Panda was grand: Pablo Sandoval pitches perfect ninth for Giants

Pablo Sandoval of the San Francisco Giants shows his pitching form during the ninth inning of Saturday's doubleheader opener.
Caption
Pablo Sandoval of the San Francisco Giants shows his pitching form during the ninth inning of Saturday's doubleheader opener.

Credit: Thearon W. Henderson

Credit: Thearon W. Henderson

This Panda can bring some heat. His curveball isn’t too shabby, either.

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With the San Francisco Giants trailing the Los Angeles Dodgers 15-6 heading into the ninth inning of the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, manager Bruce Bochy brought in Pablo Sandoval to pitch.

Sandoval, a 5-foot-11, 268-pounder who normally plays third base, needed only 11 pitches to retire the Dodgers, as Max Muncy, Yasmani Grandal, and Chris Taylor all grounded out.

It was the only time during the game that a Giants pitcher registered a 1-2-3 inning.

Sandoval topped 87 mph with his fastball and showed a wicked curveball, causing Taylor to take a big whiff at one offering.

"I knew he had a pretty good delivery, I didn't know it was quite this clean," Bochy told KNBR. "He had a breaking ball like that, it was legit. He hit 87, that's pretty impressive."

Sandoval said Bochy broached the idea of pitching to him in the seventh inning.

“He asked if I could pitch an inning and I said, ‘For sure,’” Sandoval told KNBR. “He said, ‘Be ready, in case they score more runs you’re going to be our pitcher.’”

Sandoval became the Giants' first position player to pitch since Greg Litton in 1991, and the first to toss a shutout inning since Matty Alou did it in 1965," The San Francisco Chronicle reported.