Sandoval has final AB for Bochy ahead of surgery

SAN FRANCISCO -- Pablo Sandoval gave fans at Oracle Park plenty of reason to cheer during 10 seasons over two stints with the San Francisco Giants.

On Sunday, in what could be his final game in San Francisco, a crowd of nearly 39,000 rose to honor Sandoval once again.

It didn't take a storybook home run. Not even a base hit. Just a routine pinch-hit groundout that had fans cheering wildly and snapping pictures of the two-time All-Star.

"Just one of those moments you don't want to forget,'' Sandoval said after the Giants' 8-4 loss to the San Diego Padres. "I didn't get the result I wanted, but I got the best result, the love from the fans.''

It was a highly emotional day from the start for Sandoval.

The 33-year-old former World Series MVP was activated off the injured list earlier in the day for a final at-bat under retiring manager Bruce Bochy.

Sandoval will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery on his right elbow Wednesday.

The popular "Kung Fu Panda'' drew a loud, lengthy cheer when he went to the on-deck circle in the seventh inning.

The crowd rose for a standing ovation and fans held phones to take pictures and video the moment when Sandoval walked to the plate following Brandon Crawford's single.

After taking a first-pitch strike from reliever Luis Perdomo, Sandoval tapped a weak grounder to third baseman Manny Machado.

"At least I hit the ball. I didn't strike out,'' a grinning Sandoval said.

Bochy greeted Sandoval as he came back to the dugout.

"I said, 'It's been a joy,''' Bochy said. "Obviously we were hoping to get a base hit there, but I think he saw how much he's loved here with the crowd. What a great ovation they gave him.''

Losing pitcher Jeff Samardzija echoed his manager's thoughts on Sandoval.

"He deserved that and a lot more,'' Samardzija said. "Everything he's done for this organization is unbelievable, just how clutch he's been. Pablo's a top-notch guy and a great teammate.''