Giants lineup: Sandoval back, batting fifth

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Giants lineup: Sandoval back, batting fifth

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Giants Pregame Live begins at 6:30 on CSN Bay Area, followed by Giants-Nationals at 7:15, and Giants Postgame Live immediately after the final out.

Pablo Sandoval is back in the starting lineup for the first time since July 24. He is batting fifth and playing third base.

Sandoval did get a pinch-hit appearance in the ninth inning Monday night. He fouled out to third base.

The switch-hitting Venezuelan strained his hamstring in the third inning against the Padres on July 24. The third baseman was playing first base for just the second time all season when the injury occurred. Sandoval stretched to scoop a low throw out of the dirt and wound up doing the splits, straining his left hamstring in the process.

Sandoval was playing first base that night primarily because Brandon Belt was in the midst of a 3-for-41 stretch (.073) from July 3 to July 22.

That dismal period for Belt seems like a distant memory at this point. Since he was reinserted back into the starting lineup on July 25, he is 21-for-55 (.382) in the team's last 19 games.

Marco Scutaro is getting the nod at second base over Ryan Theriot. He is hitting .309 in 17 games since joining the Giants, while Theriot is batting just .230 since Scutaro's acquisition.

Despite his game-winning three-run home run against the Rockies on Sunday, Hunter Pence is hitting just .145 in 13 games with the Giants. He is batting sixth tonight.

Although he has been fantastic all season, Melky Cabrera is in the midst of a "mini-slump," as he is just 4-for-21 (.190) in his last five games.

Putting the lineup aside, after surrendering 14 runs on 21 hits to the Nationals on Monday night, the Giants are looking for a gem from Madison Bumgarner.

The 23-year old lefty was roughed up against the Nationals on the Fourth of July, when he allowed a season-high seven runs in five innings of work.

Washington Nationals
no lineup yet

Giants
1) Angel Pagan (CF)
2) Marco Scutaro (2B)
3) Melky Cabrera (LF)
4) Buster Posey (C)
5) Pablo Sandoval (3B)
6) Hunter Pence (RF)
7) Brandon Belt (1B)
8) Brandon Crawford (SS)
9) Madison Bumgarner (P)

Dusty chooses son's graduation over Nationals game against Padres

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USATSI

Dusty chooses son's graduation over Nationals game against Padres

WASHINGTON — Dusty Baker will miss the Washington Nationals weekend series against the San Diego Padres to attend his son Darren’s graduation.

Baker said he will rejoin Washington when it begins a three-game series in San Francisco on Monday, near Baker’s offseason home. Bench coach Chris Speier will assume managerial duties against the Padres.

Baker’s son Darren is graduating from Jesuit High School in Carmichael, California. He’s committed to play college baseball at Cal.

As a 3-year-old bat boy, Darren was rescued from a potential home plate collision by J.T. Snow in Game 5 of the 2002 World Series between Baker’s Giants and the Angels.

Giants notes: 'Disappointing' road trip; Nuñez hopes to return Friday

Giants notes: 'Disappointing' road trip; Nuñez hopes to return Friday

CHICAGO — As they packed up at AT&T Park eight days ago, the Giants talked of taking their momentum on the road. It sounded pie-in-the-sky given the way they had played in April and on the previous trip, but when they took the first two in St. Louis, players started to believe they had finally turned the corner. 

And then came a Sunday loss, and three of four at Wrigley Field. There was no happy flight Thursday. The Giants lost 5-1, again looking flat against a less-than-elite pitcher, and ended up with a 3-4 trip. They’ll finish the first two months of the season without a winning road trip. They're 9-19 away from AT&T Park. 

“It’s disappointing,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “Once you win the first one here, you’re hoping you get greedy and take the series, but we didn’t. That’s disappointing.”

The Giants entered the road trip with a 6.62 starters’ ERA on the road, but pitching wasn’t the issue. Sure there were too many meatballs — most of the 10 Cubs homers in this series came on pitches left right over the fat part of the plate — but the starters did their job. The lineup couldn’t keep up. The Giants had just five hits Thursday and finished the trip with 24 runs in seven games. They started the trip nine games out in the West and finished 11 back of the Rockies, their largest deficit since 2013. 

“You come here and take the first game with our (top) guys throwing after that and you’re hoping for a better result,” Jeff Samardzija said. “We started out good and that St. Louis series puts you in a good spot to salvage the trip. We’ll go home now with six solid games on our home turf and they’re six big games for us.”

The Braves and Nationals come to town. The Giants will see Jaime Garcia on Friday, followed by Mike Foltynewicz and R.A. Dickey. 

--- Samardzija’s run without a walk ended at 154 batters when Ian Happ drew a free pass in the seventh. The streak was the best of Samardzija’s career. 

--- Eduardo Nuñez said he got treatment on a tight hamstring throughout the game and he’ll go in early Friday to continue treatment. He hopes to start Friday. 

--- Christian Arroyo was hitless in three at-bats, dropping his average to .191. Before the game, Bochy talked at length about Arroyo’s recent struggles and the plan with him going forward. 

--- If you missed it earlier, I took a tour of the visiting bullpen here. After going in there, I talked to some more pitchers about what they don’t like. It seems to mostly be the fact that you’re separated from the game. One said some of the relievers who pitched Monday had no idea it was raining because they had been getting loose inside for several innings. Seems like there’s a pretty easy fix here: The Cubs can just turn part of that Under Armour wall into a chain-link fence, or have some sort of window that opens up to the outside but doesn’t interfere with outfielders. Maybe next year …