SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The swing that Pablo Sandoval hopes snaps him out of his early season slump is not the kind the San Francisco Giants have grown accustomed to seeing from the 2012 World Series MVP.
At this point, he'll take anything he can get.
Sandoval broke his bat, bruised his knuckles and grounded a single into center field to score the go-ahead run in the seventh inning, lifting the Giants to a 2-1 victory over the rival Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night and into first place in the NL West.
"He's one of those guys that you can't really throw it bad enough (to)," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.
The struggling Sandoval came through after reliever J.P. Howell (1-1) intentionally walked Hunter Pence with two outs. Sandoval, who entered the game batting just .164, missed badly on a sinker before taking a changeup from Howell up the middle to score Joaquin Arias from second.
"After the walk, I just tried to tell myself that I've got to try to do better in that situation and try to do the best that I can out there," Sandoval said. "After the first swing, I just told myself, 'Calm down. Get a pitch and try to play pepper to the middle of the field.'"
The big hit from the slugging third baseman came after Jean Machi (3-0) pitched out of a bases-loaded jam earlier in the seventh to keep the score tied.
Buster Posey also broke an 0-for-13 skid with an RBI single in the third to give the Giants a 1-0 lead. Dee Gordon's tying triple in the sixth accounted for the Dodgers' lone run.
Los Angeles at least dodged worse news.
Shortstop Hanley Ramirez left in the seventh after getting hit by a pitch from Ryan Vogelsong on the top of his left hand, slamming his helmet to the ground and hopping around in pain. The team said X-rays on Ramirez's hand were negative.
"It got me good," Ramirez said. "It's sore a little bit. I iced it twice already and I'll go back to the hotel and try to ice it twice before I go to bed so I can be in there (Thursday)."
Vogelsong, who broke two bones in his right pinkie after getting hit by a pitch last year, said it was "unfortunate to see it happen, but at the same time, I've got to be able to throw the ball inside."