SAN DIEGO -- Pablo Sandoval had no idea that the house he rents for himself and his mother near San Francisco nearly went up in flames during Thursday night's game here, nearly one more consequence of the horrific fireball gas line explosion that destroyed 38 homes and took four lives in San Bruno.
By Tuesday afternoon, the Giants' Kung Fu Panda, pretty sure his house is OK, was recounting the story of how the catastrophe caused his mother, Amelia, to be evacuated ... and then drive for the very first time in the United States.
"She was scared," Sandoval said. "So she got in the car and started driving."
With Pablo in San Diego with the Giants, Amelia -- who has driven before in the family's native Venezuela -- piled herself and Sandoval's 25-year-old cousin into Panda's Cadillac Escalade and set out for San Jose. Amelia's other son, Michael, plays in the Giants' farm system and was in San Jose preparing for a Class A California League playoff game.
"I don't care about the house, I care about my family," Sandoval said. "My mom had never driven in the States."
Sandoval had no idea of the explosion or evacuation until he returned to the clubhouse following San Francisco's 7-3 win Thursday night. There, he said he had around 35 text messages waiting on his cell phone asking things like "Is your house OK?" and "Is your family OK?"
"I called my mom and she was so scared she was crying," Sandoval said.
The area remained without electricity, water and cell phone service Friday, according to Sandoval.
Amelia Sandoval, who fortunately completed the drive without incident, remained in San Jose.
"She's not coming back until I come back," Sandoval said.
The Giants return home following Sunday's series finale here.
Meantime, the fire was said to be fully contained by noon on Friday. A total of 52 people were injured in the blast. San Bruno is located in an area overlooking the San Francisco Bay and the airport.
Likes: Set to face Padres ace Mat Latos in the marquee pitching matchup of the weekend on Sunday, Giants ace Tim Lincecum has pitched like he expects in his past two starts following his 0-5 August. "It was hell," he says. "I've never been through something like that, ever. It was an awakening." ... Reading Dan Epstein's Big Hair and Plastic Grass: A Funky Ride Through Baseball and America in the Swinging '70s. The photo of Oscar Gamble with the globe-sized Afro on the cover is worth the price of the book alone. It's all there: The ugly uniforms, the artificial turf, Disco Demolition night, some great Charles O. Finley stories and, of course, the Fritz Peterson-Mike Kekich family swap. "Some nights I would go home with Fritz, and some nights I would go home with Mike," Susan Kekich is quoted in the book. So is then-Yankees manager Ralph Houk: "In all my years in baseball, that was the biggest surprise that ever happened to me." And, of course, then-Yankees general manager Lee MacPhail's classic line: "We may have to call off Family Day this year." ... Is Saturday perfect or what? Stretch-run baseball and some outstanding college football games going all day and night.
Dislikes: Detroit's Carlos Guillen, out for the season because of knee surgery. ... Subway toasting their sandwiches. It slows down the process. Do we have to try to be all things to all people?
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"I wasn't born for diggin' deep holes
"I'm not made for pavin' long roads
"I ain't cut out to climb high line poles
"But I'm pretty good at drinkin' beer
"I'm not the type to work in a bank
"I'm no good at slappin' on paint
Don't have a knack for makin' motors crank, no
But I'm pretty good at drinkin' beer"
-- Billy Currington, Pretty Good at Drinkin' Beer