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Report: Pablo Sandoval is interested in reuniting with Giants

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FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that third baseman Pablo Sandoval may be interested in a reunion with the Giants, according to an unnamed source close to the infielder. It’s not the first time the two have been linked, and Heyman adds that the Giants have expressed some unofficial interest in bringing Sandoval back to San Francisco. The Red Sox designated Sandoval for assignment on Friday and have nine days remaining to facilitate a trade before he passes through waivers. Assuming he gets released after clearing waivers, any team he signs with will only be responsible for the minimum salary requirements, leaving Boston to pick up the rest of his $95 million check.

Sandoval, 30, failed to impress during his three-year stay in Boston. He slashed .245/.292/.366 with the Red Sox in 2015 and sat on the bench for all but three games of the 2016 season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder. He returned to the Sox’ lineup in 2017, but batted an underwhelming .212/.269/.354 with four home runs and a .622 OPS through the first half of the season.

Returning to San Francisco could give Sandoval the change of pace he needs for a bounce-back performance, but it also comes with its fair share of controversy. The two sides didn’t part amicably in 2014, when the veteran infielder made some disparaging comments about the team and cited a lack of respect between general manager Brian Sabean and his former agent, Gustavo Vasquez. Sandoval appears to have had a change of heart in the years since his departure, and there’s no doubt the Giants could use another glove in the hot corner, but whether the two can come to an agreement remains to be seen.

Phillies walk off winners thanks to a poor decision by Marcell Ozuna

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The Phillies’ bullpen, which has not been good as of late, gift-wrapped Monday’s game for the Cardinals. Starter Nick Pivetta was brilliant, fanning 13 while allowing two runs in 7 1/3 innings. But things unraveled after he left the game. Victor Arano took over for Edubray Ramos to start the ninth inning with the Phillies leading 4-2, but he allowed a one-out single and a double. After striking out Harrison Bader, Arano appeared to strike out Yairo Munoz for the final out of the game, but the ball trickled through the legs of catcher Andrew Knapp, allowing a run to score and the tying run to move to third base. Lefty Adam Morgan came in to face pinch-hitter Kolten Wong. Wong tied the game up, sneaking a single into center field.

In the 10th inning, Jake Thompson gave up the go-ahead run on a leadoff home run to Tommy Pham. It seemed like it was just going to be another one of those losses that have become increasingly common for the Phillies lately. But the Phillies’ offense didn’t go down quietly, even though it hadn’t put a runner on second base since the start of the second inning when J.P. Crawford doubled. In the bottom half of the 10th, Hoskins blooped a single into shallow left-center to start the inning. Hoskins moved to second base on a ground out from Odubel Herrera. Matt Bowman intentionally walked Carlos Santana, then struck out Jesmuel Valentin. That brought up Aaron Altherr, who replaced Nick Williams after Williams took a baseball to the face off of the right field fence. Bowman fell behind 2-1, then threw a 90 MPH fastball that Altherr lined into left field. Rather than keep the ball in front of him, Marcell Ozuna decided to dive for the ball to make the final out, but he missed. The ball trickled past him, allowing the tying and the game-winning runs to score, giving the Phillies a come-from-behind win.

On the list of people happy to see Ozuna miss that ball are Altherr (of course), Arano, Morgan, and Thompson. But perhaps no one was happier than manager Gape Kapler. The win might help take the heat off of him somewhat after another poor performance from the bullpen. When a team struggles, everyone wants a scapegoat and Kapler is an easy target. He has been all year, undeservingly.

Phillies radio broadcaster and former major league reliever Larry Anderson said after the bullpen meltown, “Not everybody can pitch in the ninth inning. And I know Gabe Kapler thinks they can, but they can’t.” Aside from Ramos and Seranthony Dominguez (who was unavailable after throwing 52 pitches between Saturday and Sunday in Milwaukee), no one in that bullpen has been reliable. The closer, Hector Neris, just got optioned to Triple-A. You work with what you have, and right now, Kapler doesn’t have a whole lot. Thankfully for him, he wasn’t punished with another loss thanks to Ozuna.