San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval hit a solo home run in the sixth inning of Thursday's game against the St. Louis Cardinals to extend his RBI streak to nine games. Per Alex Pavlovic of the San Jose Mercury News, no Giant has pieced together an RBI streak that long since Barry Bonds also knocked in a run in nine consecutive games during the 2000 season.
Sandoval's streak is no fluke full of sacrifice flies and RBI groundouts, as he's been a dominant force at the plate over the last nine games. During the streak, he has five home runs and a .419 batting average, with eight runs and a whopping 14 RBI.
Known to many as "Kung-Fu Panda," Sandoval created quite a bit of buzz before the season when it was discovered that he'd lost a significant amount of weight. Known for his large frame as much as his free-swinging approach, he was hoping that his improved fitness would play off in a contract year.
He then got off to a surprisingly terrible start, finishing April with just two home runs and a .177/.262/.302 slash line. That line actually fell to .173/.250/.276 by May 10, before Sandoval turned things around with a three-hit game against the Los Angeles Dodgers May 11. He's now recorded a hit in 18 of his last 19 games, and six of his eight home runs this season have come in the last 11 contests.
As awful as he was earlier this season, Sandoval heads into Friday's game against the Cardinals carrying a respectable .247/.300/.428 slash line. While the torrid pace obviously can't continue for long, Sandoval owns a .294/.347/.473 line for his career, so his numbers should only continue to go up from here.