Giants offense comes alive, pours it on in much-needed win over Twins

Giants offense comes alive, pours it on in much-needed win over Twins

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — The San Francisco Giants busted out of their offensive slump without a couple of key players.

Buster Posey led the way.

Posey had three hits and four RBIs, Hunter Pence added three doubles and scored three times, and the Giants beat the Minnesota Twins 13-8 on Sunday to avoid a three-game sweep.

Eduardo Nunez also had three hits and scored three times while rookie Austin Slater had three hits and a career-high four RBIs to help the Giants win for the fourth time in 12 games.

"The way we swung the bats, especially with runners in scoring position ... everybody did something," manager Bruce Bochy said. "Any time you sit regulars like that and you get a win and come from behind, that's nice. Those guys needed at-bats and had big days for us."

San Francisco had been held to two runs over the first two games of the series before setting season highs for hits (17) and scoring. The Giants also had a San Francisco record-tying eight doubles despite Bochy holding shortstop Brandon Crawford, center fielder Denard Span and second baseman Joe Panik out of the starting lineup.

Posey, who entered the day with the fourth-best batting average in the majors, had an RBI groundout in the first, a run-scoring single in the fifth and a key two-run double in the seventh.

Kelby Tomlinson singled and scored twice in a rare appearance batting leadoff for San Francisco. Slater, who made his major league debut on June 2, had a bases-loaded triple in the ninth.

"Today was a good game offensively," said Posey, who raised his average to .347. "Hopefully we're going in the right direction. When we were able to get the lead, it seemed like guys were taking good, aggressive swings after that."

Pence bounced back after striking out three times Saturday and again in his first at-bat Sunday. He had an RBI double in the seventh and in the ninth. The veteran right fielder had been 7 for 51 before breaking out against the Twins.

Josh Osich (1-1) retired three batters for the win.

Eduardo Escobar and Byron Buxton homered for Minnesota. Matt Belisle (0-1) got two outs and was charged with four runs and four hits.

"We had a lead late," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "Unfortunately a walk in the seventh turned into a disastrous seventh and we couldn't control them after that."

DYSON'S DAY

Reliever Sam Dyson didn't have the best of luck during his Giants debut. The former Texas closer failed to retire a batter in the ninth and was charged with three runs, two earned. Posey committed an error in the inning.

"He got a couple groundballs we couldn't handle," Bochy said. "He just had some bad luck unfortunately for him. He'll be fine. His stuff was really good. He just hadn't pitched in a while and I expected some rust."

ROOKIE DEBUT

San Francisco's offensive outburst spoiled the major league debut of Twins left-hander Nik Turley. The 27-year-old Turley, who spent 10 years in the minors, gave up four runs and nine hits in four-plus innings.

"I honestly can't remember what it felt like at the start," Turley said. "A lot of nerves. Sometimes it was hard for me to control what I wanted to do with my body."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Giants: Madison Bumgarner threw 30 pitches off a mound before the game and looked good, according to Bochy, who said that the left-hander could face hitters next weekend when the team plays in Colorado. It was Bumgarner's second time throwing off a mound since suffering a separated left shoulder and bruised ribs in dirt bike accident on April 20.

UP NEXT

Twins: LHP Adalberto Mejia (1-1, 4.18 ERA) pitches the opener of a four-game series against Seattle in Minnesota on Monday.

Giants: LHP Ty Blach (4-3, 3.64 ERA) makes his 10th start since replacing Bumgarner in the rotation when San Francisco opens a two-game series against the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday.

 

Giants lineup: No lefties starting against Twins call-up Turley

Giants lineup: No lefties starting against Twins call-up Turley

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Twins-Giants coverage begins at 12pm with Pregame Live on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming right here.

With the Twins calling up lefty Nik Turley, Bruce Bochy has no left-handed batters in his lineup Sunday.

