Spring training: Madison Bumgarner shines; A's beat by former teammate
Published: Monday, March 11, 2013 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, March 11, 2013 at 9:55 p.m.
Facing a lineup packed with big leaguers helped San Francisco Giants Madison Bumgarner get a bit of a regular-season feel.
Bumgarner pitched four-hit ball for four innings and struck out four in the Giants' 2-1 win over the Texas Rangers on Monday in Surprise, Ariz.
“It went pretty good,” said Bumgarner, who went 16-11 with a 3.37 ERA last year. “I was happy with it. I said before, each time is a step in the right direction and each time has been a little bit better.”
Bumgarner, who had not thrown more than two innings in three prior starts, walked Lance Berkman in the first and gave up a double to Mitch Moreland in the second before retiring the final eight batters he faced.
The only two Texas starters absent were shortstop Elvis Andrus, who just returned from Puerto Rico where he played for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic, and right fielder Nelson Cruz, who remains with the Dominican Republic's WBC team.
“It's getting to the time now, the end of spring, when I want to get more game ready instead of just working on stuff,” Bumgarner said. “You want to know you're able to get guys out heading into the season.”
Bumgarner's outing was far less eventful than Texas starter Yu Darvish's third start.
Darvish retired six of the first seven batters he faced but struggled a bit in the third. The right-hander allowed infield singles to Kensuke Tanaka and Tony Abreu before Hunter Pence laced a hard double into the left-field corner to give San Francisco a 1-0 lead.
It was the first run Darvish had allowed this spring.
“For two innings he had a snapdragon slider and a lot of pop on his fastball,” said Rangers manager Ron Washington. “He just threw a lot of pitches in the third inning and got his pitch count up.”
Mike Olt, an infielder playing right field for Texas, closed out Darvish's outing with a diving catch of a line drive by Buster Posey.
“I've been trying new things,” said Darvish, who allowed five hits and struck out five in 3 2-3 innings. “The hit to Pence and the hit to right, those are pitches I don't normally try during the season but I wanted to try new things and they got hit off me. But it was good to try new things.”
Darvish said he's also experimented with a split-finger fastball this spring. Such experimentation comes as a result of being more comfortable with his place in Rangers camp.
“Compared to last year I think I'm enjoying this a lot more,” Darvish said. “Last year I pressured myself to get outs. This year, I'm trying new things and enjoying the atmosphere a lot more.”
Pence struck again in the fifth, following Nick Noonan's triple to right-center off Rangers closer Joe Nathan with a triple to left.
“(Nathan) got the ball down after that,” Washington said. “Those two pitches were up. He certainly knew what he had to do to get outs, and that was get the ball down.”
A'S LOSE TO ONE OF THEIR OWN
At Peoria, Ariz., Tyson Ross said it felt weird trying to strike out his friends and former teammates.
It didn't hinder his performance, though.
Ross gave up two hits and struck out three in three innings, and Yonder Alonso hit one of the San Diego Padres' three homers in a 10-0 romp over the Athletics.
“Coming in I probably said hello to one too many guys and I heard it from the guys in the bullpen,” said Ross, acquired by the Padres in a trade this offseason. “They were chirping, telling me to cut the cord and whatnot, but those are my friends over there. It was good to see them.”
It was the second straight scoreless outing for the 25-year-old Ross. But he needed 62 pitches — 38 strikes — to get through his outing.
Ross also flashed the electric movement on his pitches that prompted San Diego to trade for him. Ross has a four-seam fastball that tops out at 96 mph, a biting slider and a changeup that drops into the low 80s.
“The first step for Tyson is throwing consistent strikes,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “When he does that, then he needs to work on hitting specific spots. If he can put it all together, Tyson can be effective at the major league level.”
Ross believes a change of scenery will help him reach his potential. That didn't happen last year with Oakland, when we went 2-11 with a 6.50 ERA.
The Padres hope he can become a quality starter, although that may not come in time to begin the season as the No. 5 starter. Ross isn't worried about the immediate future.
“Playing for a new team has allowed me to hit the reset button,” Ross said. “The coaching staff here believes in me, and this fresh start and it's been great for my confidence.
“Of course I'd like to secure a rotation spot or just make the big club, but I need to focus on what's going to help me be successful in the long term,” he added. “I need to stay with the program, trust my stuff and know that good things will come if I keep working hard.”
The Padres offense jumped all over valued Oakland starter Jarrod Parker, who gave up five runs and two home runs in four innings pitched.
“They didn't let him get away with mistakes,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “Anything left up in the zone, those guys were driving.”
Jonathan Galvez and Travis Buck each homered for the Padres. Alonso had three RBIs.
Galvez provided the game's best offensive highlight. His second-inning home run rocketed over the left field wall, through a hospitality tent and out of the ballpark.
Padres closer Huston Street pitched a scoreless sixth inning, his third appearance of the spring.
The Giants lead the NL with 12 triples in 16 games. San Francisco led the majors with 57 triples last season, the first time the Giants topped that category since 1973.
Giants RHP Tim Lincecum, sidelined his past two starts because of a blister on the middle finger of right hand, will return to action Tuesday night against San Diego.
Oakland RHP Fernando Rodriguez left Monday's game with right elbow tightness. He faced just one batter before being removed.
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