SAN FRANCISCO -- With each playoff hit that he lashes, Pablo Sandoval is distancing himself from a forgettable regular season.
That's good news for the Giants, whose mad comeback in the National League Championship Series has coincided with their No. 3 hitter heating up in the batter's box.
Two more hits in Sunday's 6-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals lifted Sandoval's batting average to .326 in the postseason, tops among Giants regulars. He also leads the team with three home runs and eight RBIs, and that injury-marred regular season appears further and further in the rearview mirror.
"It's exciting," Sandoval said. "You have your ups and downs during the season. So you have to keep your head up, keep your mindset and be focused. You see the results right now in the postseason."
In the past four games, Sandoval is 7 for 17 (.412) with two homers and five RBIs.
Production from the Panda has been crucial considering the Giants' 4-5 hitters, Buster Posey and Hunter Pence, are a combined 6 for 45 with two RBIs for the series.
"That's what we need out of him," shortstop Brandon Crawford said. "He's come through plenty of times for us."
Sandoval's first-inning double off the center-field wall Sunday moved Marco Scutaro around to third base. Scutaro would score moments later on Posey's grounder to give the Giants the early lead.
Sandoval grounded an RBI single through the right side during a four-run rally in the second that made it 5-0.
What a switch from a regular season in which Sandoval's stats disappointed across the board. He hit .283, a drop from .315 in 2011. His 12 homers were his lowest output since he broke into the major leagues full-time in 2009, and his 63 RBIs tied his career-low.
Two lengthy stints on the disabled list contributed to that. Between a fractured hamate bone in his left hand in May and a strained left hamstring in late July, Sandoval missed 53 games.
As for his revival at the plate, Sandoval credits a more disciplined approach of late.
"You just go in there with a good approach," Sandoval said, "and (based on) the way they throw you, you have to make adjustments."