Giving the ball to Matt Cain at home could also provide a boost.
Pence might be in the Giants lineup for the first time Wednesday night when Cain attempts to continue his home success against the New York Mets .
San Francisco (56-47) leads the West by one game over Los Angeles, with third-place Arizona lurking 3 1/2 back.
Trying to gain some separation, the Giants acquired Pence from Philadelphia in exchange for Nate Schierholtz and two minor leaguers prior to Tuesday's non-waiver trade deadline. Pence is batting .271 with 17 homers and 59 RBIs this season, and provides some much-needed power for a Giants team that ranks last in the majors with 62 homers.
"He gives us another bat in the heart of the order and something we need. It's always great to have a chance and bring somebody like Hunter Pence 's caliber in," manager Bruce Bochy said. "I got a chance to spend some time around him at the All-Star game last year. Great guy. Fun to watch. Fans are going to love him. He's around all the time.
"He loves the game and it shows."
Pence, who has a .329 average and five homers in 20 games at AT&T Park, will help replace the injured Pablo Sandoval (hamstring) in the lineup and presumably bat fifth behind fellow outfielder Melky Cabrera and catcher Buster Posey .
Cain (10-3, 2.80 ERA) won't mind having another strong offensive presence in the lineup. He has a 2.11 ERA in his last 13 home starts dating back to last season, and he might be better than 6-2 in that stretch if not for some spotty run support.
The Giants scored only one run while he was in the game Friday, when the right-hander allowed three runs in seven innings of a 5-3, 10-inning loss to the Dodgers.
Cain has won each of his last three home starts against the Mets behind a 0.95 ERA.
The Giants have won seven of 10 at home versus New York after Tuesday's 4-1 victory. That snapped an overall losing streak that had reached a season-high five games when they dropped the opener of this four-game set 8-7 in 10 innings a day prior.
The Mets have lost 15 of 19, including each of Jonathon Niese 's last four starts. Niese (7-5, 3.86) is 0-2 with a 5.67 ERA in that stretch after going 5-1 with a 2.17 ERA in his previous eight outings.
The left-hander takes the mound after struggling greatly Friday, matching his career high by surrendering eight runs in six innings of an 11-5 loss at Arizona. He also committed a throwing error that scored two of the six runs in the second.
"One of the reasons I left him in is I wanted him to work a little bit," manager Terry Collins said. "I wanted to see if he could get himself into a little bit of a feel, a rhythm, get his release point back and get into sync so he could leave feeling better about himself than he did after the second inning."
Niese is 0-1 with a 2.77 ERA in two starts against San Francisco. He allowed three runs and seven hits in six innings of a 4-3, 10-inning home loss to the Giants on April 20.
|New York Mets|
|July 31, 2012||Andres Torres||Day-to-Day||Strained right thumb|
|July 31, 2012||Jason Bay||Day-to-Day||Bruised left calf|
|July 21, 2012||Johan Santana||15-Day DL||Sprained right ankle|
|July 11, 2012||Dillon Gee||Day-to-Day||Bloot clot in right shoulder|
|July 08, 2012||Dillon Gee||15-Day DL||Blood clot in right shoulder|
|July 03, 2012||Kirk Nieuwenhuis||Day-to-Day||Bruised right hand|
|San Francisco Giants|
|July 31, 2012||Aubrey Huff||15-Day DL||Strained right knee|
|July 25, 2012||Pablo Sandoval||15-Day DL||Strained left hamstring|
|July 18, 2012||Hector Sanchez||15-Day DL||Left knee sprain|
|July 17, 2012||Hector Sanchez||Day-to-Day||Left knee sprain|
|June 26, 2012||Shane Loux||15-Day DL||Strained neck|
|June 11, 2012||Aubrey Huff||15-Day DL||Sprained right knee|
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- New York Mets manager Terry Collins sought out Ruben Tejada during batting practice to make sure the shortstop had moved on from an error that led to a loss the night before and that he was ready to face the Giants ace.
Tejada answered the call and then some.
The leadoff hitter homered for the first time in almost two years to go with two singles and a walk, and Jonathon Niese scattered three hits over seven innings to lead the Mets past the San Francisco Giants 2-1 on Wednesday night.
"I said, `Look, I need you tonight. Step up tonight,"' Collins said, recalling the conversation after the game. "He said, `I'll try.' I gave him the old, `I can get a truck driver to try.' He just came into my office and asked me if I could drive a truck. I said, `You can drive my truck any day."'
Only fitting Tejada's drought ended in such an odd Mets victory.
