SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants' struggles at the plate were front and center in the 10-0 loss to the Dodgers on Saturday, and manager Bruce Bochy's message to his team before Sunday's series finale was simple -- they need to start hitting.
"I think they know what's at stake from here on out," Bochy said. "We're quiet with the bats right now. We have to get those going to take the pressure off these pitchers."
Bochy was hoping Gregor Blanco's return to the lineup Sunday after having sat out of the starting lineup in six of the last seven games would help provide some offensive energy. Bochy had said previously that he wanted to rest Blanco for a few games with the right fielder batting .216 since June 1.
Blanco cemented his starting spot at the leadoff position in early May by igniting the Giants, then losers of seven of 10, to two wins against the D-backs.
"We need somebody to spark the club," Bochy said. "Last time in Arizona he was able to give us a spark. We're not at full strength right now with Pablo [Sandoval] being out, and [Blanco] has done it in the past as far as bringing energy to the club."
Giants looking for Pagan to escape slump
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants are counting on Angel Pagan to pick up his pace at the plate, where he has been mired in a 6-for-34 slump in his last 11 games entering Sunday.
With Pablo Sandoval on the disabled list with a strained hamstring, Pagan has been bumped up to fifth in the batting order, where he batted Sunday against the Dodgers.
"It's important for us, particularly in the five-hole," manager Bruce Bochy said.
Pagan had a batting average as high as .321 on June 10, but has struggled since then to now have a season average of .277. The center fielder had just one RBI and two runs since July 14.
"He's been through this, these skids," Bochy said. "He's a good hitter, and it's nice that he has the knowledge and experience to come out of it."
Hector Sanchez has gone 0-for-10 in three rehab games for Triple-A Fresno and has caught 19 innings. Bochy said he remains on track to return when he is eligible to be activated from the DL on Thursday.
Sandoval said after Saturday's game against the Dodgers that the plan is to start taking ground balls Wednesday as he sits with a strained hamstring.
"He's coming along, but he's a ways away," Bochy said. "He just needs to get treated and do some working out."
Jay Lee is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.