Giants split; beat Brewers, fall to Angels

698594.jpg

Giants split; beat Brewers, fall to Angels

BOX SCORE
SCOTTSDALE -- Barry Zito is happy with the progress he's made so far this spring.He allowed one hit in three scoreless innings and the San Francisco Giants earned a 13-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers in a split-squad game on Saturday.The left-hander threw 30 strikes out of 45 pitches.Zito, who made some changes to his delivery over the winter, said he didn't feel quite as good as the results today, but he's had a strong spring. He's given up two runs in five innings."Every day I'm trying to take it one day at a time, and not get ahead of myself," Zito said.Pablo Sandoval doubled and homered in the Giants' eight-run third inning. It was his first homer of the spring.The Giants had 16 hits, including three homers. Prospect Tommy Joseph hit two homers and drove in four runs.NEWS: Wilson set to make Cactus League debut Sunday
Milwaukee's Mat Gamel, who is taking over at first this season after the departure of Prince Fielder, hit his third homer of the spring, a three-run shot in the fourth inning.Also, Milwaukee's Nyjer Morgan left the game in the second inning as a precaution after he was hit in the helmet by a pitch in the first.Shortstop Brandon Crawford doubled and tripled and had 3 RBIs for San Francisco. He's 6-for-14 with six RBIs this spring."I think really he's going to help contribute to this offense," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He made a couple adjustments with his swing. He's shortened it up. It allows him to get to balls he wasn't able to get to before."RELATED: Zito self-critical despite improvement in second start
Crawford batted .204 as a rookie last year. But that swing adjustment he made late in the regular season also carried over to the Arizona Fall League.And now he's off to a strong start in the spring."I've played well the last couple of seasons whenever I've made that small change, and I'm doing well here to start out," he said. "It's definitely good for the confidence."Notes: San Francisco's Buster Posey reported feeling fine a day after his first game action of the spring. Posey is scheduled to start again on Sunday, catching four innings. Posey missed most of last season after injuring his left knee in a home plate collision. ... Reliever Brian Wilson is scheduled to make his spring debut on Sunday. Wilson has been out because of a sore elbow. ... Freddy Sanchez will not make his spring debut in the field until Wednesday or Thursday. Bochy had said on Friday that Sanchez could play second as soon as Monday, but the manager said he was mistaken and that the plan was never for Sanchez to play that soon. ... Wily Peralta, considered the top prospect in the Brewers' system, gave up four runs in 2 13 innings in his first start of the spring. ... Caleb Gindl had two hits to raise his spring average to .417.
BOX SCORETEMPE -- The Los Angeles Angels are going to try Mark Trumbo at a couple different spots so they can get his bat into their powerful lineup.It looks as if third base could be an option.Trumbo made a splendid diving grab to his left in the second inning Saturday, robbing Joaquin Arias of a single during the Angels' 9-5 victory over a split-squad of San Francisco Giants."You don't call it the hot corner for nothing," Trumbo said.Trumbo also homered and C.J. Wilson pitched three scoreless innings in his second spring outing for Los Angeles, which gave the left-hander a 77.5 million, five-year deal during free agency over the winter. Wilson allowed one hit, struck out two and walked one.With Albert Pujols set to play first and first baseman-designated hitter Kendrys Morales expected to return to the lineup soon, the Angels are searching for ways to find time for Trumbo. He led the team with 29 homers and 87 RBIs during his rookie year last season.NEWS: Freddy Sanchez's defensive debut delayed
The plan is for Trumbo to play in 50 games at third to go along with time at first, DH and right field.Trumbo, who had yet to have a ball hit to him in one start at third, made a great play on Arias' ball and also handled one ground ball flawlessly."More challenging plays will help me get my confidence," Trumbo said. "Some of that stuff will take some time."Peter Bourjos and Erick Aybar, hitting first and second respectively, utilized their speed to set up a pair of Angels run in the first.Bourjos bounced a single to right field and Aybar followed with a sharp single to right. Bourjos opted to test the throwing arm of Giants right fielder Tyler Graham and raced to third. Graham's throw was slightly late and Aybar took second.Bourjos then scored in Howie Kendrick's fly ball to right field with Aybar taking third. Aybar then narrowly scored on Trumbo's foul popup behind third, beating Conor Gillaspie's throw that short-hopped catcher Eli Whiteside.Angels manager Mike Scioscia has said this spring that he could "mix and match" a set of players to hit in front of Pujols in the third slot but is hoping to settle on two.Bourjos has been mentioned as a leadoff candidate. He hit .289 and had a .337 on-base percentage against left-handers last season while hitting .271 overall with a .327 on-base percentage.Aybar, the team's usual leadoff man last season, hit .279 with a .322 on-base percentage, but only .216 with a .284 on-base percentage against left-handers.Giants right-hander Shane Loux pitched 2 1-3 innings and was charged with three runs, two earned, and four hits. He hasn't appeared in the majors since he went 2-3 with a 5.86 ERA in 18 games with the Angels in 2009.NOTES: Angels 3B Luis Jimenez also hit his first spring homer. ... Angels reliever LaTroy Hawkins made his first spring appearance and gave up three runs and four hits in one inning.

