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08/12/09 5:55 PM ET
Sandoval the center of quirky inning
Giants third baseman gets angry, makes fancy move
By Andrew Pentis / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- Pablo Sandoval had quite the adventurous fifth inning Wednesday in his team's 4-2 series finale victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Facing the Dodgers' James McDonald in the reliever's second inning of work, Eugenio Velez smacked a leadoff double and scored while upending catcher Russell Martin on Freddy Sanchez's ensuing single for a 1-0 lead. Martin gathered himself, then received a friendly pat from Velez after the play. Martin later said he didn't have a problem with Velez's slide. Sandoval, the next batter, was brushed back by a first-pitch fastball from McDonald that appeared to graze Sandoval's left elbow, prompting the Giants third baseman to stare out at the mound and raise his arms. Both teams' benches cleared, as Edgar Renteria (who got the day off Wednesday) led the Giants' apparent charge out to confront Martin. McDonald said, "He swung at the pitch. How bad could it have been?" Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp added, "If he doesn't want to be pitched inside, tell him not to hit .330." Sandoval said the ball definitely hit just below his elbow, and he tried to show the mark its impact left to the umpires, though they had already ruled it had nicked the knob of his bat. The plate appearance ended in a walk. "I was surprised," Sandoval said of the umpires' decision. "[But] that's what they saw." Nothing more than some pushing and shoving followed, though Sandoval, who turned 23 Tuesday, had to be restrained by home-plate umpire Paul Emmel. "I didn't want to [behave like] that," Sandoval said, adding he let himself get caught up in the "temper" of the game. "[I realized I] had to calm down." Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who watched the scene unfold on television after his second-inning ejection, said he didn't think McDonald was purposefully aiming to hit his No. 3 hitter. "I thought Pablo was ejected, and that would have been costly," Bochy said. Sandoval's interesting sequence didn't end there: Two batters later, Nate Schierholtz grounded into a potential inning-ending double play, but Sandoval stopped in between first and second base, evaded the tag of Juan Castro while doing the splits and found second base safely. Castro appeared to swipe at Sandoval with his glove, while the ball was in his right hand. All that, and Sandoval only traveled 180 feet. "I've never been in a game like that," Sandoval said, smiling. "It was my first time."
Andrew Pentis is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.