Pablo Sandoval hurt his thumb Tuesday night.

PITTSBURGH -- Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval was out of the starting lineup Wednesday, but he ended up seeing some action.

Sandoval injured his left thumb on Tuesday night when the Pirates' Starling Marte kicked his glove hand on a slide into third base in the ninth inning.

"His thumb on his glove hand is pretty sore," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's going to try and take some swings in the cage and let me know if he's available to come off the bench."

Sandoval was hitting .167 and was in a 3-for-25 slump at the plate entering Wednesday's action, but he delivered a single off the bench after pinch-hitting for Tim Lincecum in the fifth inning of a 4-3 loss to the Pirates. Sandoval eventually came around to score on Brandon Belt's two-run double.

"This guy can hit," Bochy said. "You get caught if you give him a couple of days, it would be nice if Joaquin Arias was swinging the bat a little better, that would make that a little easier, too. But we need to get Sandoval going, but there does come a point where you know if you gotta make a change, you make it."

Sanchez showing Giants value behind plate

SF@PIT: Sanchez has a four-hit, three-RBI game

PITTSBURGH -- Hector Sanchez is the Giants' backup catcher. He plays behind Buster Posey, which means Sanchez doesn't play a lot, but he caught all 13 innings in the Giants' 11-10 win over the Pirates on Monday night.

Sanchez was back behind the plate replacing Posey in Wednsday's day game.

"His groin was a little tight going into the game on Monday night," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Sanchez. "After Posey came out, I had to keep him in there."

Sanchez had a season-high four hits on Monday night, matching his career high. His teammates appreciate what he brings to the table.

"We have a tremendous amount of respect for Sanchez," Giants outfielder Hunter Pence said. "What he brings to this team, not only did he catch that many innings, he had quite a few -- not just one -- extremely clutch hits, extremely difficult at-bats. Coming off the bench on a game-to-game basis, he's the guy that comes in, in big situations. He's got that personality that freedom and that "it" factor. He's big to this ballclub."

Entering Wednesday's action, Sanchez was tied for fifth on the club with 14 RBIs despite having just 50 plate appearances.

Worth noting

• The Giants are 10-2 this season when playing day games, compared to an 11-10 mark at night.

• The Giants are 7-1 against opponents outside the NL West Division.