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Sandoval, Giants Pound Rockies

(Sept. 19, 2012) -- Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval took his turn in the spotlight Wednesday night by hitting his first home run since July 8 in San Francisco's 7-1 victory over the Colorado Rockies at AT&T Park.


Starter Matt Cain also established a personal single-season best with his 15th victory, which lengthened the Giants' winning streak to three and their National League West lead to nine games over second-place Los Angeles. San Francisco also trimmed its magic number for clinching the division title to five.


"We feel like when the day starts, we're going to go out there and win," Cain said, describing the Giants' collective confidence. "If we have a bad day, it's no big deal."


Sandoval's three-hit effort featured a three-run homer in the first inning. By golfing Tyler Chatwood's 1-2 pitch off the base of the right-field foul-pole screen, Sandoval concluded a stretch of 181 plate appearances, spanning 41 games, without a homer. He also broke an 11-game streak without an RBI.


Sandoval flashed his characteristic sense of humor while discussing his homer.


"It was a back-door slider -- no, it was a back-foot slider," he said, describing the pitch he smashed. "It was low. If I didn't hit it, I probably would have gotten hit by that pitch. I don't know how I hit it."


Sandoval also got a fifth-inning single that launched a three-run uprising that included Gregor Blanco's two-run single. Blanco also piled up three hits for the first time since July 3.


With Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro often reaching base in front of him and Buster Posey terrorizing pitchers behind him, Sandoval could give the Giants' a real boost down the stretch if he stays hot.


Meanwhile, Cain (15-5) eclipsed the 14-8 mark he posted in 2009.


"It feels good to finally get past that 14 number," said Cain, who finished 13-11 in 2010 and 12-11 last year. "But you know what? We've got games left, and I don't want to stop now."


Barry Zito will take the mound for the Giants Thursday afternoon in hopes of completing the series sweep of the Rockies. Lefty Jorge De La Rosa will start for Colorado. He is making his first Major League appearance since May 24, 2011, and he's been out since undergoing Tommy John surgery.