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Pablo Sandoval played a shockingly good second base last night

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Joe Panik is on the disabled list and Kelby Tomlinson isn’t hitting. Between that and the fact that Buster Posey had a day off due to an ailing hip, Giants manager Bruce Bochy decided to go with Operation: Panda at second base for last night’s Giants-Cubs game in Chicago. It worked surprisingly well.

Sandoval came up as a catcher and has played most of his time in the bigs as a third baseman. He served as an emergency second base option for a partial inning for Boston last year, but when you think of him your mind does not immediately think “middle infielder.” With a new lease on baseball life back in San Francisco, however, he’s taken the “team-player” ethos to heart and seems willing to do whatever he’s asked. He recently pitched in relief and, in recent weeks has been taking grounders at second, just in case.

Last night he got the start and, because they are nothing if not hilarious, the Baseball Gods decided to make the ball find Sandoval a couple of times right off the bat. Cubs leadoff hitter Albert Almora Jr. hit a ball to the pitcher Ty Blach that ricocheted to Sandoval. He picked it up with his bare hand, but Almora beat the throw. Next up was Javier Baez, who hit a grounder to second which Sandoval snagged with a dive to his left, pulling a 360 and pegging Baez at first. Watch:

He’d later help turn a double play.

The decision to put Sandoval in the game paid off on offense too, as he went 1-for-3 with a run driven in. His fun did not last all game long, however, as he was lifted in a double switch midway through the game.

The Giants lost because Blach pitched terribly, but the putting Sandoval in at second base was an unexpected win.

Nationals’ Strasburg ejected for arguing from the stands

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NEW YORK — A pitcher getting ejected for arguing balls and strikes – on his day off? And, from the stands?

Nationals star Stephen Strasburg earned one of baseball’s most unique ejections – probably ever – in the third inning of Washington’s game against the New York Mets on Thursday.

Strasburg was sitting in Section 121 at Citi Field in this socially distant season because he’s scheduled to start Friday against Baltimore Orioles. He was apparently unhappy with the strike zone of plate umpire Carlos Torres after Austin Voth‘s 2-2 pitch to Pete Alonso on the outside corner was ruled a ball.

Moments later, Torres ejected last year’s World Series MVP, though it took a few seconds to realize who had been tossed.

Someone was heard yelling: “You’re (expletive) brutal” shortly before television cameras captured Strasburg doffing his cap as he walked up the staircase on his way out of the park.

“Sorry, folks – sorry, FCC,” Mets broadcaster Gary Cohen said on SNY.

The usually stoic Strasburg appeared to be grinning underneath his blue mask as he made his exit.