Thursday, April 24, 2014
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Bay Area roundup: Giant slugger feels lost as team loses

San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval dives for a ground ball from St. Louis Cardinals' Allen Craig during the fifth inning of a baseball game on Saturday, April 6, 2013, in San Francisco. Craig was awarded an infield single on the play. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval dives for a ground ball from St. Louis Cardinals' Allen Craig during the fifth inning of a baseball game on Saturday, April 6, 2013, in San Francisco. Craig was awarded an infield single on the play. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

SAN FRANCISCO — On a day when Pablo Sandoval homered and singled in another run, the San Francisco slugger revealed he hardly feels comfortable in the batter’s box.

Not after missing 13 spring training games with an irritated nerve in his elbow. Not the way he is missing fastballs he typically would drive into the gap for doubles.

Last year’s World Series MVP still wound up with a pair of hits and RBIs in the Giants’ 6-3 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday.

“You want me to tell you the truth? A little bit lost,” Sandoval said about his swing. “A little bit, yeah. I’m trying to get to the point where I was in spring training. Hanging in there and keep working hard.”

As Sandoval takes on what has become a very public battle with his weight, he insists he is doing everything he can to get in tip-top shape. Meanwhile, he’s certainly showing he has plenty of range at third base.

But he is ready to put all the chatter about his belt size to rest.

For now, he is focused on finding his timing and continuing to play nearly spot-on, hustle defense.

“When I feel good I think I don’t miss those pitches,” Sandoval said.

The two-time All-Star is hitting .278 with two home runs and four RBIs through five games this season. He had a run-scoring single in the third inning Saturday, then a solo homer to start the eighth. Hunter Pence also homered, with a solo shot leading off the second against Shelby Miller (1-0).

That wasn’t enough on a day when Ryan Vogelsong (0-1) struggled to consistently command the strike zone, and Carlos Beltran drove in three runs against his former club to spoil Buster Posey’s MVP party a day after Barry Zito and the bullpen three-hit St. Louis.
Athletics 6, Astros 3: At Houston, Coco Crisp, Jed Lowrie and Seth Smith homered to back up a solid performance by starter Bartolo Colon in his return from a drug suspension, and the Oakland Athletics beat the Houston Astros 6-3 on Saturday night.

It was the first appearance for Colon (1-0) since he received a 50-game suspension for a positive testosterone test Aug. 22. He allowed eight hits and three runs without a walk in six innings for the win.

Crisp homered for the second straight game with a solo shot in the fourth that put Oakland up 1-0.

Lowrie, who spent last season with the Astros, added a solo homer in Oakland’s four-run sixth inning. Derek Norris gave the A’s the lead with a run-scoring single later in the sixth.

The Associated Press

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