Sandoval starting to pick up offensive pace

Sandoval starting to pick up offensive pace

CHICAGO -- Pablo Sandoval's hitting gave the Giants something to savor from Thursday's 5-2, 13-inning loss to the Chicago Cubs.

Sandoval extended his consecutive-games streak of collecting an extra-base hit to five by homering in the top of the 13th, giving San Francisco its short-lived 2-1 lead. The switch-hitter obviously is regaining his ability to drive the ball after his fractured right hamate bone and the resulting surgery sidelined him for 40 days.

Sandoval, who owns an 11-game hitting streak, has allayed fears that his injury would rob him of his power.

"I think he's getting stronger as time goes on," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "And I expect him to get even more aggressive."

Sandoval started Thursday at first base. Bochy wanted to rest Aubrey Huff, who played both ends of Tuesday's day-night doubleheader and Wednesday night's entire game. That also explained why Cody Ross took a seat and Pat Burrell started in left field.