Sandoval afforded no time for reflection

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Sandoval afforded no time for reflection

SAN FRANCISCO -- Babe Ruth. Reggie Jackson. Albert Pujols. Pablo Sandoval. It's one of baseball's most elite groups -- the offensive juggernauts who flexed their muscles under the brightest spotlight.

Sandoval's three home runs in Game 1 of the 2012 World Series etched his name in stone, but the big third baseman barely had time to read the 300-some text messages he received, let alone process the magnitude of his accomplishment. After all, he had homework to prepare for Doug Fister and Game 2, less than 24 hours later.

"You have to realize what's going on right now in your life," Sandoval said hours before Game 2. "So you have to keep your head up and keep focused."

The performance that earned him a tweet from Hugo Chvez, the President of his native Venezuela, will go down as one of the single greatest offensive games in World Series history.

The first player ever to hit three home runs in Game 1 of any postseason series. The first player to homer in his first three at-bats of a World Series Game. The second most total bases recorded in a World Series game. The list goes on, but so does the series, and Sandoval and his teammates have to be ready for Game 2.

RELATED: Sandoval writes name among World Series legends

Having a player of Sandoval's caliber dialed in at the plate in late October is an asset that can't be understated.

"Occasionally you get great athletes who get in a zone, and it really slows the game down," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "I'm sure last night Pablo just saw the ball so well and it really slowed down for him. It's a credit to his talent. It's fun to watch great athletes when they get in the zone, especially when they're playing for you."

Tigers manager Jim Leyland didn't have that luxury, but he appreciated what he witnessed nonetheless.

"You can't sit up here and say what he did tonight was a fluke," Leyland said. "I mean, it was unbelievable. The guy had one of those unbelievable World Series nights that they'll be talking about for years.So I tip my hat to him."

Plenty of others tipped their virtual hats to Sandoval. The face of the division-rival Dodgers, Matt Kemp, joined Chavez on Twitter to express his wonder.

Wow! That's all I can say. panda Matt Kemp (@TheRealMattKemp) October 25, 2012
All va el tercero, pues! Pablo pa' la Historia! Viva Venezuela!! Hugo Chvez Fras (@chavezcandanga) October 25, 2012
Sandoval is doing his best to take it all in.

"For me," the five-year veteran said, "it was exciting to see Matt Kemp -- he played with LA -- he sent me a tweet saying that. That means a lot me.

"There's a lot of things you have to realize in your career, you have to pay attention to all that. When your friends do good things, you want to support them."

Sandoval's immediate focus, though, is supporting his teammates in the World Series.

He already has half as many home runs this postseason (six) as he did during the regular season (12). And Sandoval just set the Giants franchise record with a six-game postseason RBI streak -- a record previously held by Barry Bonds. Over those six games, Sandoval is 12-for-25 (.480) with two doubles and five home runs and 10 total RBIs.

The Giants have scored 61 runs in 13 games these playoffs, and they've done in just about every way possible. But the key behind their 4.69 runs-per-playoff-game average (up from their 4.43 regular season average) has been striking first. The Giants are 7-1 when they score first this postseason, and a locked-in Sandoval would aid the early production quite a bit.

With success comes heightened levels of celebrity. But don't expect Sandoval to disguise himself, especially when he returns to Venezuela.

"I'm the kind of guy that spends time with fans out there, spend time with kids," Sandoval said. "That's what makes me happy out there."

What makes him happy right here in San Francisco, though, is playing baseball, and playing baseball well. Whether or not he's processed what he achieved, he'll be back in the batter's box at AT&T Park in Game 2.

Amidst a brighter media spotlight than he's ever been exposed to, Sandoval is doing his best to keep his mind in the right place.

"You have to keep focused and keep playing and keep working hard," Sandoval said.

There will be plenty of time in November for reflection -- and responding to text messages.

Blach knocked around as Giants drop three of four to Padres

Blach knocked around as Giants drop three of four to Padres

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- Wil Myers has had his way with the San Francisco Giants, and so has San Diego.

Oh how this rivalry has shifted - not to mention Myers' power stroke at AT&T Park, where he has already cleared the fences five times this season.

He decided to embrace the ballpark's challenging conditions and typical chilly temperatures coming off the bay.

