SAN FRANCISCO -- Michael Morse stood at second base practically blushing, like a teenager in love.

The brute veteran -- with muscles and locks and a shadow beard that belongs in an Old Spice commercial -- was all giddy and smiling as if his crush remembered his name.

Giants fans have no problem remembering the name Morse. They got an elongated opportunity to shower him with love Sunday after he delivered the knockout blow in the Giants' 8-1 win over Minnesota.

Morse's second double of the day, a two-out shot down the third base line in the fifth inning, cleared the loaded bases and left him on an island during a pitching change. The entire time, his face was plastered on the big screen in center field while the sellout crowd at AT&T Park stood and cheered.

His teammates joined in the hootin' from the dugout, A-ha's "Take On Me" being drowned out by the crowd.

Morse couldn't keep his cool.

"It's awesome," he said. "Just moments like that, it just makes you feel so humble and happy that you're here, that I'm here. I can't thank them enough. They make me feel so welcome and so good."

He hardly sounded like a guy who had a T-shirt underneath his uni that reads "BEAST." In that moment, he didn't look like the tough guy who bullies pitches and worries pitchers.

But with the bat in his hands Sunday, he was every bit a beast. He snapped out of a 2-for-14 slump with three doubles and four RBIs, boosting his average to .279. He's now tied for fifth in the National League with 33 batted in.


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Morse, who moved from left field to first base to fill in for injured Brandon Belt, got a second ovation in the eighth inning. His double to the gap in left put the Giants in position for another run.

This time, when the big screen affixed on him, Morse kept his composure. He was stoic and cool, a demeanor more befitting a power hitter who shares a slugging percentage (.533) with Miguel Cabrera.

"I don't know what to do," Morse said of his reaction to the second ovation. "These are the best fans in baseball. Every day feels like the playoffs."

It makes sense why Morse would be overwhelmed with appreciation for such moments. He's been around a few blocks since making his MLB debut nine years ago this month, and the ride's been bumpy.

He's on his fifth team in seven seasons, including two stints with the Mariners. He's been suspended for using performance-enhancing drugs. He's had at least three surgeries, one knocking him out for most of a season, and several injuries.

Every time he seems to find a groove in his career, something happens to knock him off course.

But things are going good again for Morse. He has proved to be a formidable weapon in the heart of the Giants lineup. Sunday, he delivered when Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval didn't, an example of the depth that makes this team so confident at the plate.

What's more, Morse is on a winning club, and he's sensing something special brewing. He's already left an imprint on the locker room.

"I don't think anybody here really knew him when we signed him," said starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner, who picked up his sixth win. "I was anxious to see what kind of guy he was. Couldn't be any better."

Morse was given the chance to return the compliment after the game. He was asked about how difficult it is to face Bumgarner, who befuddled Minnesota hitters to the tune of 10 strikeouts and three hits allowed in seven innings of work. But Morse, playfully, didn't take the bait.

"I don't know," Morse said, whipping his hair out of his face and play puffing out his chest. "I took him deep."

Yeah, the cool was definitely back.

Read Marcus Thompson II's blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/thompson. Contact him at mthomps2@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/ThompsonScribe.