July 1, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval (48) celebrates after hitting a two-run home run against the St. Louis Cardinals during the fourth inning at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Pre-game & lineups: Pablo Sandoval returns for San Francisco Giants

After a couple of days to rest his bruised elbow, Pablo Sandoval returns to the San Francisco Giants lineup tonight against the Oakland A’s. Poor Joaquin Arias, his two hits were the only bright spot in an otherwise forgettable 5-0 loss last night in Oakland.

That’s a disturbing trend for the Giants. The team has been shut out four times in their last eight games and 9 times this season.

First pitch is 7:05 PT from the O.co Coliseum as All-Star LHP Madison Bumgarner (9-6, 3.09 ERA) takes the hill for the Giants against RHP Sonny Gray (8-3, 3.08 ERA) and the A’s.

Bumgarner allowed 9 earned runs while losing his last 2 starts, both at home. The road is a different story. In his last 6 road starts Bumgarner is 5-0 with a 1.05 ERA. For some reason he’s pitched better away from AT&T Park this year.

A’s starter Gray is making his first ever start against the Giants. Michael Morse is the only player on the roster to have faced him in a regular season game (0-for-3).

There’s a change again at the top of the lineup as Bruce Bochy tries to do whatever he can to spread out the hits and produce some runs. Gregor Blanco is back at number 1 as Hunter Pence slides to the number 2 position.

Tonight’s lineups:

Giants
Gregor Blanco CF
Hunter Pence RF
Brandon Belt 1B
Buster Posey C
Pablo Sandoval 3B
Michael Morse DH
Tyler Colvin LF
Joe Panik 2B
Brandon Crawford SS

A’s
Coco Crisp CF
Craig Gentry RF
Yoenis Cespedes LF
Josh Donaldson 3B
Derek Norris C
Nate Freiman 1B
Jed Lowrie SS
Alberto Callaspo DH
Nick Punto 2B

I’m not going to throw anymore horrible stats at you. The Giants need a win and they know it.

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