SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants absorbed the type of defeat Wednesday night that normally would have knocked the collective wind out of them. Instead, their 3-2, 10-inning loss to the Miami Marlins left the Giants holding their breath.The Giants weren't brooding about Giancarlo Stanton's homer in the 10th that snapped a 2-2 tie. Until further notice, they must worry about third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who sustained a left-hand injury and was removed from the game after grounding out in the sixth inning. "He took a swing, had quite a bit of pain and had to come out," manager Bruce Bochy said. Sandoval missed 40 games last year with a fractured hamate bone in his right hand. The Giants, who were bound for their first shutout defeat of the season until they forced extra innings with two ninth-inning runs, continue to struggle offensively and can ill afford to lose Sandoval for any prolonged length of time. One of two Giants -- Melky Cabrera is the other -- to have started every game, Sandoval leads the team with five home runs and 15 RBIs, besides batting .316. Sandoval's condition will be re-evaluated Thursday morning. Asked whether the uncertainty surrounding Sandoval's condition disturbed him, Bochy said, "Quite a bit, to be honest. For him to come out of the game, there's a lot of concern here. We know what this guy means to our club, our offense. We have a couple of guys out already with [Freddy] Sanchez and [Aubrey] Huff. You just hope for the best right now. That's all we can do." Though such speculation might be premature, it's anybody's guess how the Giants would replace Sandoval if he were sidelined. Infielders Joaquin Arias, Emmanuel Burriss and Ryan Theriot have minimal experience at third base. Summoning Conor Gillaspie from Triple-A Fresno might be an option the Giants consider. But the Giants don't want to contemplate any of that right now. "It's already been a dificult year as far as injuries go," starter Barry Zito said. The left-hander cited not only the absences of Sanchez and Huff but also closer Brian Wilson -- whose replacement, Santiago Casilla, has converted all four of his save opportunities, but yielded Stanton's drive over the left-field wall with one out in the 10th. Zito had more on his mind after surrendering two runs and lasting only 3 2/3 innings, mainly because he matched a career-high with seven walks. "I didn't feel good tonight. I had bad rhythm," he said. "I think I was rushing my delivery a bit when guys got on base." Yet Zito, who entered with a 1.67 ERA that ranked ninth in the National League, could have gone unscored upon with a little luck. Zito sandwiched a pair of walks around Hanley Ramirez's single in the first inning to load the bases with one out. Omar Infante rapped a grounder to shortstop Brandon Crawford, who briefly bobbled the ball and likely cost the Giants an inning-ending double play. Catcher Hector Sanchez's passed ball helped set up Miami's second-inning run, which scored as Arias, playing second base, allowed Emilio Bonifacio's grounder to slip by him for an error. Meanwhile, Marlins starter Carlos Zambrano yielded five hits in seven innings. But San Francisco roused itself in the ninth against Miami closer Heath Bell. Brandon Belt doubled and scored on Arias' single. Buster Posey, whose double-play grounder ended an eighth-inning rally Tuesday night, sliced a pinch-hit single to right that moved Arias to third base. Miami manager Ozzie Guillen replaced Bell with right-handed sidearmer Steve Cishek, who fanned pinch-hitter Brett Pill. Then Gregor Blanco dragged a bunt single up the first-base line that Gaby Sanchez dropped as Arias scored. Angel Pagan grounded into a force play, but Cabrera loaded the bases with an infield single that Miami shortstop Jose Reyes smothered, which kept the ball from trickling into left field and prevented Blanco from scoring the winning run. The inning ended as Ryan Theriot hit a smash up the middle that turned into another forceout. With all due respect to Theriot, it should be noted that he was hitting in Sandoval's spot. There's no telling what might have happened if Sandoval had been able to saunter to the plate.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.