Giants

Belt homers, drives in four to power Giants past Rockies

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Belt homers, drives in four to power Giants past Rockies

BOX SCORE

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- All-Star Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado had two more hits to boost his spring training-best average to .606 in Colorado's 10-4 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Sunday.

Arenado doubled to left on the first pitch from Giants starterClayton Blackburn in the second inning. He also knocked Blackburn's first pitch in the third into left-center for a single.

He is 20 for 33 with a least one hit in all 12 games he's played this spring and has multiple hits in seven straight games.

"I wish it was April," the 24-year-old Arenado said. "I'm good to go."

Charlie Blackmon added a solo homer off Blackburn, who allowed three runs, two earned, and six hits over four innings. Blackburn also doubled in a run.

Brandon Belt went 4 for 4, including a homer off Jason Motte and drove in four runs for the Giants after missing a week with an illness.

"I think he's got his strength back," manager Bruce Bochy said.

Buster Posey added an RBI double for San Francisco.

CUETO'S LONG DAY:
To avoid facing a division opponent, Giants RHP Johnny Cueto pitched in a camp game - for a long time.

The efficient Cueto went six innings against Giants minor leaguers, allowing a run and six hits with four strikeouts. He also picked two runners off the bases while throwing 74 pitches.

It was Cueto's first appearance since he was hit in the forehead by a line drive six days ago. Cueto avoided a concussion.

STARTING TIME:
Giants: Blackburn struck out three and threw 67 pitches. Bochy said he told the 23-year-old he'll be sent to minor league camp.

"He's going to go down and get ready for his season, but he did a lot of good work this spring," Bochy said.

Rockies: LHP Jorge De La Rosa labored through five innings, giving up four runs and eight hits in what he called a "bad game."

"My arm is getting stronger, but today my location wasn't there," De La Rosa said.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Giants: OF Kyle Blanks (Achilles) sat out for a fourth straight day, and was later sent to the minors. ... C Andew Susac (wrist) took batting practice.

Rockies: RHP David Hale (hamstring) is scheduled to throw 30-35 pitches Monday in his first Cactus League appearance. He got five outs in a Thursday "B" game. "I hadn't had anything in my career and the last year it's been three annoying things," Hale said, referring to oblique and groin injuries.

WORRY-FREE CARGO:
When the Rockies traded Troy Tulowitzki last summer amid a poor season, speculation began about the future ofCarlos Gonzalez.

The two-time All-Star is back for his eighth season in Denver. But could a sixth straight losing season lead to his departure, too?

"I don't wake up in the morning worried about what's going to happen to me," said Gonzalez, who went 0 for 3. "I have the opportunity to wear a big league uniform every day. I feel blessed with that.

"I will never complain with any team giving me a chance to play the game that I love. I try to do my best every day and whatever happens in the future, that's not part of my job."

GIANTS MOVES:
The Giants sent six more players to the minors: LHPs Ty Blach, Ricky Romero and Steven Okert; RHP Vin Mazzaro; OF Ryan Lollis and INF Hak-Ju Lee.

UP NEXT:
Giants: RHP Jeff Samardzija starts Monday against Oakland.

Rockies: RHP Chad Bettis starts Monday against Texas.

Dereck Rodriguez sets second-half tone, leads Giants to win vs A's

Dereck Rodriguez sets second-half tone, leads Giants to win vs A's

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND — To make a run at a division title, the Giants need Dereck Rodriguez to match his big first half. Perhaps the rookie has bigger plans. 

Rodriguez took the ball on the first night of the second half and allowed just one run on three hits against a tough A’s lineup. He departed with one out in the seventh and the bullpen took it home, clinching a 5-1 win that evened this Bay Bridge series at two games apiece. 

Here's what you need to know from the first game back... 

--- Rodriguez walked none and struck out five. He lowered his ERA to 2.72. 

--- With Brandon Belt on the paternity list, Ryder Jones was called up for a spot start. He certainly made the most of it. Jones jumped on a 2-0 slider from Edwin Jackson in the fifth, smacking a homer off the right field foul pole. The blast was the third of the 24-year-old’s career. He hit two last season as a rookie. 

--- Andrew McCutchen had a pair of sliding catches. The robbery of Jonathan Lucroy in the fifth inning had a catch probability of just 66 percent. 

--- Pablo Sandoval hit a no-doubter to right in the seventh inning. It was his 14th homer since returning to the Giants last summer, matching his total in Boston. 

--- The A’s announced a crowd of 45,606, a sellout. They’re expecting a few thousand more on Saturday.

Up for one night, Ryder Jones takes advantage of Giant opportunity

Up for one night, Ryder Jones takes advantage of Giant opportunity

OAKLAND -- In the seventh inning Friday night, 26-year-old starter Dereck Rodriguez gave way to 25-year-old Reyes Moronta. Rodriguez jogged to the dugout and sat next to Andrew Suarez, 25, and the two rookies watched Moronta strand a runner. A few minutes later, 24-year-old center fielder Steven Duggar strolled to the plate and roped a single into right. 

There's a youth movement in San Francisco, but you might have known that already. Rodriguez, Suarez and Moronta were a big part of the story of the first half and Duggar made waves over the final week. 

What you might not have realized is that another player in the middle of all the action Friday night is actually younger than all four of them. Ryder Jones got 150 big league at-bats last season and had not been seen since, and it's often easy to write a player off when he disappears for a stretch. But Jones, a former second-round pick, is still just 24. He was born seventh months after Duggar, who previously was the youngest player on the roster. 

There's still plenty of time for Jones to find his stride and live up to the promise he has shown at times. On Friday, there was another flash of that talent. Jones hit a long solo homer in the fifth, giving the Giants a lead they would never let go. With a 5-1 win over the A’s, the Giants got their second half off to a rocking start and tied this Bay Bridge Series at two games apiece. 

Jones is likely headed back to Sacramento. The plan was for him to come up for one day to fill in while Brandon Belt witnessed the birth of his second son, and he certainly took advantage of the opportunity.

“I thought the homer was huge for him,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “It was huge for us. He’s been doing a nice job there in Sacramento the last month. He’s doing what we were hoping this year, having another big year. That’s all he needs is at-bats and experience. He’s got the tools to be a nice big-league player.”

Jones struck out in his first at-bat, but got ahead in the count 2-0 the next time up. Edwin Jackson tried to sneak a slider across the inside of the plate and Jones crushed it. Both players leaned — in different directions — and watched as the ball clanked high off the pole. 

The Giants are leaning heavily on rookies this year, but Jones was part of a 2017 class that never found footing. Just about every player in that group got hurt, and most struggled in the majors. Jones batted .173 last year, striking out in a third of his at-bats. With Evan Longoria brought over and Pablo Sandoval locked in, Jones didn’t get much time this spring. He picked up outfield play in Scottsdale, hoping to increase his versatility, but he has primarily been the third baseman in Sacramento. At the time of this latest promotion, Jones was batting .299 in Triple-A, with nine homers, 15 doubles and 48 RBI. 

He’ll head back to a River Cats squad that has provided plenty of help. Rodriguez started the season there. On Friday, he allowed one run over 6 1/3 innings, lowering his ERA to 2.72.

“I trust my stuff. I trust my stuff,” Rodriguez said. “I was just going after them.”