Watch: Pablo Sandoval snaps 0-for-39 streak with a home run

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It’s only been two months and change since the Giants signed Pablo Sandoval to a minor league contract, and already they’ve seen the best and worst he has to offer. Sandoval replaced a concussed Brandon Belt in August and promptly slashed .288/.329/.394 through his first 18 games with the club. By the end of the month, his surge at the plate fizzled into an 0-for-39 streak, during which he managed just four walks and a single run scored over 11 consecutive games.

On Friday, the Giants caught a glimpse of the old Sandoval again. He ripped into a 1-2 changeup from the White Sox’ Lucas Giolito, sending it a projected 413 feet into the right field bleachers for a three-run homer in the fourth:

One four-RBI performance does not a comeback make, however, and Sandoval still has a long way to go if he wants to prove he can return to the .300+ average, 20+ homer production he maintained during his peak years with the Giants in 2009-2011. The answer, according to club manager Bruce Bochy, might have something to do with the two off days he gave the third baseman on Wednesday and Thursday.

I’ll take the blame a little bit,” Bochy told reporters following Friday’s win. “I probably should have rested him a little bit more. We went through a tough part of the schedule, the doubleheader, playing in Florida and getting in late — he’s the one guy that didn’t get a break or miss an inning. It might have caught up with him.

The home run not only snapped Sandoval’s skid, but kickstarted an impressive rally from the 56-87 Giants, who added another six runs to their eventual 9-2 win. Buster Posey stole home in the sixth, followed by a sac fly from Sandoval and a seventh-inning RBI double by Brandon Crawford. Denard Span went deep in the ninth with his 11th homer of the year, while Nick Hundley sprinkled a pair of runs to cap the win with a two-run single off of Juan Minaya. With the win, the Giants are 2-8 in their last 10 games and sit a cool 21 games out of playoff contention.

Aaron Judge set a new postseason strikeout record

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For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:

The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).

It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: