Giants offense comes alive, pours it on in much-needed win over Twins

Giants offense comes alive, pours it on in much-needed win over Twins


SAN FRANCISCO — The San Francisco Giants busted out of their offensive slump without a couple of key players.

Buster Posey led the way.

Posey had three hits and four RBIs, Hunter Pence added three doubles and scored three times, and the Giants beat the Minnesota Twins 13-8 on Sunday to avoid a three-game sweep.

Eduardo Nunez also had three hits and scored three times while rookie Austin Slater had three hits and a career-high four RBIs to help the Giants win for the fourth time in 12 games.

"The way we swung the bats, especially with runners in scoring position ... everybody did something," manager Bruce Bochy said. "Any time you sit regulars like that and you get a win and come from behind, that's nice. Those guys needed at-bats and had big days for us."

San Francisco had been held to two runs over the first two games of the series before setting season highs for hits (17) and scoring. The Giants also had a San Francisco record-tying eight doubles despite Bochy holding shortstop Brandon Crawford, center fielder Denard Span and second baseman Joe Panik out of the starting lineup.

Posey, who entered the day with the fourth-best batting average in the majors, had an RBI groundout in the first, a run-scoring single in the fifth and a key two-run double in the seventh.

Kelby Tomlinson singled and scored twice in a rare appearance batting leadoff for San Francisco. Slater, who made his major league debut on June 2, had a bases-loaded triple in the ninth.

"Today was a good game offensively," said Posey, who raised his average to .347. "Hopefully we're going in the right direction. When we were able to get the lead, it seemed like guys were taking good, aggressive swings after that."

Pence bounced back after striking out three times Saturday and again in his first at-bat Sunday. He had an RBI double in the seventh and in the ninth. The veteran right fielder had been 7 for 51 before breaking out against the Twins.

Josh Osich (1-1) retired three batters for the win.

Eduardo Escobar and Byron Buxton homered for Minnesota. Matt Belisle (0-1) got two outs and was charged with four runs and four hits.

"We had a lead late," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "Unfortunately a walk in the seventh turned into a disastrous seventh and we couldn't control them after that."


Reliever Sam Dyson didn't have the best of luck during his Giants debut. The former Texas closer failed to retire a batter in the ninth and was charged with three runs, two earned. Posey committed an error in the inning.

"He got a couple groundballs we couldn't handle," Bochy said. "He just had some bad luck unfortunately for him. He'll be fine. His stuff was really good. He just hadn't pitched in a while and I expected some rust."


San Francisco's offensive outburst spoiled the major league debut of Twins left-hander Nik Turley. The 27-year-old Turley, who spent 10 years in the minors, gave up four runs and nine hits in four-plus innings.

"I honestly can't remember what it felt like at the start," Turley said. "A lot of nerves. Sometimes it was hard for me to control what I wanted to do with my body."


Giants: Madison Bumgarner threw 30 pitches off a mound before the game and looked good, according to Bochy, who said that the left-hander could face hitters next weekend when the team plays in Colorado. It was Bumgarner's second time throwing off a mound since suffering a separated left shoulder and bruised ribs in dirt bike accident on April 20.


Twins: LHP Adalberto Mejia (1-1, 4.18 ERA) pitches the opener of a four-game series against Seattle in Minnesota on Monday.

Giants: LHP Ty Blach (4-3, 3.64 ERA) makes his 10th start since replacing Bumgarner in the rotation when San Francisco opens a two-game series against the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday.


Giants' outfield picture becoming clearer after latest round of roster cuts

Giants' outfield picture becoming clearer after latest round of roster cuts

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants moved closer to setting their opening day roster on Monday when they made a significant round of cuts to their spring training roster. 

A total of 15 players were reassigned or optioned, bringing the total to 31 players remaining in camp. Many of the players cut Monday entered the spring competing for jobs. 

In the outfield, Mac Williamson and Austin Slater were optioned to Triple-A and Chris Shaw was reassigned to minor league camp. Williamson had a huge spring and was the likeliest of the trio to push for an opening day spot, but he'll start his year in the minors. Steven Duggar was not among the cuts, and he remains an option to make the team, with the Giants also looking at Gregor Blanco, Gorkys Hernandez and Jarrett Parker for backup spots. Hernandez and Parker are out of minor league options. 

Tyler Beede was optioned and Andrew Suarez was reassigned to minor league camp, leaving three players vying for the final two rotation spots. Ty Blach and Chris Stratton have been the favorites all along, although both struggled the last time out and Derek Holland has had a strong spring. 

Both backup catchers -- Trevor Brown and Hector Sanchez -- were reassigned, along with Orlando Calixte, who saw time in the big leagues last year. Joan Gregorio, Jose Valdez, Justin O'Conner and Kyle Jensen were also reassigned. Chase d'Arnaud, who appeared to be making a strong push, was on the list, too, leaving Josh Rutledge as the only competition for Kelby Tomlinson for the final infield spot. 

Finally, Derek Law and Roberto Gomez were optioned to Triple-A. Josh Osich remains and appears the frontrunner for a bullpen job. Julian Fernandez, the Rule 5 pick, also remains in camp. 

The Giants break camp on Friday.

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.