Morse, Bumgarner Help Giants Sweep Twins
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Michael Morse doubled three times and drove in four runs, Madison Bumgarner stayed unbeaten in May and the San Francisco Giants beat the Minnesota Twins 8-1 on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.
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.
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.
Eduardo Escobar singled and scored Minnesota’s only run in the third.
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: Nolasco, the Twins’ opening day starter, is winless in five May starts. … Pagan was given the day off to rest his sore right knee.. … The balk is the fifth of Bumgarner’s career. … Manager Bruce Bochy said RHP Matt Cain might return to the Giants rotation earlier than expected. Cain will miss his scheduled start Monday because of a sore hamstring but could start before his next turn comes up. “We have to do the right thing to do, the safest, to keep him from going on the disabled list,” Bochy said. “He’s made a lot of progress. He’s just not quite there.” … 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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