A few days ago, the San Francisco Giants' Web site published an article that featured Bengie Molina and rookie Pablo Sandoval. Molina talked about how he wanted to take Sandoval under his wing and mentor him like a son. That bond must be strengthening, because after the game tonight, it looks like quite a partnership.
Tim Lincecum was working on a one-run outing, yet he was in line to receive the loss. He ran on fumes through the top of the seventh, putting his pitch total at 118. It looked like the end of the night for Lincecum, leaving him at 14 wins and maybe saddling him with only his fourth loss of the year.
But up came Bengie "Big Money" Molina in the bottom of the seventh with one out. With a 0-1 count, Molina drove a mistake fastball from Livan Hernandez way over the left-field fence to tie up the game.
Before he even took his helmet off, before the crowd had any time to even think about settling down, Pablo "Little Money" Sandoval went with another fastball and took it over the cars in left field.
It started a rally that continued into the eighth inning, when they scored two more. It inspired Bruce Bochy to let Lincecum take his lead into the eighth, running his pitch count up to 132. Brian Wilson came in and took the liberty of recording his 36th save, and Lincecum added another win and 10 more strikeouts to his Cy Young-caliber totals.
Yet, the story comes back to Molina and Sandoval. Molina has been a rock for the Giants all season, especially against Colorado. He has been the offensive force, even with his midseason slump.
And his new student, his grasshopper, super-utility man, Pablo Sandoval, has been a powerhouse since his call-up. He's batting .372 and only has two games at the major-league level where he didn't record a hit.
He has proven to be versatile, being Barry Zito's presumed personal catcher, as well as a solid first baseman and is just as steadfast at the other corner spot at third.
This combo creates a great middle-of-the-lineup punch and should be for the rest of the season. Sandoval will have to find a home, though, with competition at first and Buster Posey waiting in the wings to be the catcher of the future. Oh, and he also has to take the pebble from his master's fist.
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