Kung Fu Panda Hits For Cycle


The San Francisco Chronicle writes:

With the Giants all but finished in the postseason hunt, it was hard to imagine them accomplishing anything at Coors Field on Thursday night to upstage all of the intrigue in the executive suite back home.

Then Pablo Sandoval did it. In the sixth inning of an 8-5 Giants victory, their fifth in a row, the Kung Fu Panda huffed and puffed and demanded that his season-worn legs move as fast as they could around the bases toward third base.

With a head-first slide, Sandoval had a triple to complete a cycle, the 25th in franchise history and the first by a Giant since Fred Lewis’ at Coors Field in 2007. Sandoval also had the second in the majors this season. Milwaukee’s George Kottaras accomplished it against the Astros earlier this month.

“I was tired, but I was happy,” Sandoval said. “It was the first time I’ve done the cycle in the big leagues, so I have to be happy.”

That happiness was evident as he lifted his head at third base and flashed a huge smile, which might have been induced by third-base umpire Joe West.

As third-base coach Tim Flannery told it, “Joe asked Pablo if he needed any oxygen. Pablo said no, and Joe said, ‘We needed oxygen just watching you run.’ “

Sandoval racked Colorado starter Jhoulys Chacin for all four legs of the cycle, which he accomplished in his first four at-bats, seeing a total of 15 pitches.

He started with a two-run homer in the first inning, his 20th of the season, then singled to center in a three-run second. In the fifth, Sandoval took what almost looked like a checked swing and got enough of the ball for a double down the left-field line.

Panda knew he needed the triple for the cycle because everyone told him. Manager Bruce Bochy even rubbed his legs and said, “You’ve got to get those ready.”

With two outs in the sixth, Sandoval hit a drive to right-center that he thought might have been gone. It hit the base of the wall, and when he saw right fielder Carlos Gonzalez fall after missing the ball, Sandoval went into overdrive.

The dugout went bonkers as Sandoval rose at third and bent at the hips, exhausted.

Great job Pablo.


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