All San Francisco could squeeze out of Niese (8-5) was a two-out homer by Buster Posey in the sixth, the All-Star catcher's 14th long ball this season. Niese struck out five and walked two to outlast ace Matt Cain (10-4) and spoil Hunter Pence 's debut in San Francisco.
The new Giants right fielder finished 0 for 4 with two strikeouts.
"There was a ton of excitement," said Pence, traded from Philadelphia for Nate Schierholtz and two minor leaguers Tuesday. "The fans were great out here. That's pretty cool. They were loud and rowdy. We had a pretty crazy game. Unfortunately I didn't really get do anything."
Cain gave up seven hits and three walks and never looked in rhythm. He struck out five in five innings to match his shortest start of the season.
Bobby Parnell pitched a perfect ninth for his fourth save and New York's third win in the last four games. The NL West-leading Giants have lost six of seven.
Any momentum San Francisco had from trading for Pence faded fast.
Tejada, whose two-run throwing error led to New York's 4-1 loss against the Giants on Monday night, sent the second pitch of the game from Cain into the glove of a fan standing just beyond the wall in left for his second career home run. Tejada had gone 629 at-bats since his last long ball in September 2010.
"After like two years, it's great," Tejada said. "I was waiting for the fastball. It was a great position for that pitch. I wasn't thinking homer. I was just trying to make good contact."
The Mets made contact constantly no matter who was at the plate.
They loaded the bases in each of the final three innings and came away scoreless, went 1 for 13 with runners in scoring position and left 13 runners on base.
Josh Thole scored on Jordany Valdespin 's bases-loaded groundout to third base to give the Mets a 2-0 lead in the second. Cain struck out David Wright , who had three hits, to limit the damage.
Asked how many runs his team should've scored, Collins said, "About nine. We'll take two."
The 138th consecutive sellout crowd at AT&T Park - announced at 42,188 - gave Pence a long and loud standing ovation when his name was announced with two on and two outs in the bottom of the first. All the hoopla halted when he fouled out near first base.
Pence also struck out but reached first on a wild pitch in the fourth. He grounded out to short to end the sixth and struck out looking for the second out of the ninth.
The only thing that kept San Francisco close was its defense.
Posey threw out Ike Davis going for second after Mike Baxter struck out to end the third, and the catcher tossed a perfect ball to second to catch Daniel Murphy stealing for the final out of the fifth.
Gregor Blanco also made a diving catch in the web of his glove in left-center on a slicing fly by Valdespin to end the fourth. Cain pumped his fist and several Giants waited to high-five Blanco outside the dugout after a play eerily reminiscent - and perhaps equally spectacular, minus the stakes - to the center fielder's catch that highlighted Cain's perfect game against Houston on June 13.
"(Pence) told me, `I just got here and that was the best catch I've ever seen,"' Blanco said.
The only mistake Niese made all night was crushed by Posey off the roof of the emergency ambulance parked in the left-field tunnel to narrow New York's lead to 2-1 in the sixth.
That run proved big when the Mets loaded the bases in each of the final three innings and came up empty.
Davis grounded into a double play to end the seventh. Clay Hensley began the eighth by walking the first two batters and hitting the third before Thole's swinging bunt led to a double play, getting called out by home plate umpire Dale Scott for running in the baseline when Posey's throw back to first beaned Thole in the back. Collins' protest - calling it a "bad rule" but the "right call" afterward - failed.
With the bases loaded with one out in the ninth, Penny caught Murphy's comebacker and tossed to first for an easy double play, jumping and pumping his fist after giving San Francisco a shot to rally in the ninth.
NOTES: Mets top pitching prospect Zack Wheeler was promoted to Triple-A Buffalo after going 10-6 with a 3.26 ERA in 19 starts for Double-A Binghamton. Collins said Wheeler, who was traded from the Giants to the Mets as part of the trade for OF Carlos Beltran last year, is still unlikely to pitch in the majors this season because the team wants to limit his innings. ... Giants OF Aubrey Huff (sprained right knee) was officially placed on the 15-day disabled list to make room for Pence on the roster. ... The Giants optioned Eli Whiteside to Triple-A Fresno after the game with fellow Giants backup C Hector Sanchez (sprained left knee) coming off the disabled list Thursday to catch LHP Barry Zito (8-7, 3.89 ERA) against RHP Chris Young (2-5, 4.58 ERA) in the series finale. ... Giants OF Justin Christian also was optioned to Triple-A fresno for reliever Shane Loux .
Antonio Gonzalez can be reached at: www.twitter.com/agonzalezAP