Panda sits, Fontenot starts for Giants

Panda sits, Fontenot starts for Giants

ATLANTA -- So much for that notion about a set lineup for the Giants.

Two days after saying that the contingent he fielded for the first two games of the National League Division Series would be "pretty much the lineup that we'll be going with," manager Bruce Bochy benched third baseman Pablo Sandoval and replaced him with Mike Fontenot for Sunday's Game 3 against the Atlanta Braves.

Offense was the first factor Bochy cited in explaining his decision. Sandoval was 1-for-6 with an intentional walk and two strikeouts in the series' first two games, continuing a year-long slump. Sandoval finished the season with a .268 batting average, 13 home runs, 63 RBIs and a .732 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage), compared with .330, 25 homers, 90 RBIs and a .943 OPS last year.

"Pablo is searching a bit with his swing," Bochy said. "We did this a couple of times late in the season."

Bochy acknowledged that he also considered defense in making the switch. In the eighth inning of Game 2, Sandoval committed a throwing error after fielding Melky Cabrera's slow roller, accounting for an unearned run in Atlanta's three-run rally that tied the score.