09/07/08 9:38 PM ET
Ten-run inning propels Giants to win
Rookie Sandoval drives in five, four in decisive frame
By Chris Haft / MLB.com
"From Game 1, he has played well, and you can just see the confidence in this kid," Bochy said.The 22-year-old admitted feeling uneasy after his key double, a line drive that short-hopped a diving Nate McLouth in left-center field. The ball struck McLouth's head and caromed into left field, causing a laceration above his left eyebrow that required stitches. "I felt bad for him," Sandoval said. The Giants' sympathy didn't last long. They scored six runs before Pittsburgh recorded an out and sent 14 batters to the plate in compiling their first double-digit inning in AT&T Park's nine-year existence. It's worth noting that Karstens' throwing error after he fielded Randy Winn's ground ball opened the inning and furthered the Giants' cause. However, Giants left-hander Jonathan Sanchez couldn't last long enough to benefit from the offensive windfall. He worked three innings, his second-shortest start of the season. Bochy removed the laboring Sanchez after he threw 78 pitches and allowed three runs (two earned) and five hits. Since it was only Sanchez's second start since being activated from the disabled list, Bochy opted for caution with the 25-year-old's shoulder. "We didn't want to risk anything with him, with that amount of pitches in three innings. But he was fine to go back out," Bochy said. "He did the right thing by taking me out. He was saving my arm," Sanchez said. Before departing, Sanchez hit the first of four Pirates the Giants plunked with pitches. Reliever Billy Sadler hit two batters, including Brian Bixler in the head during the fifth inning. Although none of this appeared to be intentional -- "It was just bad pitching," a Giants official said -- retaliation was inevitable, which explained why Pittsburgh right-hander Craig Hansen flung a pitch behind Schierholtz's head and then hit him with two outs in the eighth inning, prompting warnings to both benches from umpire Angel Campos. "It's pretty much self-explanatory," a calm Schierholtz said. The Pirates also could have been upset over their 82nd loss, dooming them to their 16th consecutive losing season. That tied a professional sports record for futility set by the 1933-48 Philadelphia Phillies. At 62-80, the Giants aren't much better. But they're likely to remain motivated through the season's final weeks, particularly since they play Arizona and Los Angeles, the National League West's top contenders, in 13 of their last 20 games. "We want to end the season with a bang," Burriss said. "Even if we don't make it to the playoffs or come close to making it to the playoffs, we want to prove to ourselves that we're not what everybody thought we would be."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.