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Pence goes deep, Bumgarner puts in quality start, Giants beat Cubs

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It may be a little late, but Hunter Pence and the San Francisco Giants have been playing solid baseball in August. (Stan Olszewski/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Hunter Pence played 42 home games this season before launching a home run.

After Wednesday, the San Francisco Giants right fielder has hit two in his last four starts.

His eighth-inning, opposite-field shot gave the home team an insurance run in its 3-1 win over the Chicago Cubs in the series finale from AT&T Park.

It also allowed starter Madison Bumgarner to breathe a little easier from the bench after submitting a quality start over seven innings.

Bumgarner’s win wasn’t secure for most of the game.

In the third, the Giants ace center-cut a 90-mph fastball to Albert Almora Jr., who launched a home run to tie the game, 1-1.

But Bumgarner settled in after that miss. He allowed just three more baserunners (one of which coming on an error by rookie Ryder Jones) over the remainder of his outing.

“Sure, [Bumgarner] made some mistakes there in the early go that left the ball park, but his stuff is the same, his command, everything is just right there,” manager Bruce Bochy told reporters. “… He hasn’t changed a bit.”

What has changed recently, from last year at least, is the reliability of the Giants’ bullpen.

Hunter Strickland worked around allowing a leadoff single to ensure a scoreless eighth inning for the Cubs. Sam Dyson followed with a perfect ninth inning, securing his eighth save of the season.

The win brings the Giants’ August record to 6-3. It took them until June 26 to log as many victories in that month.

It’s unfortunate timing to stage a mini turnaround, for sure, but Bochy has been impressed with the amount of fight he’s seen from his last-place club.

“It’s good to get some wins,” he said. “… It’s a great feeling and makes for a great flight to Washington.”


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