Panda picking up pace, especially in the clutch

Panda picking up pace, especially in the clutch

MIAMI -- Even though the Giants are on the other side of the country, Pablo Sandoval figured out a way to bring his teammates home against the Marlins. He finished 3-for-3 with runners in scoring position in San Francisco's 14-10 win on Friday.

Sandoval reached base in all six of his plate appearances against Miami and upped his batting average with runners in scoring position to .364 (39-for-107), the seventh-best mark in the National League.

Although Sandoval has excelled in RBI situations, Friday night was a breakthrough for the reigning World Series MVP. His three RBIs against Miami marked the first time he's had that many since May 14.

"I don't try to get too excited up there," Sandoval said. "I try to trust my hands and try to put the ball in play. I was excited to swing the bat the way I swung it [Friday]."

Sandoval's hitting has picked up since he began August batting .077 (3-for-39) during the month's first 10 games. Since Aug. 11, Sandoval is 9-for-18 with five RBIs.

His .266 batting average entering Saturday sits just below his career-worst clip of .268 in 2010, but the third baseman is confident he will finish 2013 with a much better mark.

"I know that everything's going to be better and better every day, because I've been working hard," Sandoval said. "I just have to be consistent now. No one day off. I just try to be consistent every day, go up there and try to do the best that I can."

For Sandoval, consistency is key. Experiencing the excitement of one of his best games at the plate on Friday so soon after his slow start in August, he understands the need to stay the course during a long season.

With the Giants struggling through a difficult 2013 campaign that finds them 17 games behind the first-place Dodgers in the National League West entering Saturday -- after winning the World Series last year -- Sandoval's attitude serves the club well.

"You're going to have bad days, too," Sandoval said. "No matter what, you have to keep your head up and keep working hard."

Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.