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Ishikawa possesses knack for pinch-hitting

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NEW YORK -- More than any other Giants player in recent years, Travis Ishikawa fits an effective pinch-hitter's profile.

Typically, top pinch-hitters are seasoned performers who played at least semi-regularly at some juncture in their careers. Ishikawa has played all or part of seven seasons with a high of 363 plate appearances in 2009.

Pinch-hitters also must remain cool. Ishikawa demonstrated his aplomb most notably in Game 3 of the 2010 Division Series in Atlanta, where he coaxed a key ninth-inning walk from Craig Kimbrel during a two-run rally that propelled San Francisco to a 3-2 win.

Ishikawa thrived off the bench for the Giants in 2010, batting .319 (15-for-47) with a .385 on-base percentage and a .489 slugging percentage in the regular season. Manager Bruce Bochy recalled that he nicknamed Ishikawa "Smoky Burgess," who was a top pinch-hitter throughout 18 Major League seasons (1949, 1951-67).

Ishikawa provided a reminder of his pinch-hitting skill Saturday by rapping a two-run single in the eighth inning, ending Mets starter Jacob deGrom's shutout bid.

"I think he's comfortable doing it, and he has experience doing it," Bochy said. "He has a calmness about him that makes for a good pinch-hitter, and he has a swing that allows him to be a good pinch-hitter."

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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