Phillies: Hunter Pence fielding blunder breaks up no-hitter
By Matt Rappa
Former Phillies outfielder Hunter Pence is not having a great 2020 season
Former Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Hunter Pence is having a forgettable 2020 season with the San Francisco Giants under manager Gabe Kapler.
Not only is the Pence slashing just .063/.118/.125 spanning 11 games and 32 at-bats, but on Saturday away against the Los Angeles Dodgers, his costly fielding blunder resulted in his starting pitcher Johnny Cueto to be charged with his first hit allowed — in the sixth inning.
As the left fielder with the Giants up 5-0, Pence lost track of an Enrique Hernandez fly ball; it ended up falling behind him, and Hernandez hustled his way into third base — breaking up Cueto’s no-hitter.
After the game, Pence said he felt awful for his mistake of not making the routine out.
“Johnny had the magic and everything working,” he said. “To spoil that feels absolutely awful. He deserves better.”
The Dodgers benefited from Pence’s mistake greatly that inning, as they would score four runs to pull within one. Three of the runs came through a Justin Turner three-run, 400-foot home run.
As it turned out, neither team would go on to score again, giving Kapler and the Giants a 5-4 win to improve to 7-9 on the season. Cueto earned the win, whereas Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw was charged with his first loss of 2020, allowing four runs and three home runs through 4 1/3 innings.
While Pence has struggled so far, fellow former Phillie Darin Ruf is faring somewhat better as a Giant. In 10 games this season, Ruf has slugged five singles, one double, five RBI, five walks, and nine strikeouts spanning 24 at-bats for a .250/.379/.292 slash line.
Ruf is playing his first games in the majors since 2016 with the Phillies, having taken his career overseas to the Korea Baseball Organization in between the stints.