Morse, Bumgarner Help Giants Sweep Twins
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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Michael Morse looked baffled after missing wildly on a wicked curve from Minnesota starter Ricky Nolasco in the fifth inning.
It was one of the few pitches the Giants’ slugger guessed wrong on, and the last one from Nolasco he let get by.
Morse hit a bases-loaded double on Nolasco’s next offering — one of three doubles by San Francisco’s first baseman — helping the Giants to an 8-1 win over the Twins on Sunday that completed a three-game sweep.
The crowd at AT&T Park gave Morse a loud ovation after the hit when his face was shown on the giant scoreboard in centerfield.
“Moments like that make you feel so humble and happy that you’re here,” said Morse, who signed a one-year deal with San Francisco in the offseason. “Every day feels like the playoffs here. It’s awesome.”
Madison Bumgarner pitched seven innings to remain unbeaten in May, Gregor Blanco had three hits while filling in for leadoff man Angel Pagan and Hunter Pence homered for the Giants, who improved to 6-0 in interleague games this year and improved their majors-leading record to 32-18.
Bumgarner (6-3) earned his fourth straight win while relying mainly on his fastball and slider to baffle the slumping Twins. He struck out 10 with no walks and allowed only two runners past second base.
“Madison was Madison,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “He had his normal stuff and pitched great.”
It was a far different result than Bumgarner got in his only other appearance against Minnesota in 2011 when the left-hander was knocked out of the game after retiring one batter.
This time around, the left-hander was dominant. Bumgarner fanned Joe Mauer three times, recorded six consecutive strikeouts during one stretch and struck out the side in the fifth after getting called for a balk. It’s just the fifth time in Mauer’s career that he’s struck out three times against the same pitcher.
George Kontos pitched the final two innings for San Francisco, which has won seven straight games against American League teams dating to 2013.
“I for sure didn’t forget about that,” said Bumgarner, who reached double digits in strikeouts for the 15th time in his career. “There wasn’t a whole lot of talk about it but it’s something that’s tough to forget, to go through a start like that one.”
Eduardo Escobar singled and scored Minnesota’s only run in the third.
“I don’t think we had a hit with runners in scoring position and that never bodes well,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We’ll try to find a way to get hits in the right places and win some ballgames.”
The Giants jumped on Twins starter Ricky Nolasco (2-5) early with a pair of bloop singles in the first and a run-scoring hit by Pablo Sandoval that left fielder Eduardo Nunez got a late jump on. Morse’s sacrifice fly made it 2-0.
Pence’s home run in the bottom of the third gave the Giants a 3-1 lead. It was Pence’s sixth home run of the season and his fifth career shot off Nolasco.
Morse doubled and scored in the fourth to snap a 2-for-14 slump and make it 4-1, then broke the game open with his bases-clearing hit in the fifth. San Francisco’s power-hitting first baseman smiled and pumped his fist while standing on second base as the crowd at AT&T Park gave him a roaring standing ovation.
That chased Nolasco, who had won in four of his six previous starts at the Giants’ waterfront ballpark. He allowed nine hits over 4 2-3 innings, struck out three and walked one.
Minnesota scored its lone run in the third on back-to-back singles and a sacrifice fly from Brian Dozier. The Twins, who were outscored 16-4 in the series, managed just three baserunners over the final six innings and were swept for the third time this season.
Mauer snapped his skid with a single off Kontos in the ninth but was replaced by a pinch-runner.
NOTES: Minnesota announced plans to activate Josh Willingham off the disabled list Monday after the veteran outfielder missed 41 games with a fractured left wrist. The team also plans to call up OF Oswaldo Arcia. To make room, the Twins will option backup C Chris Herrmann and IF Chris Colabello to the minors. … Nolasco, the Twins’ opening day starter, is winless in five May starts. … RHP Yusmeiro Petit (3-1) will start in place of Cain in the series opener against the Cubs. … Minnesota RHP Kevin Correia (2-5) pitches against Texas on Monday.
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