Vogelsong tries to stop the bleeding vs. Twins


Vogelsong tries to stop the bleeding vs. Twins

June 22, 2011

MINNESOTA (32-39) vs.
GIANTS (39-34)

Coverage begins at 6:30 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The Minnesota Twins pulled off a stunning feat at the plate during their first game against the San Francisco Giants in six years.

Scoring runs, though, might prove difficult for both teams with the Twins' Nick Blackburn and the Giants' Ryan Vogelsong scheduled to start Wednesday night at AT&T Park.

Minnesota (32-39) tied a major league record with eight consecutive hits to open its 9-2 victory in Tuesday's series opener. Ben Revere scored the first of his team's eight runs in the opening frame and doubled home the final two.

Joe Mauer also recorded his first two-hit game since returning from the 60-day disabled list and drove in a run. Five other Twins, including Revere, finished with two hits apiece and each starting position player hit safely.

Minnesota, winners in a season-high eight in a row and 15 of 17, might have trouble repeating that performance against Vogelsong (4-1, 1.92 ERA), who has not allowed more than two runs in eight consecutive outings.

The right-hander, however, has one win in his last six starts and did not get a decision Thursday in Arizona while allowing two runs over six innings.

"Another great effort," manager Bruce Bochy told the team's website. "He threw well. It would have been nice to have gotten him a win, but he certainly did all he could."

URBAN: Lack of rotation depth makes trade tough

Blackburn (6-4, 3.16), meanwhile, is seeking his career-high sixth consecutive win and has a 2.29 ERA over his last nine starts. He's also coming off his best performance over that stretch.

Blackburn scattered seven hits and walked one in eight innings Thursday to outduel four-time All-Star Mark Buehrle for a 1-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

"He's in complete control of the games," manager Ron Gardenhire said.

In his first matchup with the Giants (39-34), Blackburn will try to continue a dominant run for Minnesota's pitching staff, which owns a 1.88 ERA over the past 17 games.

The Twins are hoping another strong effort will help them record their first nine-game win streak since winning 10 in a row from June 17-27, 2008.

The Giants, who trail Arizona by one-half game in the NL West, are on their longest skid since dropping seven in a row June 26-July 2. Over its five straight defeats, San Francisco has scored nine runs - batting .031 (1 for 32) with runners in scoring position and .196 overall.

Minnesota, meanwhile, is batting .274 in its last 21 games - 28 points above its season average - and has 10 or more hits 13 times over that span.

Alexi Casilla has helped his team by batting .351 with eight doubles and 11 RBIs over his last 25 contests. He had two hits during Tuesday's win - a double and his second home run in as many games.

Michael Cuddyer is also batting .441 (15 for 34) during a 10-game hit streak with six doubles, three homers and 11 RBIs.

Vogelsong will try to quell that lineup in his first start against the Twins. He faced them once as a reliever in 2006 while with Pittsburgh, allowing three runs and five hits in one inning.

Bullpen implodes after Cain goes five solid, Giants crushed by Padres

Bullpen implodes after Cain goes five solid, Giants crushed by Padres


SAN FRANCISCO -- Wil Myers hit a three-run homer to cap San Diego's eight-run sixth inning and the Padres rallied to beat the San Francisco Giants 12-4 on Saturday night.

Myers also singled off Chris Stratton (1-0) to start the big inning and had three hits for the game. San Diego scored 11 runs against the Giants' bullpen following five effective innings from starter Matt Cain.

Allen Cordoba added a three-run homer off Neil Ramirez in the seventh.

The Padres combined for six hits and two walks off Stratton and Ramirez in the sixth. It took the duo 46 pitches to end the inning.

Jhoulys Chacin (3-3) struck out six and gave up three runs, five hits and two walks in five innings.

Triggs rebounds as A's halt 10-game losing streak to Astros

Triggs rebounds as A's halt 10-game losing streak to Astros

HOUSTON — Andrew Triggs keeps checking off all the right boxes in his first season as a major league starting pitcher.

Coming into the year, manager Bob Melvin said the right-hander’s biggest challenge would be retiring lefty hitters. He’s done that splendidly.

On Saturday, the A’s needed to see if Triggs could bounce back after his first rough outing of 2017. He responded with the best of his 11 career starts, holding a potent Astros lineup off the scoreboard for seven innings as the A’s registered a 2-1 victory that snapped their five-game losing streak.

The effective cutter that eluded Triggs when he lost to the Mariners last Sunday was back. Houston’s hitters waved helplessly at the pitch and began their walk back to the dugout all in the same motion, as Triggs rang up a career-high nine strikeouts. His seven innings also were a career high for the 28-year-old.

“We’re not really swinging the bats right now,” Melvin said. “We score two runs and we’re facing a lineup that you expect to score a bunch of runs. So to pitch as well as he did and go through the lineup three times, give us seven innings of work, is pretty good.

“He had the one off-outing, and every outing (besides that) has been pretty spotless.”

Triggs, whose 1.84 ERA ranks seventh in the American League, doesn’t blow people away with his fastball. He throws from a three-quarters arm slot that suggests it might be easy for left-handed hitters to pick up the ball out of his hand. Last season, the batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage were all roughly 40 to 50 points higher for lefties than for righties off Triggs.

All he’s done coming out of the gate this season is hold lefties to an .087 batting average (4-for-46). Another revealing stat: Opposing cleanup hitters are 0-for-14 off him.

Triggs credited catchers Stephen Vogt, Josh Phegley and, when he’s been up with the big club, Bruce Maxwell for their expertise in calling pitches against lefties.

“They’ve done such a good job keeping the sequences unpredictable,” he said. “You command pitches, you’re gonna get guys out. I know the stereotype is when you throw from the angle that I do, you’re gonna struggle with lefties. I’ve been aware, at least of that profile, for a while. I’ve worked on it quite a bit.”

Triggs had his entire repertoire working Saturday, according to Vogt.

“He was keeping them off-balance. Even when it seemed they were starting to sit on his slider, he starts sneaking some heaters by them. He was outstanding.”

But he had help. First baseman Yonder Alonso made a terrific leaping grab of Josh Reddick’s liner in the fifth that might have gone for extra bases. An inning before that, Jaff Decker made an on-the-money throw to third from deep right field to nail Carlos Beltran tagging up on a fly ball.

“He’s got a good arm so don’t sleep on him at all,” Triggs said.

Given how their month has gone, it’s no surprise the A’s got both their runs on homers. They’ve gone deep 31 times in April, their most homers in the month since they clubbed 34 in 2006. Lowrie, who’s spent two stints with the Astros and owns an offseason home in Houston, went deep to right to give the A’s a 1-0 lead. Khris Davis mashed his 10th homer in the eighth for what wound up being an important insurance run when Jose Altuve followed with a homer off Sean Doolittle.

Davis’ teammates by now are accustomed to seeing the left fielder flaunt his opposite-field power. He’s hit three homers this series, all to straightaway right or right-center.

Said Lowrie: “I think at this point it’s fair to call it special.”