Hunter Pence, seen here Aug. 21, hit a monster home run on Tuesday against the Colorado Rockies. (Stan Olszewski/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Cueto deals, Pence provides the offense in Giants’ walk-off win

AT&T PARK — After Hunter Pence sent a 444-foot, 109-mph home run bouncing off the net that hangs over the center-field kale garden, the eternally-hustling right fielder was heading toward third when he found himself bearing down on Johnny Cueto.

Tuesday night’s starter, donning a black puffy jacket, looked back over his shoulder and offered a hand signal, beckoning Pence to slow down. Cueto, famous for his fun — and unscripted — moments on the diamond, was nearly walking by the time he finally crossed the plate.

“Well, obviously, I was very happy when he hit the home run,” Cueto said via translator Erwin Higueros. “And I just kept telling him, just go ahead and slow down and enjoy the home run because he’s always running really fast.”

In the 4-3 walkoff win, Cueto slowed down the Colorado Rockies throughout the evening, holding the guests to a pair of runs on seven hits and four walks in 6.2 innings, while striking out six.

“After the second inning where he was with the pitch count, I didn’t know if he would just get to the fifth inning, to be honest,” manager Bruce Bochy said.

“He started pitching more efficiently and what a great job getting us to where he did,” Bochy continued. “And it was a shame he didn’t get a win because [it was] just a gutty effort — what he did tonight.”

The only trouble came in the second when Charlie Blackmon delivered a two-run double to center field. A couple of innings later, Pablo Sandoval split the deficit in half, singling to left to bring in Buster Posey.

One inning after that, Pence’s blast gave the Giants a lead that the bullpen couldn’t maintain. In the eighth, Gerardo Parra lined a two-out double into the right-field corner to tie the score at 3-3.

Prior to Strickland’s letdown, the club’s relief crew hadn’t allowed a run since last Tuesday — a stretch that spanned 12.2 scoreless innings.

Pence was also at the plate for the decisive at bat in the ninth, drilling a line drive to center field, which ended up a game-winning sacrifice fly.

Big night for Panda

Including his ninth-inning infield single which sparked the winning rally, Sandoval delivered a three-hit night, his first such game since returning to the Giants last month.

On the podium, Bochy discussed the strong showing from Sandoval and fellow vet Pence:

Vintage Johnny

Cueto’s 6.2-inning effort was his longest since June 24 when he worked seven innings against the New York Mets. The outing was a rare second-half bright spot for Cueto, who, unsurprisingly, is aiming to end a frustrating season on a high note.

“Of course I would like to do that just for my teammates, for the staff and for myself to see what happens,” Cueto said.

Johnny’s ‘trot’

Bochy on Cueto’s jog: “As far as his trot, I thought he hit the homer.”

kbuscheck@sfexaminer.com

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