Programming note: Giants Insider Andrew Baggarly is in Arizona; check back for his coverage throughout spring training and watch SportsNet Central nightly at 6 and 10:30 p.m. for all the day’s MLB news.
PHOENIX – Madison Bumgarner loves to mash home runs in batting practice. For once, maybe, he didn’t mind giving one up.
The Milwaukee Brewers hit three solo shots off Bumgarner in a five-batter span Tuesday, brusquely interrupting a scoreless spring that had reached 25 innings if you count the exhibition against the Giants Futures team.
“There must’ve been a home run derby I didn’t know about,” said Bumgarner, after Khris Davis connected in the fifth inning, then pitcher Wily Peralta and Carlos Gomez went back-to-back to start the sixth.
Bumgarner isn’t superstitious, but he didn’t mind mussing up his perfect Cactus League ERA in his final start before Monday’s season opener at Chase Field.
“It’s kind of a relief,” said Bumgarner, who posted a 1.01 ERA in six outings. “It doesn’t really sound like that makes sense, but … I try to keep that stuff out of my mind.”
When you’re thinking about the fact you haven’t given up a run, well, that’s when you tend to give up runs.
Until Davis took him deep, Bumgarner had yielded just 12 hits and four walks while striking out 25 in 25 1/3 innings. He’s tossed in some 64 mph curveballs, too, while he experiments with adding and subtracting from all his pitches.
He had a hunch Davis might be swinging 3-0 but decided it was better to challenge him. The pitch to Peralta carried out to center field and Gomez jumped on a curveball.
“He’s a good hitter and his bat stays in the zone a long time,” Bumgarner said. “If he hits it hard, it’s going somewhere.”
Bumgarner’s next stop will be his first opening day assignment. He’ll travel north with the team for the Bay Bridge exhibitions so he can throw his final bullpen with the major league coaches.
Maybe he’ll get to take some batting practice, too.
“Regardless if I gave up some runs today or I didn’t give up any, I feel ready to go,” Bumgarner said.
Giants notes: Buster Posey looked like a natural in his first action at first base this spring. He picked one throw and ranged into foul ground to make catching a tough pop-up look easy. … Pablo Sandoval sustained a laceration on his palm while sliding into a base and won’t play on Wednesday, Bruce Bochy said. The manager planned to give Sandoval the day off anyway, and the injury is not considered serious. Sandoval also hit his third homer of the spring. … Michael Morse was 2 for 3 to raise his spring average to .296. He finally got some action in left field, catching a fly ball from Rickie Weeks and a liner from Aramis Ramirez. He’ll play again Wednesday. “Looks like he’s past this calf issue, knock on wood,” Bochy said. … The Giants rallied for three runs in the ninth to take a 5-4 victory over the Brewers. Gary Brown scalded a first-pitch fastball for a tying RBI double, earning plaudits from Bochy. Mark Minicozzi put the Giants ahead with a sacrifice fly. Derek Law worked around a hit to pitch a scoreless ninth and record the save.