SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants reached the end of their 17 games in 17 days stretch on Sunday a little fatigued, a little battered, but with an 11-6 record capped by Sunday’s 4-1 win over the Marlins keyed by two players -- Ryan Vogelsong and Pablo Sandoval -- that some were writing off as early as late April.
Vogelsong threw seven scoreless innings and has a 1.62 ERA in his last five starts. And Sandoval backed him with two hits, including his first home run since April 13, to extend his current hitting streak to nine games and up his average to .220 -- a jump of nearly 50 points from when the streak began.
Tomorrow’s print story focuses on Sandoval and Vogelsong turning things around here in May. Meanwhile, the sentiment in the Giants’ clubhouse as they packed for Colorado on Sunday afternoon: Considering the loss of Brandon Belt to a broken thumb during the 17-game stretch, the normal stresses of playing that many games in a row and Angel Pagan spraining his left shoulder Sunday night, that the Giants at 28-17 remain tied for the most wins in the majors is a pretty promising sign.
"I think we’re in a good place," manager Bruce Bochy said. "They can really use the day tomorrow. But there wasn’t ever a let-up. I like their attitude."
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Said Vogelsong: "Losing Belt is obviously a huge blow, but I think we’re better equipped for it than we were in the past, losing a guy like that for a long period of time. You’ve got to keep grinding. There’s no other answer for it. If you don’t, you’re going to be on the bottom looking up real quick."
* The Giants experienced that last season with Pagan’s hamstring injury. The good news is that the shoulder injury he sustained Saturday night diving for a ball in center doesn’t appear to be nearly that serious.
Pagan had an MRI on Sunday that showed a sprained AC joint in his left shoulder. Bochy held Pagan out of the lineup Sunday, but said after the game the Giants are hopeful Pagan will be back in center as early as Tuesday in Colorado.
"He feels better (today), and really it was I guess pretty good news for us after the MRI," Bochy said, terming Pagan "day-to-day."
Pagan said he didn’t do anything baseball-related Sunday and didn’t even watch the game from the dugout, "because I knew I might go to the cage and get some swings." While he was initially concerned about the extent of the injury -- having had surgery on that same shoulder for a labrum injury in 2009 -- Pagan said he believes it’s "nothing serious."
"That might be the reason it wasn’t too serious, because I have like nine anchors in that labrum (from the surgery)," Pagan said. "It’s pretty tied up. … You don’t know how it’s going to react, but today I thought it’d be worse, so that’s good news."
Along with Pagan, Bochy said the Giants have "a few guys that really need this day off (Monday) -- mentally, too. That’s a long grind we just had."
* Among the biggest at-bats Sunday: Santiago Casilla retiring Giancarlo Stanton to end the eighth inning with Stanton pinch hitting and representing the potential tying run. It came two days after Casilla took the loss by allowing two ninth-inning runs in what had been a 5-5 game.
Closer Sergio Romo was warming up Sunday and Bochy said had Casilla lost Stanton, he would have called Romo in for a four-out save. Casilla fell behind Stanton 2-1, but threw a high fastball that Stanton popped up to right field. The Giants did have an open base to work with, but Bochy said the plan was for Casilla to "go after" Stanton.
"Granted, he’s a tremendous talent," Bochy said of Stanton. "(But) you have a guy out there throwing 94, 95, with a good breaking ball, we’re not going to tell him to back off."
* The Giants staked Vogelsong to a 3-0 lead in the first inning and scored two of the runs on four consecutive singles with two outs. In the series, they scored eight of their 15 runs with two outs and lead the majors with 86 two-out RBIs on the season.
* In Vogelsong’s post-game media session, this quote stood out when he was asked if he felt early in the season -- when he was winless with a 7.71 ERA through four starts -- like he’d be able to turn things around:
"You have to believe that. If you don’t, you’re behind the eight ball to begin with. You have to believe that you’re going to turn it around and get it going.
"Some of the stuff that (people) were saying about Pablo and other people, they were saying a lot of it is mental, and it’s true. First of all you have to stop digging a hole to get out of it. And second of all, you have to believe you can do it. When (the Giants) believe in you, too, that goes a long way. It helps a lot."
Bochy said that with both Vogelsong and Sandoval, he felt it was a matter of time before both got going. "And these are two guys that we need to have success," Bochy said. "You lose a Belt, what has to happen is somebody else picks it up. And Pablo’s done that."
* After Monday’s off-day, the Giants play a quick three-game road series in Colorado before returning home next weekend. Here are the pitching probables:
Tuesday: LHP Madison Bumgarner (5-3, 3.25) vs. LHP Franklin Morales (3-3, 5.40)
Wednesday: RHP Matt Cain (1-3, 4.33) vs. RHP Jhoulys Chacin (0-2, 4.76)
Thursday: TBA (Tim Hudson or Yusmeiro Petit) vs. LHP Jorge De La Rosa (5-3, 4.14)