You hear all the high-decibel rips on Hector Sanchez or "Hacktor" as some fans call him. He's never going to hit. He's too fat. No way that ham-fisted catcher can handle a championship-caliber staff.

And you want to yell "For God's sake: He's 23. They brought him to the majors at 22 to back up a soon-to-be Most Valuable Player and he hit .280 on a team that won the World Series."

But you need not scream when Sanchez's bat does it for you in the most clutch situation.

The Giants were one strike away from being swept for the second consecutive year at Nationals Park on Thursday down two runs when an increasingly patient Sanchez built the count against closer Rafael Soriano to 2-2 took a very close pitch for ball three then turned on another high fastball and sent his woebegone team into a rare state of delirium.

With two runners on Sanchez drove the ball high into the dusk and just inside the right-field foul pole - his first homer of the year and first career pinch homer - to give the Giants a 4-3 victory.

"He saved a little sanity around here" manager Bruce Bochy said.

Sergio Romo saved the Giants' first win here since April 2011. Brandon Crawford co-saved it with one of his best catches as a Giant when he lunged behind second base to intercept Bryce Harper's shot up the middle to start the ninth.

Sanchez knew exactly what his home run did for his team and himself.

"I'm having a tough season" he said. "To come into that situation and hit a ball and get us a victory is amazing for me. It made me feel great for me the team the manager. This is what we need to do: Keep fighting."

That is all Sanchez has done in a rough sophomore season that yielded three RBIs before he doubled that in one swing.

His travails began long before spring training when he hurt his throwing shoulder playing winter ball in Venezuela. He was still hurt on Opening Day a big reason the Giants carried a third catcher. That it affected his throwing was obvious. His hitting? Less so.

The Giants finally put him on the disabled list before the All-Star break and kept him there for a month. The shoulder finally felt as good as it had all year.