SAN FRANCISCO -- The raw numbers were impressive and ultimately historic. The Giants had an eight-run inning and scored in five other frames of a 15-2 win over the Phillies on Friday night, setting an AT&T Park record with 22 hits.
For the first time since 1965, three different Giants had four hits in a game, but that stat won't be the one that has Bruce Bochy sleeping well on Friday night. The hits record won't be the clincher, either. Bochy, Hensley Meulens and the rest of the staff can sleep easy knowing that a trio of important players finally broke through.
Brandon Belt was batting just .214 over his previous 24 games but he reached base four times and saw 29 pitches in five plate appearances. Angel Pagan, the slumping center fielder, had his first multiple-RBI game since Opening Day and finished with three hits and three runs. Justin Maxwell, the best hope at having a big bat on the bench, had four hits, including a triple and two doubles. Maxwell had totaled just four hits in his previous 40 at-bats.
"It's great that they broke out tonight," Bochy said. "We had some guys who had been struggling. I'm really happy for them. They had some good at-bats and success, and they needed it for their confidence."
It all started with Pagan, who was back in the leadoff spot and had one of three singles in the first inning. Pagan has been battling two sore knees and has been almost fully sapped of his power at the plate, but he had enough energy Friday to come out early for extra batting practice.
"I felt I needed to make some adjustments," he said. "I think everything is coming along."
Pagan scored after his first-inning single and he drove in two with his fourth-inning single. The biggest positive, though, was his eighth inning double to left-center. Pagan hasn't been driving the ball this season, and that was just his second extra-base hit in 25 games.
Belt has been driving the ball during his red-hot streaks, but he matches those with ugly cold spells, and he was in one last month. Tonight, however, he was making the Phillies pitchers work and then taking the ball the opposite way when he let it rip. That's Belt at his best, and he said he's seeing the ball much better.
"When I'm seeing the ball better, my mechanics fall into place," he said.
Belt benefited from an extra pair of eyes Friday, a famous pair. Barry Bonds has been around all week and he watched Belt in the cage Friday, helping him work on shortening his swing. Sometimes it helps just to get another voice -- which is why Meulens is receptive to others helping out -- and Belt said Bonds was a boost because he simply had "a different way of expressing things."
Belt was one of four Giants to reach base at least four times, including Maxwell, the No. 8 hitter who looked in danger of slumping his way right off this roster. All he did Friday was reach base five times, score three times and drive in two runs. Throw in a Hunter Pence grand slam, a career-high four hits by Matt Duffy and four more by Joe Panik (who reached 100 for the season) and you had an explosive night.
"It's fun to watch our guys play good baseball," said Madison Bumgarner, who had two hits of his own. "We say it all the time: We know what kind of team we have, we know what we can do and what we're capable of. There's not a lot of stress in the clubhouse."
That may be true for the players' room, but Bochy surely does stress out about putting together lineups that haven't been able to support the pitching staff in recent weeks. He has been looking for the right mix, and on Friday everything clicked. The Giants understand that this was just one game, but it was a much-needed boost for a lineup that was on fumes earlier in the week.
"It's been a struggle for us," Bochy said. "It was time for us to break out at some point."