Giants get blanked by Braves, now have lowest-scoring team in majors

Giants get blanked by Braves, now have lowest-scoring team in majors

SAN FRANCISCO — Over in Cleveland earlier Friday, Brandon Moss hit a three-run homer for the visiting team and five other players chipped in a pair of hits. The Royals had six runs, which meant that when Jim Johnson closed the Giants out a few hours later, what has seemed true all season became officially true. The Giants have the lowest-scoring lineup in the majors.

At 3.32 runs per game, they have dipped below the equally-disappointing Royals (3.38). They are capable at the moment of making any pitching staff look dominant. A 2-0 shutout was the first of the year for the Braves, who previously had just two games this season where they allowed fewer than two runs. 

“Six runs in (the last) four games … I thought we would come home and get some rips in tonight, but it didn’t happen,” Bruce Bochy said. 

The manager’s frustration showed late in this one. After the only rally of the game — a two-run single by opposing pitcher Jaime Garcia — Bochy took his cap off and rubbed his forehead. He dipped his head and briefly stood as if he was going to fall asleep on the rail. The bats were equally still. 

The Giants had just four hits, all of them singles against Garcia, who is a nice pitcher but hardly one of the league’s best. One was an infield single by Eduardo Nuñez, another a single through Garcia’s five-hole, and a third a generous ruling by the official scorekeeper. 

“It comes down to, you’ve got to get some hits and create opportunities, and we’re not doing it very often,” Bochy said. “It’s just a matter of guys getting somewhat hot. We did, we had some success, and we won some games. The thing you like to see is some good cuts and I didn’t think we got enough of those tonight.”

That run, which spanned the last homestand and small parts of two road trips, has come to a screeching halt. The Giants have lost five of six. It seems silly to scoreboard-watch in May, especially when a team is playing like this, but it’s worth noting that the teams the Giants eventually need to catch keep winning. They fell 12 games back of the Rockies and 11 back of the streaking Diamondbacks. They are 9 1/2 back of the Dodgers, who might be the best team in the whole league. 

Matt Cain did his part to allow the Giants to keep pace. He got beat just once in seven sharp innings. The Giants intentionally walked Dansby Swanson to get to Garcia, who bounced a single into left. Brandon Belt had a play at the plate, but his throw was short and hit the runner. A second run scored. 

“That’s tough,” Cain said. “(Garcia) was throwing the ball really good and that’s what it comes down to, you’re looking for that one hit and he did it. He’s a good hitter. We’ve seen it in St. Louis. But it definitely is tough when the pitcher does that … it just stinks on my part to give up a hit to the opposing pitcher.”

Instant Analysis: Giants bats silenced, losing streak now at four games

Instant Analysis: Giants bats silenced, losing streak now at four games

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — The return to AT&T Park was a huge boost to Matt Cain, who has wild home-road splits this season, but it did predictable things to an already-limp Giants offense. 

The Giants entered the night as the lowest-scoring team in the National League and they got blanked 2-0 by Jaime Garcia and the Braves. Garcia out-dueled Cain and provided the only offense of the night, as well. The Giants have dropped five of six.

Here are five things to know from AT&T Park, where they keep having Star Wars Night but they’ve never once celebrated Super Troopers … 

--- Cain entered the seventh with a 0.94 ERA at home this season, but the opposing pitcher busted him. With one on and two outs, the Giants intentionally walked Dansby Swanson to get to Garcia, a career .145 hitter. He bounced a single into shallow left and it looked like Brandon Belt had a play at the plate, but his throw home hit the runner. That allowed Swanson to race home for a 2-0 lead. 

--- Cain’s final line: seven innings, one earned run, one walk, three strikeouts. Yep, that’s a Caining.

--- Justin Ruggiano is here for the opportunity he was given in the sixth. Ruggiano has always crushed lefties, and Bruce Bochy put him behind Buster Posey on Friday night. The Braves intentionally walked Posey to load the bases for Ruggiano, who grounded out to third. Even the platoon splits are failing the Giants. 

--- If you need a little perspective on Christian Arroyo’s struggles, look across the field. Swanson, the former No. 1 overall pick, is batting .198. The shortstop slashed .302/.361/.442 as a rookie but his numbers are way down across the board, and he’s nearly two years older than Arroyo. These things take time. Having said that, Arroyo’s hole is pretty deep. He’s hitless in his last 21 at-bats after an 0 for 3.

--- There were three no-pitch intentional walks. I hope you used the extra ninety seconds wisely.