ST. LOUIS -- Hunter Pence had no speech prepared and no motivational bellows to provide.
He couldn't, not after Game 3 -- he wasn't the Giants' charismatic leader on Wednesday, he was their offensive black hole.
"I'm the goat today," Pence said after he failed in three consecutive juicy chances to knock in Giants runners in Wednesday's 3-1 NLCS loss to St. Louis.
"I didn't get the job done in big opportunities. And I'm going to go home, learn from what happened and come back."
The stark reality is that Giants lost a game they could've won, and that Pence -- batting behind Buster Posey -- was the guy who kept coming up with the chance to break it open.
And after this six-and-a-half hour night (if you counted the 3-hour, 28-minute rain delay), Pence knew that he might be remembered a long time for those three empty at-bats.
If the Giants don't come back from a 2-1 deficit in this series, he might not be forgiven for them, either.
Or for entire postseason -- the right fielder is currently hitting .161 in the playoffs, with no extra-base hits.
"He's the guy we want up there with men on base -- knocked in over a hundred runs this year, he's got a knack for knocking in runs," manager Bruce Bochy said of Pence.
"They made good pitches. He's got to put this behind him, like us, and be set tomorrow."
But Bochy said the Giants will consider moving Pence down in the lineup -- along with other options -- for Thursday's Game 4 against St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright.
My suggestion: Move Pence all the way down to the No. 7 slot and do some juggling, so the order is Angel Pagan, Gregor Blanco, Marco Scutaro, Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval, Hector Sanchez (catching Tim Lincecum in Game 4) and then Pence.
Pence said he'll be fine with whatever Bochy does, but added that he has full confidence he can turn this around.
In the third inning, Pence faced struggling St. Louis starter Kyle Lohse with two runners on, and promptly grounded into an inning-ending double play.
In the fifth, after Lohse walked Posey in front of him for the second time, Pence grounded out to end the inning.
And probably most costly of all, in the seventh, with two on, Pence struck out swinging against reliever Mitchell Boggs.
"I definitely had some huge opportunities and didn't cash in," Pence said.
"They threw some interesting sequences at me today, had me a little off-rhythm. And definitely had some big at-bats that hurt us."
Pence said he has to take what the pitchers are giving him, and pointed to the at-bat against Boggs, in particular, when he swung and missed at several Boggs sliders out of the strike zone.
And Pence said he doesn't put any extra pressure on himself when teams walk Posey in front of him.
"It's just part of the game," Pence said. "I know how good a hitter Buster is. I look forward to those at-bats all the time."
It wasn't all Pence in this game, of course. Sandoval hit into a crucial double play early in the game, and Posey is hitting .207 in the playoffs.
But those two also have chipped in some huge hits and gotten on base. Pence, sitting in the slot behind them both, has done nothing.
Posey, for his part, said he's fully confident in Pence's ability to knock in those crucial runs.
"He's been here now for a few months and he's come up with some big hits for us," Posey said. "Any time he's up there with a guy in scoring position I feel like he's going to get the job done."
This has unquestionably been an odd season for Pence, a former All-Star who came to the Giants from Philadelphia in a midseason trade, and only hit .219 for them in 59 games.
But Pence also drove in 45 runs for the Giants, and had 104 RBIs total, thus earning Bochy's trust.
Plus, Pence has taken on the role of the Giants' chief motivator and dugout voice in these playoffs, and has provided broad perspective in the clubhouse before and after games.
But speeches don't drive in runs. Pence is with the Giants, and batting in the middle of the order, to produce offense and everything else is a side job.
And he's an interesting hitter to watch -- he takes wild practice swings and looks 1,000 percent fidgety at the plate. Is that how he always does it?
"Yeah," Pence said, "(but) I mean, I don't always get out every time."
He did on Wednesday, and that's what might be remembered, unless he bounces back almost immediately. There is no speech for that.
The rallying cry means nothing if there is no rally that follows.