Blach goes six innings, Giants outlast Tigers in Detroit

Blach goes six innings, Giants outlast Tigers in Detroit


DETROIT -- This wasn't an ideal matchup for the San Francisco Giants - a rookie lefty against a Detroit lineup full of powerful right-handed hitters.

Ty Blach was up to the challenge.

Blach took a shutout into the seventh inning, and the Giants held off a late Detroit rally in beating the Tigers 5-4 on Wednesday night. Blach allowed only three hits in the first six innings.

"We just wanted to go out and attack those guys. Try to get ahead early and be able to change speeds, keep them off balance," Blach said. "We knew they were going to be aggressive, and we were able to do that."

The Giants led 5-0 before Detroit scored four times in the seventh. Blach (6-5) was pulled after allowing a two-run single to Victor Martinez, and San Francisco needed three relievers to get through the inning. The Giants used five relievers in all, with Hunter Strickland pitching the eighth and Sam Dyson finishing for his third save.

The last-place Giants have won seven of their last eight games - after losing 12 of 13 before that.

Daniel Norris (4-7) permitted five runs and seven hits in four innings.

"I don't know, mentally, physically, whatever, I've got to be able to get over that hump and make pitches when I have to," Norris said.

Blach won his second consecutive start following a rough stretch through the middle of June. He was charged with three of the runs in the seventh, but by then, the Giants already had a big enough lead.

San Francisco scored two in the third, and Brandon Belt added an RBI single in the fourth. Hunter Pence followed with a two-run triple off Norris, who has lost his last three starts.

Norris has given up five runs in each of those games.

"Clearly, we need better results," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "It doesn't help us win games, and obviously it puts undue stress on the bullpen when they have to cover more innings."

The Giants nearly gave the whole lead away in the seventh. Miguel Cabrera singled to start the rally, and J.D. Martinez followed with a double. Victor Martinez's single made it 5-2, and George Kontos allowed a single to Mikie Mahtook.

Steven Okert struck out pinch-hitter Alex Avila, but Cory Gearrin came on and walked Jose Iglesias. With the bases loaded, Ian Kinsler hit a comebacker that bounced off Gearrin for a run-scoring single. A sacrifice fly by Nicholas Castellanos made it 5-4, but Justin Upton struck out to end the inning.

San Francisco leadoff man Gorkys Hernandez had three hits.


The Giants are 4-1 on their six-game road trip. The win Wednesday assured San Francisco of its first winning record on a road trip since going 3-2 from June 29 to July 3 last year. And that road swing began with a "trip" across the bay to Oakland for two games. "It's been a rough go," manager Bruce Bochy said. "It was a big win. It does secure a nice trip. We've got another big game, but it's just getting better all around."


Detroit activated OF Alex Presley from the seven-day concussion DL and designated OF Matt den Dekker for assignment. The Tigers also activated OF Jim Adduci from the seven-day DL and optioned him to Triple-A Toledo.

Detroit agreed to terms with first-round draft pick Alex Faedo, a right-hander who pitched at Florida.


Giants: LHP Madison Bumgarner (ribs, shoulder) allowed nine runs over four innings in a rehab start for Class A San Jose. He threw 76 pitches. ... 3B Conor Gillaspie (back) played in that game as well.

Tigers: Cabrera, who left Tuesday's game with left hip tightness, was in the starting lineup and had two hits.


Giants: RHP Johnny Cueto (6-7) takes the mound in the series finale.

Tigers: RHP Anibal Sanchez (0-0) tries for his third consecutive quality start.

Starting to rev things up, Hunter Pence has big night at plate and in left

Starting to rev things up, Hunter Pence has big night at plate and in left

PEORIA — Jeff Samardzija spent a couple minutes after Thursday’s start talking to reporters about how deep he thinks the Giants lineup can be. It’ll be a hell of a lot deeper if Hunter Pence keeps hitting like this. 

