COL@SF: Sandoval sends a solo shot off the flagpole

DENVER -- Pablo Sandoval came into Colorado after a day of rest Sunday and was ready to take a rejuvenated approach in a new spot in the lineup.

"He knew he was getting the day yesterday," manager Bruce Bochy said of Sandoval's status. "He was very upbeat in the dugout. The pitcher's spot was coming up at the end. If it did, he would have hit. He should be good to go today. I just think he needed a break, mentally as much as anything yesterday."

The struggling third baseman was hitting .171 (12-for-70) on the season entering the series opener with the Rockies. But Coors Field is a prodigious slump buster, and Sandoval matches up well against Monday's starter Jorge De La Rosa over the course of his career, hitting him at a .324 (11-for-34) clip.

Sandoval's numbers aren't as high one might expect at a hitter's haven like Coors Field. He owns a .245 (38-for-155) average in 40 games, but project his eight home runs and 25 RBIs over the course of a full season, and his numbers add up to a more dangerous output than he's ever compiled in a full season.

"He has [done well here]," Bochy said of Sandoval. "Most of the parks we play in are pitchers' parks in our division, except for here and Arizona."

Bochy moved Sandoval from his customary spot in the three-hole and is batting him fifth for the first time this season in hopes of getting more relaxed at-bats from his third baseman.

Pence likely to get day off despite lengthy streak

SF@COL: Pence hits a ground-rule double

DENVER -- Hunter Pence remains the last man standing from the Giants' Opening Day lineup -- the only player to start each of the Giants' first 20 games this season.

Monday's start in the series opener in Colorado marked his 191st consecutive start, the longest streak in the National League and second in the Majors to Prince Fielder's 524 consecutive starts. Manager Bruce Bochy has indicated that Pence is likely to get a day off before too long.

"We've talked about it," Bochy said. "I even told him this spring, probably we'd like to do it early so we don't get caught up in a streak. He's pretty adamant that he wants to play every day. When he's tired, he'll let me know. He'll do whatever, but he wants to be out there."

It's hard to argue with Pence's numbers from 2013, when he played in all 162 games and hit .283 with 27 homers and 99 RBIs.

But in 2013, Pence is off to a .181 (13-for-72) start with one home run and three RBIs.

"This guy is pretty tough," Bochy said, rejecting the idea that Pence is in need of a break. "Mentally he's as tough as they come, and a very positive thinker. He's thrown up some good at-bats. He's had hard luck. He's going to come out of this; it's a matter of time. He's not caught up in the numbers at all. If you watch Hunter play, he never lets up. Sometimes that'll show when you're getting beat up a little bit, as far as having success. With him it never shows."

Pence entered Monday in an 0-for-10 slump and was 2-for-17. He was hitless through the three-game series in San Diego.

"He hit some balls really hard there," Bochy said. "That happens in Petco. The ball just stays up there a little bit longer and it gives the outfield a chance to run them down."

Pence has shown his value, however, already surpassing his 2013 total of outfield assists with three and leading the team with four stolen bases.

"Right now he's going to be out there," Bochy said. "We need him. One thing he does give you is energy at the top of the lineup. He stole a couple of big bases there in San Diego."