MIAMI — Pablo Sandoval credited his recent weight loss for his ability to beat out an infield hit that proved to be a turning point in the game.
Sandoval's pivotal RBI single started a four-run fourth inning to help lift the San Francisco Giants to a 6-4 win over the Marlins on Saturday night a day after they outslugged Miami 14-10.
"Great hustle, it probably won the game for us," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "It kept the rally going."
It would have been the final out of the inning as Logan Morrison raced to the bag, but Sandoval made a head-first slide to beat the Miami first baseman and allow Brandon Belt to score.
"It worked, hustle," Sandoval said. "That's a good rally for us. You have to play like that no matter what situation. That's the guy that I am, I play hard every day no matter what the situation is."
Sandoval has lost 22 pounds in the past six weeks after hiring his older brother, Luis, to be his full-time chef. And when asked if he could have beaten out the play at first prior to his recent transformation, Sandoval responded with an emphatic, "No."
Following Sandoval's hustle play, Miami pitcher Henderson Alvarez (2-2) then balked home a run and Gregor Blanco tripled, driving in Sandoval and Roger Kieschnick for a 4-0 lead. Center fielder Jake Marisnick made a dive for the ball, but could not get a glove on it.
"Jake got aggressive trying to catch that fly ball in center and didn't catch it and it cost us a couple runs," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said.
The Marlins cut the deficit to 4-2 on a two-run home run by Giancarlo Stanton in the sixth off of Matt Cain (8-8), who allowed two runs and four hits in seven innings.
On the pitch prior to Stanton's home run, Cain threw a ball that brushed back Stanton, causing him to fall to the ground. After the game Stanton said the pitch hit him on the wrist, but had no way to prove it to home plate umpire David Rackley.
Stanton got up and responded with his 14th home run of the season, an estimated 446-foot blast to left-center field.
"I'll take it instead of a hit-by-pitch," Stanton said.
Cain wasn't happy with allowing the homer and struck out the next three batters.
"I was definitely heated," Cain said.
Sandoval drew a bases-loaded walk in the eighth and Andres Torres hit an RBI single to push the Giants lead to 6-2.
"It's always important to get insurance runs," Bochy said. "It gives you a bigger margin of error."
Morrison hit a two-run double in the bottom of the eighth to pull the Marlins to 6-4.
Sergio Romo retired the Marlins in order in the ninth to record his 30th save in 34 chances.
"He made some great pitches hitting his spots tonight," Bochy said. "He's done a very well in that closing role."
Alvarez allowed four runs, four hits and four walks while striking out four in seven innings.
NOTES: Giants 2B Marco Scutaro left the game in the sixth with a tight lower back. ... Belt went 0 for 2, snapping his career-long hitting streak at 11 games. ... Marlins 3B Placido Polanco was given the day off after getting hit in the head by a pitch during Friday's game. "It looks like he's going to be OK," Redmond said. "Today is a day he just kind of takes it easy. Maybe he'll feel better (Sunday). He definitely dodged one there and I'm glad he's OK." ... Former Giants pitcher Guillermo Mota received his World Series ring before the game. "It's unbelievable," Mota said. "I just get excited when I see that ring. It's better than the last one." Mota, 40, has aspirations of returning to the Giants next season and believes he has two years left. ... Giants CF Angel Pagan (hamstring) went 0 for 1 for the rookie-level Giants on Friday in his first rehab assignment. "It went fine," Bochy said. "He's going to go five innings (Saturday), he had a couple of at-bats and had a lot of plays out in the outfield and is moving around well. First game went well for him." ... San Francisco LHP Madison Bumgarner (11-7, 2.73 ERA) will pitch Sunday's series finale against Miami RHP Tom Koehler (3-8, 4.62 ERA).