Giants

Bumgarner roughed up early, Abreu leads White Sox to series win

giants-gamer.jpg
AP

Bumgarner roughed up early, Abreu leads White Sox to series win

BOX SCORE

CHICAGO — Carson Fulmer doesn't know if his future with the Chicago White Sox is as a starting pitcher or a reliever.

Either way, the 23-year-old rookie will be happy to have Jose Abreu on his side.

Abreu connected for two home runs a day after hitting for the cycle and Fulmer earned his first major league win as a starter as the White Sox beat the San Francisco Giants 8-1 on Sunday in an interleague matchup of last-place teams.

Fulmer (2-1) allowed one run on three hits with nine strikeouts and three walks in the second start of his career. A first-round draft pick in 2015, he was tagged for six earned runs in 1 1/3 innings by Minnesota on Aug. 21 in his other start.

"Starting, relieving, as long as we win it's all that matters to me," Fulmer said. "You just have to be able to go into any situation and get your team out of it. I like to start games and go as long as I can, but that's up to (manager) Ricky (Renteria) and our management."

A day after hitting for the cycle in a 13-1 victory over the Giants, Abreu recorded his fourth multihomer game of the season and 10th of his four-year major league career.

Abreu had 18 total bases the last two games; the Giants had 14.

"This is as consistent an approach as I've seen from anybody in the big leagues," Renteria said. "He really, really continues to stay focused and in the zone."

Tim Anderson, who was a double shy of joining Abreu as the only pair of teammates ever to hit for the cycle in the same game on Saturday, got three more hits. The 24-year-old shortstop is batting .520 (13 for 25) in the last six games.

Bumgarner (3-8) gave up six earned runs and 10 hits in five innings — the most runs and hits he's allowed in a game this season.

"I felt pretty good, honestly," Bumgarner said. "That's the frustrating part about it. I felt really good right from the get-go."

Jarrett Parker hit his third home run of the season in the second inning for the Giants. He missed the previous seven games with a strained oblique.

SURPRISE CALL

Chris Volstad made his first White Sox appearance, pitching a scoreless ninth.

The 30-year-old right-hander spent the season with Triple-A Charlotte and was in Florida helping his family prepare for Hurricane Irma when he got the call from the White Sox on Thursday night.

"Surprised is a good word," Volstad said. "I had already been at home just kind of gearing up for an offseason, I guess, and got the call. Obviously very excited and glad to be here and help out any way I can."

Volstad pitched for four teams in seven seasons but had not pitched in the major leagues since appearing in one games for Pittsburgh in 2015.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Giants: Parker (strained left oblique) returned to the lineup at designated hitter following a seven-game absence. Manager Bruce Bochy said Parker is still not quite ready to play the field. "He could be good to go tomorrow," Bochy said.

UP NEXT

Giants: RHP Chris Stratton (2-3, 4.10 ERA) will oppose Dodgers RHP Kenta Maeda (12-6, 4.02 ERA) in the opener of a three-game series in San Francisco. Stratton is 2-2 with a 3.15 ERA in six starts. Maeda has a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 46-7 since Aug. 1.

White Sox: RHP Reynaldo Lopez (0-3, 4.84 ERA) will attempt to make his third straight quality start as the White Sox open a three-game series against Kansas City Royals RHP Jason Hammel (8-10, 4.73 ERA) on Monday. Lopez pitched six innings of one-run ball in a 3-0 loss to the red-hot Cleveland Indians on Wednesday. Hammel pitched at least six innings in each of his last five starts and at least five innings in his last 18.

Matt Moore blanks Rockies, continues late-season surge

moore.jpg
AP

Matt Moore blanks Rockies, continues late-season surge

SAN FRANCISCO — Matt Moore knew there was something different about his final home start at AT&T Park this season, and not just the fact that he received a loud ovation as he walked off the mound in the seventh. Moore noted later that the outing was the first shutout he has been a part of this year. In fact, it was the first time in 30 starts that he walked off the mound without having allowed a run. 

“I guess it’s better late than never,” he said. 

The Giants are hoping it’s actually a preview of things to come. They counted on Moore to be a big part of their 2017 push, but instead, he likely will finish with the worst ERA of any full-time starter in the National League. Still, general manager Bobby Evans has informed Moore that his 2018 option will be picked up, something that Moore appreciated given the time of year. 

“I always pictured myself here,” he said. 

Whether coincidence or some kind of “weight off the shoulders” situation, Moore’s first start since the public revealing of the decision was his most encouraging of the year. Facing a good lineup, and a team that needed a win desperately, he pitched six shutout innings. The Giants beat the Rockies 4-0. 

Moore was already showing signs of life, with a 3.76 ERA over his seven previous appearances. Bruce Bochy viewed this as another step forward. 

“It’s been getting better and better with each start,” he said. “What he did really well today was on the arm side. He had good balance to both sides of the plate.”

Moore peppered the outside corner with fastballs, and he credited catcher Nick Hundley with stealing a few strikes. The plan allowed Moore to put hitters away in big spots, one of three points of emphasis he brought into the second half. The other two: limiting lefties and getting ahead of hitters.

That’s Moore’s roadmap back to being the player the Giants acquired. For the team as a whole, the roadmap back to relevance is similar to Wednesday’s plan. This is not a home-run hitting lineup, but the Giants are 47-21 when scoring four runs, and Wednesday was a reminder of the different paths to that magical number. 

Brandon Crawford had a solo homer, but the first two runs came on sacrifice flies and the fourth on a walk-wild pitch-single combination. Bochy said he liked “the brand of ball” his team played.

“They executed so well today,” he said. “It’s just good baseball, and that’s what I felt good about.”

Doing due diligence, Giants send Evans, Shelley to scout Shohei Otani in Japan

Doing due diligence, Giants send Evans, Shelley to scout Shohei Otani in Japan

SAN FRANCISCO — A couple of weeks ago, a Giants official expressed amazement about how little was known about the desires of Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani.

“Teams know just about as much as you guys (in the media),” he said. 

The Giants are hoping that changes this week. General manager Bobby Evans and assistant GM Jeremy Shelley have traveled to Japan to take a look at the 23-year-old, who reportedly will come over to play in Major League Baseball next season. 

“There’s going to be a lot of attention on him and it’s part of the scouting process every club goes through,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “It’s doing our due diligence, as you say.”

Otani is a rare prospect, a potential ace on the mound and lineup-altering bat in the outfield. He has 47 homers in just over 1,000 professional at-bats, and this season he’s batting .341. As a hard-throwing pitcher with a wipeout breaking ball, Otani has a 2.57 career ERA for the Nippon Ham Fighters. He had a 1.86 ERA last season with 174 strikeouts in 140 innings. 

Because he’s said to be coming over at such a young age, Otani will sacrifice the chance to sign a massive contract. The CBA limits him to collecting money from a team’s international bonus pool, and the Giants are limited to $300,000. Still, some other big-market teams are in the same boat, and despite their lack of pool money and poor season, the Giants surely believe they have plenty to offer. 

It’s not known what Otani is looking for, but perhaps he wants to play in a big city to make up some of his lost earnings? Perhaps he wants to play on the West Coast, closer to his home country, or in a region with a big Japanese population? Perhaps he’s just a big Buster Posey fan? The Giants intend to find out, and to be in the bidding. 

It’s possible that Otani has seen the way Bochy uses Madison Bumgarner as a pinch-hitter, but Bochy said he can’t imagine using a true two-way player. 

“I don’t think it would work,” he said. “You’re talking more of something that might work in the American League. That’s a lot of throwing and wear-and-tear.”