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Pablo Sandoval accomplished a rare feat on Monday.
The San Francisco Giants’ third baseman became the first player since 1905 to hit a home run, steal a base and pitch a scoreless inning all in the same game. Sandoval did so in a 12-4 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.
Sandoval got the stolen base out of the way first, stealing third after reaching on an error in the second inning. It was the first stolen base since the 2012 season (and 12th of his career) for Sandoval, a player not exactly known for his speed.
Sandoval, however, is known for having home run power. And with two outs in the sixth with his team trailing 7-1, Sandoval blasted a three-run shot to right field to cut Cincy’s lead to 7-4.
But that was as close as the Giants would get. In the bottom of the sixth, the Reds busted the game open with five runs. The eight-run deficit prompted Giants manager Bruce Bochy to bring on Sandoval to help the bullpen (that had already logged 5 1/3 innings on the afternoon) in a game that was out of reach.
When he came on in the bottom of the eighth, Sandoval remarkably made quick work of the scorching-hot Reds, a team that scored 26 runs in the first three games of the series.
Though he hit José Peraza to lead off the inning, Sandoval then retired Josh VanMeter on a lazy fly to center and induced an inning-ending double-play from Nick Senzel with a well-placed 84-mph fastball. In all, Sandoval threw 10 pitches with seven strikes. Now that’s efficient.
“It was fun,” Sandoval said after the game, per MLB.com. “Tough loss, but whatever I can do to help this team, I want to take that punch and sacrifice everything to help the bullpen.”
With Monday’s performance, Sandoval joined Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson as the only other player in MLB history to homer, steal a base and pitch a scoreless frame in the same game. Mathewson did so on May 23, 1905, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
Sandoval’s second scoreless frame
Monday’s outing was Sandoval’s second career appearance on the mound in the big leagues.
Last April, Sandoval was called on to pitch the ninth inning of a game the Giants trailed by nine runs. All he did was pitch a perfect 1-2-3 inning, forcing a groundout to second and two groundouts to shortstop. That inning took only 11 pitches.
Sandoval’s performance capped off a game that was briefly delayed by a swarm of bees. For real.
Just another day at the ballpark.
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