Extra work pays off with Gomez's big first hit

Giants prospect gains confidence with game-tying single

Extra work pays off with Gomez's big first hit

SAN FRANCISCO -- Miguel Gomez included the word in virtually every answer he delivered through interpreter Erwin Higueros. Curva, or, in English, curveball. If hitting the curveball didn't preoccupy Gomez, it came close.

"Well, I think the curveball is hard for everybody," Gomez said, explaining his near-obsession. "Every slow pitch is hard for every batter. But being prepared and getting ready for those curves helped a lot."

Gomez's readiness particularly helped him in Sunday's eighth inning, when he delivered his first Major League hit: a pinch-hit single off Marlins reliever Kyle Barraclough that scored Brandon Crawford with the run that forged a temporary tie. The Giants proceeded to lose in 11 innings, 10-8, but Gomez generated some euphoria, however brief.

"Another bright spot," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who frequently has had to scrounge for optimism this season.

Gomez, the Giants' No. 29 prospect who was recalled from Double-A Richmond on Friday, went hitless in his first two at-bats. But he sharpened his swing by taking additional batting practice Sunday.

Predictably, he said, "I hit a lot of curves. Their relievers are really good and they throw a lot of curves. So I think the extra work I did paid off."

Gomez ended up connecting with a 79 mph slider on a 2-2 count for his single. But at that velocity, it might have looked like a curve to him.

"My objective was to help the team," said Gomez, 24. "I just wanted to make solid contact. The pitcher was throwing me a lot of curves. Finally I got one I was able to hit."

A non-roster invitee to Spring Training, Gomez was batting .305 with 19 doubles, two triples, eight home runs and 38 RBIs in 78 games for Richmond when the Giants summoned him. He'll likely return to the Minors when Eduardo Nunez, who's scheduled to begin a Minor League injury rehabilitation assignment Wednesday, leaves the disabled list.

At the very least, Gomez's confidence has been fortified.

"Sometimes we think everything is hard for us," he said. "I know that everything is possible. I think they saw some potential in me and I'm very grateful for the opportunity I'm getting right now."

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.