SAN FRANCISCO -- It must be such a nice feeling when you receive an invitation to stay somewhere that already feels like home.
Hunter Pence, who agreed to the framework of a contract that will pay him $90 million over five years, soaked up the applause when he took the field Saturday afternoon. Then he inspired more by hitting his 27th home run of the season.
[NEWS: Giants, Pence agree to five-year contract]
It was his 11th home run this month -- the most by a Giant in September since Barry Bonds assaulted the single-season record by hitting a dozen in 2001.
Funny enough, Bonds signed a five-year, $90 million contract after that season.
Pence’s two-run shot wasn’t enough to prevent a 9-3 loss to the San Diego Padres, though. The Giants slipped into third place in the NL West and will need a victory in Sunday’s season finale to draw even with the Padres again.
Starting pitching report
The Giants won’t dismiss Yusmeiro Petit based on one rough outing. He’ll come to camp next spring with an excellent shot to win a job as a long reliever, at least.
But he couldn’t have felt too peachy about ending his season by allowing hits to the last six batters he faced.
Chris Denorfia led off the game with a home run and Petit (4-1) responded by retiring the next 11 hitters he faced. But Chase Headley’s two-out double in a four-run fourth inning started a hit parade that Petit couldn’t reroute.
You have to think Tommy Medica’s 14-pitch at-bat -- the longest against a Giants pitcher all season -- had something to do with that. Medica fouled off nine pitches before winning the battle with a single. A let-up was only natural, and Jesus Guzman took advantage of a 2-1 fastball over the plate for a two-run home run.
The Padres turned a one-run deficit into a one-run lead, and they kept adding to it. Alexi Amarista and Chris Robinson singled, and when pitcher Eric Stults followed with another RBI hit, Petit’s afternoon was over.
It was the first time the Giants lost in Petit’s seven starts this season.
Petit's ERA climbed from 2.84 to 3.56, but it was an inch away from being 3.94. But Denorfia’s drive to right field bounced just outside the chalk line before George Kontos struck him out, stranding both of Petit’s runners.
Heath Hembree bounced back one day after giving up hits to both batters he faced. He has a 0.00 ERA in eight appearances with four hits allowed and 11 strikeouts.
Mike Kickham did not leave a good final impression in the ninth, as the Padres batted around while scoring four runs. Kickham forgot about Denorfia, who stole third base, and served up a home run to Jedd Gyorko.
At the plate
Pablo Sandoval hit an RBI double in the first inning and Pence went deep in the third, giving him 96 RBI with one game to play.
And you can bet he’ll play.
Juan Perez did it again. He threw out a runner at the plate in the fifth inning to chalk up his eighth outfield assist in just 206 defensive innings this season. To put that in perspective: At that moment, the rest of the Giants outfielders had combined for 17 assists in 4,092 defensive innings.
Reliever Jake Dunning showed off his reaction skills as well, making a barehand snag of a chopper up the middle. Dunning was a former shortstop at Indiana, which is safer than being the Hoosiers’ quarterback these days.
The Giants announced 41,201 paid on Yoga Day. Last season, it was all sun salutations. This year, the Giants are downward dogs.
The Giants conclude the 2013 season on Sunday against the San Diego Padres, hoping to grab a share of third place in the NL West. Guillermo Moscoso (2-2, 4.21 ERA) takes the mound against right-hander Tyson Ross (3-8, 3.10). Expect Barry Zito to make a relief appearance as well. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. PDT.