San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval finished the 2014 postseason with 26 hits in 71 at-bats, breaking the single-postseason record of 25 hits that was previously shared by David Freese (2011 St. Louis Cardinals), Darin Erstad (2002 Anaheim Angels) and Marquis Grissom (1995 Atlanta Braves), per ESPN Stats & Info.
Sandoval, who had 24 hits during the 2012 postseason on his way to World Series MVP honors, needed a strong finish this time around to break the record he nearly got last time.
He entered Wednesday's deciding Game 7 with 23 hits this postseason, and was struck by a pitch in his first plate appearance. After his second plate appearance resulted in an infield single to start the fourth inning, Sandoval came around to score the final run of the World Series on Michael Morse's single, giving the Giants a 3-2 lead that would stand.
Kung Fu Panda later added a sixth-inning single and eighth-inning double to match, then pass the single-postseason hits record.
Each of the four players with at least 25 hits in a postseason won the World Series that year, but Freese's 2011 sticks out among the bunch.
In addition to the memorable clutch hits and World Series MVP trophy, Freese easily had the best statistics among the four players, recording the most home runs (five), RBI (21), doubles (eight) and walks (seven), with the highest marks of the bunch in batting average (.397), on-base percentage (.465) and slugging percentage (.794).
Though he had no home runs, just five RBI and a good but unspectacular .888 OPS in this year's playoffs, Sandoval put together a 2012 postseason that rivaled Freese's 2011, memorably hitting three home runs in Game 1 of the 2012 World Series against the Detroit Tigers, on the heels of strong showings in both the NLDS and NLCS.
The historic Game 1 performance put him on track for the single-postseason hits record, but the Giants ended things quickly with a sweep, and he managed just one hit in five at-bats during the Game 4 clincher.