Return home does Giants no good, Twins pitch shutout in win


Return home does Giants no good, Twins pitch shutout in win


SAN FRANCISCO  — The Minnesota Twins have come to expect dominant pitching from Ervin Santana. His contributions with the bat on the other hand were a pleasant surprise.

Santana pitched a four-hitter for his third shutout of the season and hit a three-run double in another stellar bounce-back start, leading the Twins to a 4-0 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Friday night.

"For a guy to come through in that situation, it's a lot of excitement on the bench to say the least," Twins manager Paul Molitor said of Santana's hit that broke the game open. "He knows enough to try to put the ball in play and not overswing. If you somehow put it in play, something good might happen."

It was a good night all around for Santana (8-3), who recovered from a seven-run shelling last Saturday against the Angels to shut down the Giants in an efficient 91-pitch outing. He struck out five, walked one and started 26 of the 31 batters he faced with first-pitch strikes.

"I felt comfortable, threw a lot of strikes and kept the ball down for the most part," he said. "Location was good. Just first-pitch strikes the whole game."

Santana has allowed at least five runs in three starts this season and followed all of them with scoreless outings, including two game shutouts.

Matt Moore (2-7) allowed four runs in six innings to extend his winless streak to five starts. The Giants have lost eight of 11 overall and have just three wins in Moore's 13 starts this season.

San Francisco barely even threatened against Santana other than getting a leadoff triple from Aaron Hill in the third. But Santana recovered to get Austin Slater on a groundout to first, Moore on a tapper in front of the plate and Denard Span on a groundout to end the inning.

"He just didn't pitch to heart of the plate at all," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He made it look easy. We had one legit hit off him. He was good. When a pitcher is that good, he just makes you look flat. We just couldn't get anything going."

The Twins then broke it open in the fourth thanks to Santana's bat. With runners on first and second and two outs, Moore walked No. 8 hitter Jason Castro to load the bases. Santana followed with a fly ball to right center that fell just out of reach of a diving Span to clear the bases and put Minnesota up 4-0.

"He's a great pitcher but I know he's not a very good hitter and we got burned an AL pitcher," Bochy said. "They don't take BP or anything. I'm sure Matty just went after him. He got the barrel to it."


Twins: INF Jorge Polanco won't re-join the team until the Twins return home Monday. Polanco left the team earlier this week following the death of his grandfather and is on the bereavement list.

Giants: Ace Madison Bumgarner threw off the mound in the bullpen for the first time since being sidelined with shoulder and rib injuries following a dirt bike accident April 20 in Colorado. He threw 20 pitches. ... 2B Joe Panik missed the game after spraining his left thumb Thursday in Milwaukee and is day to day. ... INF Orlando Calixte was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento to make room for RHP Sam Dyson, who was acquired from Texas earlier this week.


The Twins are one of three teams (Oakland, Angels) who haven't gotten a homer from a pitcher since the start of the DH era in 1973. But Santana still delivered a big hit, doubling his career RBI total in one swing. It marked the first time a Minnesota pitcher drove in three runs in a game since Luis Tiant on May 28, 1970, against Milwaukee.


The Twins plan to call up LHP Nik Turley to start Sunday in his major league debut. Turley was a 50th round pick by the Yankees in 2008 and spent time in the independent Atlantic League before joining the Minnesota system this season.


Jose Berrios (4-1, 2.76 ERA) looks to earn his second win on this trip when the Twins take on Jeff Samardzija (2-7, 4.29) and the Giants in the middle game of the series.

Jeff Samardzija to miss start of season after MRI reveals strained pectoral muscle


Jeff Samardzija to miss start of season after MRI reveals strained pectoral muscle

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants nearly left Scottsdale unscathed. Instead they'll leave with an injured No. 3 starter, but the news on Jeff Samardzija late Thursday night was good news. 

Manager Bruce Bochy told reporters that Samardzija has a strained pectoral muscle that will sideline him for the start of the season. But given that Samardzija, who has had a rough spring, went for an MRI on his shoulder a week before the season opener, team officials have to be breathing a sigh of relief. 

"He'll go a week without throwing the ball and then crank it back up," Bochy told reporters, including Kerry Crowley of the San Jose Mercury News. "It should't take long to get him back on the mound so it's good news."

