worked the count full. “Some of those pitches were so high and he was making contact with them,” San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. “He had that thou-shalt-not-walk motto in that AB because he was hacking.”
Dodgers: Left-hander Rich Hill (blister) threw 30 pitches to hitters and his next outing could be a minor league rehab start. Roberts indicated that Hill is scheduled to pitch again Saturday, but the Dodgers have not determined if it will be under controlled conditions or in a game.
Giants: Center fielder and leadoff hitter Denard Span had a setback in his recovery from a shoulder injury and was placed on the 10-day disabled list. Span appeared to get hurt when he crashed into the outfield wall at Coors Field on Saturday. … SS Brandon Crawford was put on the three-day bereavement list. Crawford is also nursing a groin injury but did not undergo an MRI as initially planned. Morse and infielder Kelby Tomlinson were called up from Triple-A Sacramento. Additionally, outfielder Jarrett Parker (fractured right clavicle) was transferred to the 60-day disabled list.
Dodgers left-hander Julio Urias returns to the majors Thursday in the finale of the four-game series. The 20-year-old Urias, who went 5-2 with a 3.39 ERA in 18 games last year, had been pitching in the minors as part of management’s plan to ease him into the rotation this year. Matt Moore (1-3) goes for the Giants.