Minnesota Twins:
1. Brian Dozier (R) 2B
2. Joe Mauer (L) 1B
3. Miguel Sano (R) 3B
4. Robbie Grossman (S) LF
5. Jason Castro (L) C
6. Eduardo Escobar (S) SS
7. Eddie Rosario (L) RF
8. Byron Buxton (R) CF
9. Nik Turley (L) P

San Francisco Giants:
1. Kelby Tomlinson (R) SS
2. Eduardo Nunez (R) 3B
3. Aaron Hill (R) 2B
4. Buster Posey (R) 1B
5. Hunter Pence (R) RF
6. Nick Hundley (R) C
7. Austin Slater (R) LF
8. Gorkys Hernandez (R) CF
9. Matt Cain (R) RHP

Giants lose once again as big bats continue to struggle

Giants lose once again as big bats continue to struggle

SAN FRANCISCO — Late in a long post-game session with reporters, Jeff Samardzija said everyone needs to do more. He included the starting pitchers in his accounting. 

“We can win games 2-1,” he pointed out.

It was nice of Samardzija not to throw teammates under the bus, but the Giants don’t need to win games 2-1. Winning 4-3 is not asking a lot, but the Giants once again failed to hit that mark. They lost 3-2 to the Twins, failing to hit the low three-run mark for the 14th time in 29 home games. At AT&T Park, they are averaging 3.07 runs per game this season. 

Manager Bruce Bochy has clearly seen enough. He rubbed his hand through his hair as he sat down on the podium 10 minutes after the final out, and there was an edge to his voice at times. He seemed annoyed, more than anything. 

“We’ve talked about the need to score four runs,” he said. “We have a hard time doing that here at home. I wish I could put my finger on it. It’s not going to happen until our guys who normally do what they’re good at come around and drive in these runs. You still believe that they will, but right now it’s a challenge for us, and it’s unfortunate because we’ve had a lot of quality starts. We just can’t score enough runs for these guys.”

Samardzija got two runs of support and took his eighth loss because of two Twins homers. He was pitching with no margin for error because the Giants failed to cash in on an early opportunity against Jose Berrios. A double and two walks loaded the bases in the third, but Brandon Crawford and Hunter Pence struck out. Both players struck out three times on the day, Crawford’s average dropping to .247 and Pence’s to .228. 

“It’s obvious they’re not seeing the ball right now, either one,” Bochy said. “That makes it tough, when you’re in the heart of the order and you have a couple of guys struggling, that makes it tough to score runs. Those are the guys you lean on. The third inning, that’s the difference in the game.” 

“We couldn’t cash in and take advantage of those things. That’s probably going to come back to haunt you, which it did today.”

Saturday’s story was familiar, and not just because the Giants lost and looked flat while doing so. Once again, they couldn’t get more than a player or two going. That’s been the story all year. On Saturday it was Brandon Belt who led the charge, with a homer in the first and a single and walk later on. Belt, hitting third, needed help from the guys behind him. It wasn’t there, and it hasn’t been. 

Crawford’s OPS is down nearly 100 points from last year. Pence is down to .579, after years of regularly posting an OPS over .800. Joe Panik is down 127 points from two years ago. Belt has 11 homers, but his OPS of .796 is 19 points below his career average. Denard Span (.712) is also well below his previous numbers. 

“There’s a dramatic difference right now for some of these guys,” Bochy said. “That’s part of our issue and that’s why we are where we are.”

While the other regulars have at times looked poised to bust out, Pence’s slump has lasted just about the entire season. He was struggling before he went on the DL with a hamstring strain, and he is 3 for 22 in seven games since returning. Bochy said “it’s evident he’s not seeing the ball well.”

“I’m not hitting the ball well and not having good pitch selection, so you could say that,” Pence said. “At this moment I don’t feel that good, but it could change at any moment.”

The Giants have no shot if it doesn’t, for Pence and others. They believe they’re healthy enough and putting in the proper work. It’s just not leading to anything new. 

“You’ve got to keep plugging away,” Pence said. “If I knew the answer, I’d be doing it.”

--- If you need a different tase in your mouth, I chatted with old friend Chris Heston today. You can listen to the podcast here.