If there was any query whether Pablo Sandoval’s power stroke was a blip on the screen he showed it was no fluke in the 1st inning.
Then he did it again 3 innings later.
Sandoval hit home runs from each side of the plate for the 1st time in his career as the Giants finished a 4-game sweep of the Rockies with a 9-2 win.
“I’ve been going up there just making an attempt to hit the ball, relax, support my team,” Sandoval asserted. “I’m confident and I feel great.”
The pair of long balls came less than 24 hours after Sandoval homered for the 1st time in 161 at-bats on Wed., the 2nd longest homerless drought of his career. The Giants have been waiting for Sandoval’s power stroke to return. He was showing signals of heating up with a stretch of 9-for-24 (.375) in the 5 games leading.
“I think once he hit the one (Wednesday) night, it relaxed him,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy announced. “He doesn’t have to try to hit home runs. He knows he’s strong enough to hit the ball out of the park. Those swings weren’t beyond control. He got good pitches.”
By winning for the 8th time in 9 games, San Francisco reduced its mystical number to clinching its 2nd division title in 3 years to 4, outstanding the result of the Dodgers game at Washington.
“It’s a club with a lot of character,” Bochy expounded. “They come out each day, they’re loose, they’re keeping their focus and they’re having a good time with this.”
The Rockies, meanwhile, lost for the 14th time in 18 meetings with the Giants this season and capped a 7-game road trip with their 6th straight loss. San Francisco moved a season-high 24 games over .500 and won for the 9th straight time with veteran left-hander Barry Zito starting. NFL spreads
The Giants broke the game open with a 2-out, 6-run 4th inning.
With the score tied 2-2, Hector Sanchez and Xavier Nady led off the 4th with singles, and after a fly out, Zito’s sacrifice bunt moved them up a base. Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa opened a wild pitch to plate Sanchez, and the flood gates opened.
Angel Pagan walked before Colorado 3rd baseman Chris Nelson made a good stop of a Marco Scutaro grounder, but threw wildly to 1st, allowing the 2nd run of the inning to score and sending De La Rosa to the showers.
De La Rosa, 31-year-old, was making his 1st appearance in a big league uniform since May 24, 2011, a span of 264 games missed since last season. A torn ulnar collateral ligament led to Tommy John surgery and a long recovery that included 7 rehabilitation starts in the minors.
Sandoval supplied the big blow in the inning when he greeted Rockies reliever Edgmer Escalona with a 3-run home run into the right field seats on a 0-2 pitch. Sandoval has 12 homers for the season, and he went deep twice in the same game for the 5th time in his career.