Wilson stares down Posey, Sanchez in live BP

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Wilson stares down Posey, Sanchez in live BP

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Brian Wilson threw the pitch that clinched a World Series. Buster Posey caught it, leaping into his arms.

The batterymates had a much different encounter on a back field Wednesday morning at Scottsdale Stadium. Wilson threw live batting practice to Posey and Freddy Sanchez -- a final test before he's cleared to make his exhibition debut on Monday when the Giants face the Seattle Mariners.

"Just another check-off for everybody," said Wilson, who threw sliders among his 25 pitches. "It's something everybody needs to see, including you (reporters). I'm still capable of pitching. I'm totally ready and now I have three days to prepare myself.

RELATED: Brian Wilson 2011 game logs

"Today went exactly how I thought it would go."

Wilson said he threw sliders to "let the world know it's there." It's the pitch that puts the most strain on the elbow; the All-Star closer is being brought along slowly this spring after being limited to two appearances after Aug. 15 last season with an elbow strain.

Posey, who continues to rehab his reconstructed left ankle, had taken live BP earlier this spring. But this was an important first step for Sanchez, who hasn't played since June 8 because of right shoulder surgery.

RELATED: Posey pleased with baserunning Sanchez to DH Thursday?

The two hitters mostly tracked pitches; Sanchez hit one roller to the right side.

"Nothing the second baseman couldn't handle," said Wilson, who joked that the extra-diligent Sanchez spent too much time warming up. "I was telling him, There's no reason for you to get more locked in than me. Spending four hours getting ready? Freddy, settle down, man. This is live BP. I don't need you taking me deep."

For the record: he didn't.

Facing Sanchez and Posey was helpful, Wilson said.

"These are the kinds of hitters you want to face in BP," he said. "They know what they're doing. They've got a great approach. And it's nice to see Buster out there competing at the level he knows he's capable of. It'll be nice to pitch to him again."

Sanchez also tested his shoulder in infield practice by taking feeds at second base and throwing to complete double plays. It was the first time this spring that he threw across his body. His throws didn't have a lot on them, though.

"Anything I do differently is going to be a good step," Sanchez said.

Sanchez said he is not ready to play second base in an exhibition game, and had no timeline for when that might happen. He's likely to appear first as a DH. The Giants also could send him to get at-bats in minor league camp games.

With Bumgarner sidelined, Blach 'taking full advantage' of opportunity

With Bumgarner sidelined, Blach 'taking full advantage' of opportunity

SAN FRANCISCO -- At some point over the next four days, Madison Bumgarner will pick up a baseball, stand a few feet across from a member of the training staff, and simply play catch. It'll be a huge step in Bumgarner's rehab, and should it go well, a boost to the psyche of a struggling team.

In the meantime, another lefty is making sure the Giants don't suffer too much without their ace, as improbable as that first seemed.

Ty Blach took a shutout into the eighth Saturday night and in true Bumgarner fashion, he added a pair of hits and an RBI. The Giants beat the Braves 6-3. They've won Blach's past three starts, and even with a 10-run outing in Cincinnati mixed in, he has a 3.71 ERA since taking the spot left open by a dirt bike accident.

"Because of what happened he's in the rotation," manager Bruce Bochy said, "And he's taking full advantage."

Blach has shown that long term, he might be a big part of this rotation. It's been years since the Giants locked a young, cost-controlled starter in, and Blach has backed up his big cameo last year. It's possible -- likely even -- that at some point the Giants will need to trade a veteran, perhaps Johnny Cueto, for young bats. Blach provides needed insurance. 

Short term, he's providing a huge boost to a team that doesn't have much going right. Blach has thrown at least seven innings in his past four starts. He has allowed just eight earned runs in four starts since the one in Cincinnati, throwing 28 2/3 innings. 

"I feel good," Blach said. "I've always been a starter, so it's been a pretty easy transition to make. I feel comfortable."

The Giants are comfortable behind him, as evidenced by a half-dozen strong defensive plays Saturday. 

"He's been consistent and he works quickly," first baseman Brandon Belt said. "He's just a great guy to play behind."

Blach even joined in at the plate. He had an RBI single in his first at-bat -- his first big league hit off Not Clayton Kershaw -- and later roped another single. Blach even showed off his wheels, busting it from first to third on Denard Span's ball to the corner before Phil Nevin held him up. 

"I worked into some good counts and I was able to get fastballs," Blach said of his night at the plate. "It's definitely a big confidence booster when your spot comes up and you're able to drive in runs."

The night was straight out of Bumgarner's playbook, and it was needed. The Giants had dropped five of six, but Blach was backed by homers from Nick Hundley and Brandon Belt. It got a little hairy late, but the bullpen held on, clinching Blach's third win of the season. He looks poised for many more, and Bochy is happy to keep running him out there.

"I'm not surprised by what he's doing," the manager said.

 

Instant Analysis: Blach does it all vs Braves, Giants snap skid

Instant Analysis: Blach does it all vs Braves, Giants snap skid

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — This spot in the rotation is the one reserved for the stopper, the pitcher who takes a game by the throat when his team really needs it. 

Ty Blach took the mound Saturday for a team that had lost five of six, and just as Madison Bumgarner often has, Blach ended the skid. The young lefty was dominant into the eighth and the bats finally provided enough support. The Giants won 6-3, tying this weekend series with the Braves.

Here are five things to know from a night we were reminded that Emilio Bonifacio is in the big leagues … 

--- Blach pitched 7 2/3 innings. He has thrown at least seven innings in his last four starts, and five of seven starts overall. Jeff Samardzija (6) is the only Giants starter who has gone that deep more often. Blach is tied with Johnny Cueto for second-most seven-inning starts on staff, and Cueto has made three additional starts. 

--- Blach’s RBI single in the fourth was -- at the time -- the fourth hit of his career, and the first against a pitcher not named Clayton Kershaw. The ball had an exit velocity of 101 mph. Blach tried to score from first on Denard Span’s double, but Phil Nevin held him. Still, the way he was moving, it makes you wonder if Samardzija really is Bruce Bochy’s best pitcher-pinch-running option. In the seventh, Blach picked up a second single. 

--- Blach’s only bad start has been the one he made in Cincinnati, where the Giants played like a Double-A team. If you take that one out, Blach has a 2.21 ERA since taking over Bumgarner’s rotation spot. 

--- Even though he gave up just two earned in 7 2/3, Blach’s home ERA actually went up. It’s 1.75, which ranks seventh in the National League. The sellout crowd gave Blach a standing ovation when he was pulled in the eighth. 

--- Blach had a season-high five strikeouts. When he got Nick Markakis to end the first, Blach ended a streak of 37 left-handers faced without a strikeout. He later struck out another lefty, Matt Adams. The new Braves first baseman came up as the tying run in the eighth but Derek Law got him to ground out to first. 

--- Bonus sixth “thing to know” ... on Blach of course: His first name is Tyson, not Tyler. It’s Tyson Michael Blach.