STL@SF: Noonan knocks a single for first career hit

SAN FRANCISCO -- Bad as it was facing a double-digit deficit in the ninth inning Sunday, the Giants had a positive -- three positives, actually -- to take away.

First, Brandon Belt broke out of an 0-for-13 slump with a clean single to right. After that, pinch-hitter Nick Noonan followed with his first Major League hit, a single to center off Joe Kelly. Then pinch-hitter Guillermo Quiroz scored Belt with a line-drive single to center -- his first hit and RBI with the Giants -- for the final run in a 14-3 loss.

Noonan, a 23-year-old rookie on his first Opening Day roster, made his debut Wednesday and had gone 0-for-2 pinch-hitting this season.

"Big sigh of relief," Noonan said, adding, "The anticipation builds at-bat after at-bat."

Regaining weight, not hitting, is Belt's biggest concern

OAK@SF: Belt blasts a solo home run in the sixth

SAN FRANCISCO -- In a bit of a surprise, Brandon Belt's swing feels better than his stomach.

He missed two of three games in the season-opening series vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers with a stomach virus and he said Sunday he's still not 100 percent. Meanwhile, he's 1-for-14 in his four games played.

But the swing he showcased during a fine Spring Training is there, he insists. He's not pressing and not too worred, which he admitted might not have been the case earlier in the 24-year-old's career.

"I feel good, just about as good as I felt in Spring Training," Belt said. "I keep hitting the ball well. That's a good sign for me."

It seems like he's much more closely monitoring the weight scale. He's lost 11 pounds from his Spring Training peak, so he's doing everything he can to gain it back. For example, dunking Olive Garden breadsticks into Alfredo sauce.

"I'm just trying to stuff as much [food] in my mouth as possible," he said.

Sandoval working on feeling good at plate

STL@SF: Panda crushes a solo homer to reduce deficit

SAN FRANCISCO -- Despite a .611 slugging percentage, two home runs and a team-high four RBIs through five games, Pablo Sandoval isn't feeling all that great at the plate.

It came as a surprise after his two-RBI, 2-for-4 showing with his second homer Saturday, but Sandoval said he feels "a little lost" at the plate.

How does he know? Because when's he not lost, he's not letting juicy fastballs pass him without sending them back. Against St. Louis Cardinals starter Shelby Miller, Sandoval apparently missed a fastball down the middle.

"When I feel good, I don't miss those pitches," he said.

On Sunday, hitting coach Hensley Meulens elaborated on Sandoval's concern.

Sandoval is fine, Meulens said. It's just fine-tuning his mechanics at the plate. After Sandoval's first at-bat Saturday against Miller, in which he flied out on an 0-1 fastball, Meulens took Sandoval to the video room to show him what was wrong.

"He was lunging and getting too far back," Muelens said. "Overall, he's not getting his feet down; that's why he's missing fastballs. I showed him those three home runs he had last year in the World Series. He was much shorter, getting his foot down, not overloaded at the bat. He corrected that very quickly."

Indeed, Sandoval came through with an RBI single in his next at-bat and a solo home run in the eighth inning.