Philadelphia Phillies: The First Week of Hunter Pence
It has been quite an eventful week for Hunter Pence. It started with emotional hugs goodbye with his Astros teammates in Milwaukee and ended with a bench-clearing brawl with his new Phillies teammates in San Francisco.
And in between? Well, there has been a little bit of everything. So let's take a closer look at Hunter's first week.
Friday, July 29
Pence was pulled from the game in Milwaukee in the middle of the fifth inning where his Houston Astros were playing the Brewers and told he had just been traded to the Phillies. He exchanged some hugs with teammates and said goodbye to the only team he had ever known.
Saturday, July 30
At 11:45 a.m., he flew from Milwaukee to Detroit where he caught a connection to Philadelphia. He hopped in a car the Phillies sent for him and went straight to the ballpark. Batting practice was underway when he arrived so Phillies players and coaches were already on the field when Ryan Howard's 10-year-old son ran through the dug-out at 4:39 p.m. announcing the newest Phillie's arrival:
"He's coming!" Darian Howard yelled excitedly. "He's coming!"
Moments later, a wide-eyed Pence stepped onto the field with cameras capturing his every move. And when it came time for him to take the field, the new Phillie knew right away he wasn't in Houston any more.
"The fans were giving me chills. I can't even begin to explain it. It's surreal."
Pence got his first hit and RBI as a Phillie in his first game.
Sunday, July 31
New teammate Chase Utley picks Pence up at 9 a.m. from Philadelphia's Westin Hotel where he had been staying, buys him coffee and gives him a tour of the city before they head to the ballpark. According to Pence, he was just asking Utley what time he arrives at the park trying to get an idea of Utley's game preparation:
"I was kind of like, I don't know, pestering him really. But he was like 'I'll pick you up tomorrow, 9 a.m.'
I said, 'I can take cab, I'll just meet you.'
"You can take a cab, but I'm going to pick you up at nine."
Hunter Pence hit a lead-off double in the 10th scoring the winning run on a Raul Ibanez double. When asked by the Sarge in a post-game interview how it felt to score his first winning run as a Phillie, Pence's response is already becoming the stuff of legend:
"Great game, let's eat."
Tuesday, August 2
Pence goes 2-for-3 with two doubles and an RBI in a 5-0 win against the Rockies.
Though he's still living with the few necessities he quickly packed in his maroon Houston Astros duffel bag (Cliff Lee lent him his cowboy boots to wear on the team plane), Pence seems to be adjusting well to his new surroundings.
Thursday, August 4
Pence goes 3-for-4 with two RBI including his first home run in a Phillies uniform in a 3-0 win over the world champion Giants. His presence batting fifth in the lineup also seems to be giving Ryan Howard more protection.
Coincidence or not, Howard has been on a tear since Pence's arrival. Howard says of his new teammate:
"He gives us energy and intensity. He's been great for our team."
Friday, August 5
Pence gets two more hits including his second home run in as many games in a 9-2 win over the Giants. And no surprise, he can be seen smack in the middle of the bench-clearing brawl.
Seven games, seven wins for his new Phillies team. And in those games Pence is batting .367 with 11 hits including two home runs and three doubles. He has six RBI and five runs scored. Not to mention the effect he has had on Ryan Howard so far who has also had a banner week. Not a bad start for a guy still living out of a duffel bag.
Maybe when he returns to Philadelphia next week, his name will be on his locker and he'll find a more permanent place to live but there is no question that he has quickly made a home in the Phillies lineup.
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