Sandoval’s homer ends slump, helps beat White Sox
CHICAGO — Emerging from the trainer’s room in the visitors’ clubhouse at Guaranteed Rate Field late Friday night, San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval flashed a grin and subtly wiped his brow with a towel.
Sandoval assured such gestures weren’t too dramatically enhanced when he broke an 0-for-39 slump with a three-run homer a few hours earlier, although he couldn’t deny the relief that produced.
Sandoval’s fourth-inning blast keyed a 9-2 interleague victory against the Chicago White Sox while simultaneously freeing the man nicknamed “Kung Fu Panda” of any potential bouts with pandemonium.
“Don’t think about it,” Sandoval said. “Get a good swing. ... I don’t even think about it. I just go to home plate and do my thing up there.”
The Giants (56-87) handed the White Sox (54-86) their fifth loss in a row and eighth loss in 10 games behind a sound outing from left-hander Matt Moore. Temporarily sent to the bullpen after his most recent start, Moore returned to the rotation with 6 2/3 innings of two-run, five-hit ball to improve to 5-13.
Moore relied on a dependable change-up throughout the night, although he admitted he “got away” with a few of them.
“Obviously, I had a little bit of rest as far as volume goes over the past 12 days,” Moore said. “I felt pretty good out there.”
Lucas Giolito (2-2) took the loss for Chicago after allowing five runs — three earned — and three hits in 5 1/3 innings. Making his fourth start for the White Sox since an August promotion from Triple-A Charlotte, Giolito earned his first major league ejection as he walked toward the dugout upon exiting the game, as home plate umpire Gabe Morales took exception to something Giolito said.
White Sox manager Rick Renteria was ejected moments later.
Two innings after the Sandoval home run, San Francisco chased Giolito with a pair of unearned runs in the sixth. The first run scored on a bizarre fielder’s choice that drew Giolito’s ire. With one out, Giants right fielder Hunter Pence walked with runners on the corners, but a throw to second base from White Sox catcher Kevan Smith allowed San Francisco’s Buster Posey to score from third.
Giolito threw 59 of his 107 pitches for strikes, but he felt the final pitch to Pence was not a ball. The call negated a potential inning-ending, strike ‘em out-throw ‘em out double play.
“Basically, I just told (Morales) that I wish he would have worked me a little bit better,” Giolito said. “I felt like I threw a few pitches that were clearly in the strike zone that he called balls throughout the night, especially the last one.”
White Sox right fielder Avisail Garcia provided the biggest blemish against Moore when he smacked the first pitch of his fourth-inning at-bat into the stands for a two-run homer. But Moore retained his composure after that. The White Sox loaded the bases against Moore with two outs in the seventh inning before reliever Cory Gearrin ended the threat by inducing Jose Abreu to ground out to Sandoval.
“It’s not like you’re just coming in, bases loaded, facing anybody,” Moore said. “That’s their best hitter over there, and he did a great job.”
The White Sox announced during the game that left-hander Carlos Rodon would be placed on the 10-day disabled list with inflammation in his throwing shoulder and would not pitch again this season. White Sox manager Rick Renteria advocated using “an abundance of caution” with Rodon, 24, who was scratched moments before Thursday’s scheduled start with the injury.
Rodon missed much of spring training with bursitis in his left biceps and did not make his season debut until June 28. Precaution takes precedence for a player who figures to contend for the role of ace of a young 2018 pitching staff, especially as the rebuilding White Sox eye the end of the regular season.
“My biggest concern is, are the players doing what they’re supposed to do, are they gaining the experience and the knowledge and are they dealing with the situations that occur at any given moment properly?” Renteria said. “And then the rest, it is what it is.”
The Giants put the game out of reach with three runs in the ninth inning. Center fielder Denard Span hit a solo home run before catcher Nick Hundley, celebrating his 34th birthday, hitting a two-run single.
Brandon Crawford had three hits and an RBI for the Giants, while Adam Engel had two hits for the White Sox. Sandoval added a fourth RBI on a sacrifice fly.
NOTES: Giants 3B Pablo Sandoval’s 0-for-39 slump was the longest in club history for a non-pitcher. ... 2B Yoan Moncada committed two of Chicago’s three errors. ... Giants RHP Mark Melancon will undergo season-ending right elbow surgery on Tuesday, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. Melancon is 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA and 11 saves. ... The White Sox purchased the contracts of RHPs Al Alburquerque and Chris Volstad from Triple-A Charlotte before the game. ... A crowd of 16,852 attended the game. Many were clad in green or Irish garb for a “Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day” promotion.