SAN FRANCISCO -- Mike Leake is new around here, but that doesn't mean he's left out of the clubhouse trash-talk. Leake isn't used to being the second-best hitter on a starting staff, but that's the case for any pitcher who is a teammate of Madison Bumgarner. On top of that, Leake had to sit and watch 40-year-old Tim Hudson and 38-year-old Ryan Vogelsong homer in the last couple of weeks.
"I'd been getting a little too much (crap), so I needed to do something," Leake said, smiling.
He hit a three-run homer Sunday, his second of the season and sixth in the big leagues. The Giants never looked back after the no-doubter, winning 10-3 to finish off a sweep of the Padres and get Leake his first win in orange and black.
Without Hunter Pence, Brandon Crawford, Joe Panik, Gregor Blanco and Nori Aoki, this offense needs a boost, and the starters have been surprising contributors. Leake became the fourth Giants pitcher to homer this season, joining Bumgarner, Hudson and Vogelsong. This is the first time since 1986 (Blue, Garrelts, Carlton and LaCoss) that the Giants have gotten homers from four different pitchers. They're the first team since the 2006 Chicago Cubs to get eight homers from pitchers.
"I was just looking to get a mistake, and luckily I did," Leake said. "I look at myself as part of the nine hitters, and I'll help whoever is pitching. That happened to be me. I look at myself as an offensive threat."
Leake's athleticism is part of the reason the Giants have sought him for years, and they believe he'll be a great fit in this ballpark -- in front of this defense -- hopefully for years to come. His durability is a big plus, too, and on Sunday Leake had thrown just 83 pitches when Bruce Bochy went to the bullpen in the seventh. Leake has pitched at least six innings in five of his six Giants starts, and in three of those starts he's done it in fewer than 85 pitches. With a full bullpen, Bochy doesn't need Leake to be that economical, but it would be a boost over a full season, especially on this staff full of grinders.
"He pounds the zone and he's so durable," Bochy said. "That's just a great job of regrouping, and he pitched very efficiently, too."
--- Next spring, the Giants should film one of those DirecTV commercials for Angel Pagan. Healthy Angel and banged-up Angel are about as different as Peyton Manning and High Voice Peyton Manning.
He's been a different guy since he got back from the DL, and it showed today. He reached base three times, scored three runs and stole a career-high three bases off of #GumGate foe Derek Norris. Pagan had just six stolen bases coming into the game and he had not stolen more than one in a game in well over a year.
"Great game for Angel," Bochy said. "He's a different player when he's healthy. It's tough when you're a guy that uses your legs (a lot), and not just with range in the outfield or on stolen bases, but at the plate, too."
Pagan certainly looks more comfortable, and he's not having those whipping swing-and-miss at-bats we saw so much over the summer, or hitting pop-ups.
He also seems to be having fun again. When he crossed home for the third time, he blew a bubble right as he touched the plate. I wonder if Norris noticed ...
--- It wasn't the best day at the office for Brandon Belt, and he showed a lot of frustration when a borderline call went against him on a 3-2 count with the bases loaded. He has become a little Joey Votto-ish in that respect; despite the strikeouts, Belt has had a pretty good command of the edges of the strike zone this season. Like Votto, he's right on those calls more often than not. He struck out again in the eighth and then snapped his bat against the dirt, leaving it in two pieces.
Three years ago, a finish like that might have left Belt in a funk. He's a much different guy these days, moving on quickly from at-bat to at-bat, and he was able to laugh about the moment.
"I felt pretty strong," he said.
Next stop: Breaking a bat over his knee.
--- We're going to start spreading our coverage on Facebook, too. Here's the link. I promise I won't "poke" you. (Is that still a thing?)
--- Closing time fact: The closer, Santiago Casilla, was called on in the ninth inning of a seven-run game. Casilla needs to finish (not save) nine more games to guarantee a $6.5 million option for next season, and you can bet Bochy wants him back. Javier Lopez pitched in a blowout for the second time in three days, and he's at 67 appearances. Lopez has appearance-based bonuses in his contract, and it wouldn't be a surprise if the staff is trying to reward a guy whose been a part of three championships here.