After a slow start to the spring, Pence is charging. He had three hits against the Padres: a triple that bounced off the top of the wall in right-center, a hard single up the middle, and a double to center. The more encouraging plays for the Giants happened in left field. Pence chased down a drive to the line in the third inning, leaving the bases loaded. He opened the fourth by going the other direction and gloving a fly ball to left-center. 

"A good game for Hunter, both ways," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's getting more comfortable out there. You can see it with the jumps he's getting right now. It takes a little while when you change positions, but I think he's going to be fine out there."

The Giants appear set to have Austin Jackson and Pence atop the lineup against left-handed starters, and that duo could see plenty of time early. Seven of the first nine games are against the Dodgers, who have four lefty starters. 

--- Evan Longoria had a double off the right-center wall on Wednesday after missing a week with a sore ankle. He had a single the same way in his second at-bat Thursday. More than the at-bats, Longoria has impressed with his soft hands and steady arm at third. The ankle looks fine, too. 

“My ankle feels pretty good,” Longoria said. “I don’t think it’s going to be an issue going forward.”

--- It’s been a quiet spring for Andrew McCutchen, but we saw the wheels tonight. McCutchen easily stole second after a two-run single in the fifth. When Evan Longoria bounced one to the left side, shortstop Freddy Galvis tried to go to third for the lead out, but McCutchen beat that throw, too. He got up and put his hands on his hips, as if to say, "Why'd you even try that?"

--- Samardzija allowed three homers in a six-batter span in the third. He allowed three homers in an inning in his previous start, too, but he said he’s not concerned. Samardzija deemed it a sequencing issue. He’s working in a new changeup and threw it in situations he normally wouldn’t; Eric Hosmer took advantage of a floating one, crushing it to deep, deep right for the third homer. 

--- With a runner on, Brandon Belt put down a perfect bunt to foil the shift. Belt does that every spring, particularly against NL West teams, but rarely during the regular season. Maybe this will be the year?

Belt later crushed a homer to deep right. That had to feel good for a number of reasons. Belt is fighting a cold and he learned earlier in the day that his college coach, Augie Garrido, had passed away.

Josh Osich goes back to his roots looking to unleash all the potential


Josh Osich goes back to his roots looking to unleash all the potential

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — For most pitchers, spring training is a time to experiment and add a pitch or two. Josh Osich is using this month to go the other direction. 

Osich spent the offseason watching film of his 2015 season, when he looked like he might one day be the closer in San Francisco, and decided that he needed to get back to his roots. That means the curveball, which he tried so hard to mix in last year, is now far back in the cupboard. The four-seam and two-seam fastballs are once again the focus, with an emphasis on changing eye levels more than he did a year ago. The changeup and cutter will round out his arsenal for the most part. 

Osich’s raw stuff is still as good as just about any lefty reliever in the league, and he hopes to take advantage of that while putting a rough 2017 season in his rearview mirror. He had a 6.23 ERA last season and 1.73 WHIP.

“It’s just one of those learning years,” Osich said. “I tried to live at the bottom of the zone and I was, but I was actually below the zone. So then I would fall behind and need to throw a strike and that’s when guys would hit me.”

Osich, 29, had a 2.20 ERA and 1.12 WHIP during that 2015 season that he keeps going back to. He walked eight batters in 28 2/3 innings, a far cry from the 27 he walked in 43 1/3 last year. While watching the 2015 version of himself, Osich saw that his hands were higher, and that’s something he’s working to replicate. He’s also trying to slow his pace to the plate. So far, the results are nothing but encouraging. Osich allowed one hit and struck out one in a 2 1/3 inning appearance on Wednesday night. Manager Bruce Bochy let him extend himself to keep the good vibes going. 

In six appearances this spring, Osich has allowed just four hits over seven scoreless innings. He has seven strikeouts and one walk. 

“O, it just seems like he’s got confidence,” Bochy said. “He’s kept it simple, he’s not tinkering with different pitches. He’s throwing more strikes, and more than anything he’s just trying to pound the strike zone now with quality strikes. That’s all he has to do. You look at him and he’s hitting 95 with a couple of good off-speed pitches. That works here.”