Myers homered for a career-best third straight game against San Francisco, Jabari Blash hit a go-ahead two-run double in the decisive fourth to back Dinelson Lamet, and the San Diego Padres beat the Giants 5-2 on Sunday.

"One of the big things is just actually wanting to come here to play. Last year I kind of dreaded coming here because it's a pitcher's ballpark and they have great pitchers," Myers said. "One thing I did this year was just got excited to play here. It's the mindset you got to have if you want to play well."

Lamet (4-4) struck out six pitching into the seventh in his 10th big league start and sixth on the road. He has allowed three or fewer earned runs in six of his outings.

San Diego hit three straight doubles in the fourth and four consecutive hits in all against lefty Ty Blach (6-6), who is yet to beat the Padres in three career starts.

Hector Sanchez added a run-scoring double in the fourth against his former and Cory Spangenberg hit an RBI single.

Myers clobbered a 3-2 pitch for his 20th home run with two outs in the first. The Giants tied it in the bottom half when Buster Posey's RBI single scored Denard Span, who doubled leading off the inning.

"A couple bad pitches they ambushed me early in the count," Blach said. "It's frustrating when you're rolling like that you can't make adjustments quick enough."

Lamet surrendered eight hits and two runs and walked a batter in 6 2/3 innings as the teams finished after nine innings following extra-inning games the previous two days. Brad Hand, San Diego's third reliever, finished with a 1-2-3 ninth for his third save.

Sanchez had a season-best three hits Friday and finished this series 5-for-12 with a home run and three RBIs. He is a career .464 hitter (13 for 28) with five homers and 14 RBIs against San Francisco, which hasn't won a series with the Padres since May 2016.

The Giants had won the past three starts by Blach, who allowed five runs on eight hits in seven innings, struck out seven and walked one after winning his last two decisions.

San Diego has won seven of the last nine meetings in the rivalry, currently featuring the two bottom teams in the NL West.

"We still have a ton of respect for who they are, the players on the field and what they've done," Padres manager Andy Green said. "We know at any point in time they could go reel off 10 or 12 and have a great run. We don't want that to start on us."

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Padres: 2B Yangervis Solarte, a switch-hitter sidelined by a strained left oblique muscle, is set to begin swinging from the right side Monday. The left side hasn't been a problem. ... RHP Craig Stammen is still two or three days away from pitching after he strained a hamstring, Green said. ... OF Travis Jankowski's rehab will be extensive, with him staying with Triple-A El Paso through the month as he nurses a bruised bone in his right foot. ... LF Jose Pirela got a break.

Giants: Closer Mark Melancon threw all of his pitches in a mound session as he works back from a second DL stint with a strained forearm. "Now it's a matter how he comes out of it," manager Bruce Bochy said. Melancon is likely to need another two or three weeks and the Giants have no target date for his return. The reliever could face hitters within a week. ... RHP Johnny Cueto, who landed on the DL with blisters on three fingers, played light catch. ... 2B Joe Panik had a day off.

UP NEXT:
Padres: LHP Clayton Richard (5-10, 5.35 ERA) faces the Mets owning a 4.17 ERA against New York over his initial seven starts.

Giants: RHP Matt Cain (3-8, 5.49) will try to avoid matching the longest losing streak of his career at eight games - from July 28, 2015-May 10, 2016 - when he pitches the series opener at home against Pittsburgh.

No room for Eduardo Nunez? Red Sox call up top third base prospect

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USATSI

No room for Eduardo Nunez? Red Sox call up top third base prospect

The Boston Red Sox have promoted Rafael Devers from Triple-A Pawtucket, manager John Farrell announced Sunday.

Devers will play his first game on Tuesday.

The third baseman has spent his 2017 season and Portland (AA) and Pawtucket (AAA). With the Pawsox, Devers had a .324 batting average in 34 at-bats. He had 11 hits, one double, two homers and four RBIs.

The Sox have been unsettled at third base during the 2017 season, and released third baseman Pablo Sandoval Wedneday. Devin Marrero, Tzu-Wei Lin and Brock Holt have rotated at third base throughout the season. However, the Sox optioned Lin to Pawtucket last week.

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