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Panda sprains thumb, then drives in five runs

Duggar leads off, doubles in big league debut
MLB.com

SAN FRANCISCO -- With highly touted 24-year-old Steven Duggar making his Major League debut Sunday, hitting leadoff and playing center field, it was veteran Pablo Sandoval's huge game that helped them avoid dropping their first series at AT&T Park since the first homestand this season.

Backed by Sandoval's five-RBI day, including a three-run, go-ahead homer in the fifth inning, the Giants took the fourth game of the series against the Cardinals, 13-8.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- With highly touted 24-year-old Steven Duggar making his Major League debut Sunday, hitting leadoff and playing center field, it was veteran Pablo Sandoval's huge game that helped them avoid dropping their first series at AT&T Park since the first homestand this season.

Backed by Sandoval's five-RBI day, including a three-run, go-ahead homer in the fifth inning, the Giants took the fourth game of the series against the Cardinals, 13-8.

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The Giants' offense woke up from a six-game slumber in which it had posted a team average of .167 and scored a total of 10 runs. Sandoval was 1-for-17 in those six games, but his home run swing on a 96 mph fastball on the inner half of the plate, and the way he feathered a slider down the left-field line for a two-run single, suggests a hitter that is absolutely locked in.

Video: STL@SF: Sandoval smashes a 3-run homer in the 5th

"What I liked about him today is how he really battled with two strikes," manager Bruce Bochy said. "Those hits, he had two strikes on him and just really fought and found a way to put it in play. Of course, one left the ballpark."

Diving to his right to make a forceout at second in the fourth inning, Sandoval sprained his left thumb but remained in the game.

"The thumb is good," Sandoval said. After that, I just concentrated not to do too much at home plate and it helped me a little bit more."

Video: STL@SF: Sandoval stays in game after diving stop

On Sunday, Sandoval was one of three Giants with three hits. Every starter reached base at least twice.

"As a team, we did great," Sandoval said. "Seventeen hits, it's exciting. That's the offense we know. Duggar, [Brandon] Belt, all those guys. It's exciting for [Duggar]. He got his first hit and first win."

Duggar led off the sixth with his first career hit, a line-drive double to center field that showcased the youngster's speed and sparked a five-run inning. He collected a second hit in the ninth.

Video: STL@SF: Duggar doubles for his 1st Major League hit

"I think the biggest thing for me offensively was just get on base," Duggar said. "Find a way to simplify it. If I can get on base, [I can] create some havoc on the basepaths and provide an opportunity to put up some runs. That's my goal, to try to get on base and make things happen."

It all amounted to more than enough support for Madison Bumgarner (2-3). The lefty said "nothing" was working for him but battled through 5 1/3 innings, allowing four runs. He struck out six and walked two, effectively keeping the Giants in the game. Bumgarner also helped his own cause with a single and a run.

"I wasn't making pitches," Bumgarner said. "Physically I felt good, felt like the stuff was the same. Just wasn't making pitches, that's really it. Fortunately, our offense did a tremendous job getting us back in the game and giving a big enough lead they couldn't come back from."

Video: STL@SF: Bumgarner starts game with K of Bader

"It's good to get [Bumgarner] some runs," Bochy added. "He's a guy that's had a lot of trouble getting run support, so it's good that we picked him up today."

Making his MLB debut along with Duggar was 28-year-old Ray Black. The right-hander topped out at 99.6 mph but was chased after one-third of an inning by Matt Carpenter's three-run shot.

"Couple walks hurt [Black] there, then you give up the home run," Bochy said. "But you saw the stuff, it's going to work. He'll get settled in and get more comfortable out there."

Video: STL@SF: Carpenter hits pinch-hit homer into the Cove

The 13 runs were the most the Giants have scored all season and the first time they've scored double-digit runs since June 4.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Sandoval's home run wasn't his only big hit of the game. With the bases loaded in the sixth inning, he fell behind, 1-2, in the count against Greg Holland. On the next pitch, he flipped a slider to left field to score two and put the Giants up 8-4. Alen Hanson and Gorkys Hernandez followed with consecutive singles, effectively putting the game out of reach.

Video: STL@SF: Sandoval plates a pair with a single to right

HERNANDEZ DAY TO DAY
After his two-run single broke the game open, Hernandez exited in the seventh inning with a tight left calf.

"We think it's just a day," Bochy said after the game. "He's probably going to miss tomorrow's game but my guess is he should be fine to go in the next game."

Video: STL@SF: Hernandez hits 2-run single, exits game

SOUND SMART
After retiring the last two batters of the eighth inning, Tony Watson extended his scoreless-innings streak to 18. It is now the second-longest streak in MLB, trailing only Drew Steckenrider (19 2/3).

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Sandoval did more than stuff the box score offensively. He also flashed the leather at third, diving to his left to snare Paul DeJong's liner in the second inning. Just two innings later he managed to get the lead runner at second after spraining his thumb diving to his right.

Video: STL@SF: Sandoval dives to his left for the catch

HE SAID IT
"It stuck with me for the whole game. I tried to flip the page but especially my job as a leadoff hitter is to get the job done, especially in that situation. Bum works a great at-base, gets on base. Guy on first and second nobody out, that's automatic. So I'll definitely be working on that." -- Duggar, who failed to get down a sacrifice bunt with Hernandez and Bumgarner on base in the third, then struck out looking

UP NEXT
The Giants will hand the ball to rookie Andrew Suarez (3-5, 3.92) in the series opener Monday at 7:15 p.m. PT at AT&T Park. After posting a 2.62 ERA across six starts in June, Suarez dazzled in his first outing of July. The left-hander threw seven innings of one-run ball in Colorado, striking out six and walking none. Suarez has been effective by throwing strikes; he's yet to walk more than two batters in a game. The Cubs will open with right-hander Kyle Hendricks (5-8, 4.27).

Martin Oppegaard is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area.

San Francisco Giants, Madison Bumgarner, Steven Duggar, Pablo Sandoval