SAN DIEGO -- Joe Panik and Matt Duffy have had fun with their "tortoise" home run race, but lately they haven't been competing -- they've been joining forces.
For most of a 5-1 road trip through Phoenix and San Diego, Buster Posey walked to the plate and looked up to see one of the young infielders, or both of them, on base. Panik reached in his first two at-bats Wednesday but wasn't brought in. When Duffy's two-out walk put two on in the seventh, Posey was able to take advantage.
The catcher's two-run double to right gave the Giants a lead they wouldn't relinquish in a 7-1 win over the Padres. Posey helped clinch a 5-1 road trip, and he had fun doing it. The life of a cleanup hitter is a lot easier when you have two rabbits getting on base repeatedly in front of you.
[RECAP: Giants 7, Padres 1]
"It's great for me having them in front," Posey said. "I definitely enjoy having them on base."
Posey has taken advantage, driving in 25 runs over his past 20 games. The top of the lineup should only get more dangerous in the days ahead. Nori Aoki is expected to return Friday, and he will hit leadoff ahead of Panik, Duffy and Posey. That should lead to plenty more production, and more days like this one for Matt Cain. The right-handed has been given so little run support over the years that fans joke about pitchers getting "Cained."
Wednesday was different. Cain gave up one run over six innings, left with the score tied -- and got a win when the Giants scored six straight runs.
"It's been really good," he said. "The big thing is going out and getting deep into games and letting those guys score like they've been doing."
These days, "those guys" are deeper than ever. Brandon Crawford hit his 14th homer Wednesday and Brandon Belt his 10th. The Giants also got an RBI single from Hunter Pence, and manager Bruce Bochy said it's no coincidence that the Giants have found their form since Pence skipped a rehab assignment and returned to the No. 5 spot.
"It's going to put guys where you want them in the lineup," Bochy said. "We're a different club with Pence."