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Zito struggles, Sandoval injured in Giants loss

Associated Press Published: May 3, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Barry Zito is back to walking batters with regularity. The offense is suddenly struggling, and Pablo Sandoval has an injured hand that could sideline the Giants slugger.

San Francisco's 2012 season is starting to feel a lot like 2011 all over again.

Zito tied a career-high with seven walks and Sandoval left after the sixth inning with an injured left hand and wrist, highlighting a 3-2 loss in 10 innings to the Miami Marlins on Wednesday night.

"We just have to keep our heads up and pick up some slack around here," said Zito, who lasted only 3 2-3 innings.

The Giants rallied from two runs down against struggling Marlins closer Heath Bell to force extra innings.

Then Giancarlo Stanton homered off Santiago Casilla (0-1) in the 10th to bail out Bell. Stanton's third long ball of the season followed a wild ninth that saw struggling Bell blow his fourth save in seven chances and raise even more doubt about the back-end of Miami's bullpen.

Carlos Zambrano pitched seven scoreless innings, and Steve Cishek (3-0) relieved Bell for the final six outs to give Miami its second straight win in San Francisco.

Even worse for San Francisco, Sandoval left after grounding out in the sixth with a left hand and wrist injury. Manager Bruce Bochy said it was unclear how the third baseman hurt his hand.

Sandoval, who missed about a quarter of the season last summer after surgery on his right wrist, is batting .316 with five home runs and 15 RBIs this year. No immediate X-rays were taken, a team spokesman said, and Sandoval will be reevaluated Thursday.

"I have a lot of concern," Bochy said. "You just hope for the best."

A series of mistakes by Miami's new high-priced closer almost turned into another loss.

Brandon Belt lined a double to left leading off the bottom of the ninth. Joaquin Arias singled home Belt, and Buster Posey followed with another hit to chase Bell.

After Cishek struck out pinch-hitter Brett Pill, Gregor Blanco bunted down the first-base line. Gaby Sanchez fielded the ball cleanly but had no play, allowing Arias to score the tying run.

Angel Pagan grounded into a fielder's choice and Melky Cabrera had an infield single to short that loaded the bases. Ryan Theriot, batting in Sandoval's place, hit weak groundout to second sent the game to extra innings, where Miami backed its struggling closer.

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