We've seen this story unfold for the Giants this season, over and over. Once again, the first inning looked like a nightmare for the team.
Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner allowed two unearned runs in the top of the first inning Sunday against the Reds, quickly putting San Francisco in a deficit. The two runs put the Giants' first-inning frustrations at 42 runs for the opposing team compared to just three runs themselves in the first this season entering Sunday's game.
Pablo Sandoval pushed it to five runs in the first inning this season with one swing of the bat. The versatile switch-hitter golfed a low and outside pitch over the left-field wall to tie it up in the Giants' eventual 6-5 comeback win. They came from behind three different times to secure the victory and snap a three-game losing streak.
"All the situations we've been through this season, we're always fighting to try and help the pitching staff," Sandoval said to Amy G after the game. "That's what we did today and we're gonna continue doing."
Sandoval started the scoring with his home run and ended it by crossing the plate for the game-winning run on a Kevin Pillar single to center field. Playing first base in place of Brandon Belt, Sandoval went 3-for-4 with two RBI and was a triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Sandoval's big day at the plate Sunday was another in a long list of dominance against the Reds. He's now batting .310 (57-for-184) in 49 career games against Cincinnati, with five home runs and eight doubles. Two of his four home runs this season have been off Reds pitchers.
The Panda has been more than a novelty hat or bobblehead this year. He's been a reliable bat off the bench or someone that can start at the corners and even come in for an inning on the mound.
In a season full of more downs than ups for the Giants, Sandoval's been a positive player to appreciate from afar.