Samardzija was supposed to take the ball next Saturday at Dodger Stadium. Instead, the Giants will rely on two young pitchers and a non-roster invitee at the back end of their rotation. The injury ends a three-way race for the final two spots between Chris Stratton, Ty Blach and Derek Holland. The Giants could use all three in the rotation until Samardzija is healthy, or they could skip their No. 5 starter and move one of the pitchers into the bullpen. 

Because the Giants have two off days before their seventh game, Madison Bumgarner can line up to pitch three of the first nine games. The Giants have been considering that all spring, although they have yet to publicly announce a decision one way or the other. Bumgarner said early in camp that he would be up to the challenge, and given how sharp he was all spring, that might be the best way to tread water until Samardzija is cleared to return to the rotation.

No. 79? No. 53? Before they were stars, Giants wore random numbers


No. 79? No. 53? Before they were stars, Giants wore random numbers

SCOTTSDALE — A couple of veterans walked past a clubhouse TV earlier in camp and saw that the Giants and Padres were tied heading into the bottom of the 10th of an exhibition game. The Padres infielders were just standing around, and there was not yet a new pitcher on the mound. 

“It’s that time when No. 99 comes in to pitch,” one of the players joked as he headed home for the day.

A few seconds later, a big left-hander took the mound. He was, in fact, wearing No. 99, and in his inning on the mound he would face a No. 74 (Aramis Garcia) and No. 78 (Steven Duggar). This is the norm for spring training, when dozens of players — including teenagers and journeymen still hanging around the low minors — get into every game. That leads to action between numbers you would never see in a normal game. The Giants had 60 players in camp, plus 10 coaches and staff members with numbers. Throw in their 10 retired numbers and the unofficially retired ones (25, 55, etc.) and, well, there aren’t a whole lot of choices left. 

If Duggar makes the Opening Day roster, he’ll get an upgrade from his lineman’s number. Ditto for Garcia, who could be Buster Posey’s backup as soon as next season. Still, a taste of big league action doesn’t guarantee a normal number in camp, when young players regularly find themselves back at the end of the line. 

Ryder Jones wore 83 in camp last year and 63 in the big leagues. When he showed up this year, with 150 big league at-bats under his belt, he was told that he would have to wait until the end of the spring to upgrade. Players with more service time (think No. 2 Chase d’Arnaud or No. 19 Josh Rutledge) get priority, at least until all the cuts are made. Jones said he has a few numbers in mind for his next stint in the big leagues, but he won’t be picky. 

“Anything under 40 works,” he said, smiling. 

The steady climb toward single digits happens to just about everybody. Long before Brandon Crawford’s became @bcraw35, he wore 79 in his first camp. He moved up to 53 after that and Mike Murphy flipped that to 35 when Crawford became the big league shortstop. Hunter Pence doesn’t remember his first spring training number with the Astros, but he knows it was in the low eighties. Joe Panik wore 66 the first time he spent a spring at Scottsdale Stadium. “I was an offensive lineman,” he joked. Tyler Beede, now on the cusp of his big league debut, got promoted from 63 to 32 when he arrived last spring, only to swap to 38 this year because of some in-season shifting. When Pablo Sandoval arrived last summer, Steven Okert switched from 48 to 32.

Then there are those who have only known one jersey. Posey was a can’t-miss prospect when he arrived and doesn’t remember wearing anything other than 28. Brandon Belt was a top-25 prospect when he came to camp for the first time, and he’s been 9 since that day. Madison Bumgarner wore 40 in his first big league camp because he had already made his big league debut, but somewhere in the team archives, there are probably a few photos of a 19-year-old Bumgarner wearing something else. 

“The previous spring I came up to pitch a few times,” Bumgarner said. “I’m pretty sure I had a different number every time I came over and I’m pretty sure it was always in the eighties.”

There were seven Giants in the eighties this spring. Duggar was one of two top prospects — Chris Shaw inherited Crawford’s old 79 — to come close, and he didn’t mind one bit. He’s not thinking too far ahead, even though he could be a big leaguer in eight days. 

“I’ll take anything if I’m in the big leagues,” he said. “I’ll take No. 112 if that’s what they give me.”