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Last chance to help Sandoval's All-Star quest

Last chance to help Sandoval's All-Star quest

Pablo Sandoval is making himself more and more difficult to ignore in All-Star consideration.

Sandoval wasn't among the top five vote-getters at third base in the most recent National League All-Star balloting update, but he possessed enough credentials to assure that he'll attract attention as the July 14 Midsummer Classic at St. Louis draws nearer.

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Entering Sunday, Sandoval ranked second in the league with a .340 batting average, having hit safely in 20 of his previous 22 games. He was tied for fifth in the NL with 22 doubles and led the Majors with a .416 batting average in two-out situations. The switch-hitting Sandoval also owned a .393 average against left-handed pitching, third-best in the league.

For good measure, Sandoval led the Giants with 11 home runs.

In-stadium voting has ended, but fans can still vote online for starters up to 25 times with the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint Online Ballot at MLB.com and all 30 club sites until Thursday at 8:59 p.m. PT.

Starting rosters will be announced during the 2009 All-Star Game Selection Show presented by Pepsi on TBS on July 5. Baseball fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint Final Vote at MLB.com.

And the voting doesn't end there. Fans will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet at the Midsummer Classic via the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint MVP Vote at MLB.com.

The All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX and around the world by Major League Baseball International. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio play-by-play, while MLB.com will offer extensive online coverage.

Catcher Bengie Molina and center fielder Aaron Rowand have continued to perform at an All-Star level. Molina began Sunday leading the league's catchers with 39 RBIs (not counting three he collected as a pinch-hitter) and 23 extra-base hits. His 10 game-winning RBIs topped all Major Leaguers. Molina also was tied for the lead in home runs among catchers with 10 and stood third with a .432 slugging percentage.

Rowand hit .352 (51-for-145) in his last 37 games before Sunday, lifting his average from .227 to .298. This stretch included a team-high 17-game hitting streak in which Rowand hit .411 (30-for-73). Rowand particularly has thrived since moving atop the Giants' batting order. Among NL leadoff hitters with at least 125 plate appearances, Rowand ranks first with a .343 batting average, a .388 on-base percentage a .562 slugging percentage and, of course, a .950 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage).

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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