SAN FRANCISCO -- After two seasons of consistent playing time, Gregor Blanco has spent little time on the field this season, relegated mostly to pinch-hit duty because of the strong start by left fielder Michael Morse.
Outwardly, Blanco never shows any signs of disappointment. Few Giants flash as many smiles or offer more fist pounds than Blanco, a mentor to fellow Venezuelans Hector Sanchez and Ehire Adrianza.
In private moments, though, Blanco stewed -- but he wasn't angry with manager Bruce Bochy, who had sent Blanco to the plate just 49 times before Wednesday's 10-4 victory over the Atlanta Braves.
"I was mad with myself," Blanco said. "I know the opportunities haven't come, (but) if they give you one at-bat, you take it. You take the opportunity to show yourself and you prepare for that."
Blanco had a .122 batting average when he stepped to the plate in the first inning, starting in place of Angel Pagan (sore knee). He fell behind 0-2 and then drew a walk, kick-starting a historic day for a Giants leadoff hitter and pacing a lineup that battered a Braves staff that has the best ERA in the major leagues.
Blanco walked twice, singled, stole three bases and scored three runs. He's the first Giant since Darren Lewis in 1991 to swipe three bags and score three times in a game, and just the fourth to do it in the franchise's San Francisco era. It's a feat that even Willie Mays never pulled off.
"He did a lot of good things," Blanco said, smiling. "It's just good he never did that -- he'll maybe be a little jealous of that."
Mays has the edge in almost all categories over almost all players, and even on a career day, Blanco fell short of Mays' franchise-record four stolen bases in a game. But Blanco did just about everything else on a day when the Giants had 15 hits and three home runs.
"He was the spark plug. That was big for us," said shortstop Brandon Crawford, who had his second "splash hit" homer of the season.
It was bigger for Blanco, who will compete with Tyler Colvin for left field starts now that Morse (who also homered) is covering for the injured Brandon Belt at first base.
Colvin, called up from Triple-A Fresno over the weekend, was in left field the first time Morse slid to the infield, but manager Bruce Bochy was hopeful Blanco would build off Wednesday's success.
"Gregor, he gets it. He's a good teammate and he knows your playing time is usually dictated by how well you play," Bochy said. "When Colvin started, (Blanco) was all in. He was pulling for the team and he wasn't hanging his head. It's all about setting aside your own little deal and doing what's best for the club."
On Wednesday, Blanco set aside the approach that kept him glued to the bench. It's human nature to try to impress when you're only occasionally getting an opportunity, and Blanco said he was pressing and trying to hit a homer in every at-bat.
"I was trying to be somebody else," he said.
He returned to his on-base-percentage roots against Braves ace Julio Teheran, teaming with Hunter Pence to keep the Giants rounding the bases throughout a balmy 79-degree day at AT&T Park.
Pence had four hits, including a homer that scored Blanco in the first inning and tied the game after Madison Bumgarner had given up an early pair of runs.
"Both of them wreaked havoc," Bochy said. "It was nice to get back in it right away."
Bumgarner, who gave up four runs and seven hits in five innings, said his stuff was "a little flat," but he hung around long enough to pick up his fifth win of the season.
The Giants (26-15) kept pushing in the late innings, clinching their fifth win in six games against the Braves, leaders of the National League East.
Crawford had three hits and drove in three runs. Colvin went 2 for 5 in his second start. Pablo Sandoval continued to break out of his season-long slump, picking up two hits before exiting with a sore left toe that isn't expected to keep him out of the lineup.
"I'll tell you what, the offense picked me up today big time," Bumgarner said. "They played their butts off. They didn't take an inning off."
Miami (Nathan Eovaldi 2-1) at Giants (Matt Cain 0-3), 7:15 p.m., CSNBA