AT&T PARK — A two-man show from Ryan Vogelsong and Pablo Sandoval helped the Giants escape with a 2-1 victory Saturday night over the Minnesota Twins.
Vogelsong (W, 3-2, 3.20 ERA) was challenged early by the Twins offense but summoned strong command to allow just three hits — two for extra bases — while striking out seven and walking one.
For the second game in a row, red-hot Pablo Sandoval brought the Giants early offense with another big fly in his first at bat off Twins starter Samuel Deduno (L, 1-3, 3.48 ERA).
Just a day after Manager Bruce Bochy expressed confidence in Sandoval’s improvements in his approach at the plate, the slugger won a two-strike battle by sending an opposite field home run over the left field wall to give the Giants a 1-0 lead in the second.
Bochy continued to applaud Sandoval for his offensive emergence:
“He’s got his confidence going, and that usually comes with success. He’s always hit, that was the longest tough streak he’s ever gone through. But it looks like he’s come out of it. He’s making great contact right now.”
Sandoval would put the Giants on the board again in the sixth with a sacrifice fly into triples alley, plating leadoff man Angel Pagan who started the inning with a single into left field and giving San Francisco a 2-0 advantage.
Saturday was another frustrating night for the Twins at the plate as they failed to capitalize on scoring opportunities early in the game.
Minnesota moved a runner into scoring position in each of the first three innings, putting early pressure on Vogelsong. But their bats stalled in each attempt, as they continued to go hitless in the series with runners in scoring position.
Their inability to execute would haunt them, as Vogelsong would find his rhythm in the top of fourth inning, going on to strike out two batters in his first shut down inning of the game.
It was smooth sailing for the right-hander from then on out, finishing his night with a shut out intact after relief pitcher Juan Gutierrez retired pinch-hitter Chris Hermann to shut the books on Vogelsong’s night.
Bochy spoke about Vogelsong’s improvements from his earlier starts after the game:
“You could see this coming because of the stuff thats really picked up. His velocity, I think, his command. He’s really hit both sides of the plate very well. And his secondary pitches have gotten crisper … He’s got his stuff back, and when you have that kinda stuff and that kinda command you’re probably gonna pitch well.”
After a few rough starts to begin the season spawned questions about his ability to be an effective starter, Vogelsong has since turned in six consecutive strong outings, allowing just six runs over his last six starts.
The Twins wouldn’t go quietly though, as Josmil Pinto would bring Minnesota within one by launching a solo blast down the left field line off of closer Sergio Romo.
Romo would regroup and retire the next three batters in order to secure a victory for the Giants.
The Giants close out the series against the Twins Sunday with Madison Bumgarner looking to complete the sweep against RHP Ricky Nolasco in a 1:05 p.m. start.
Hunter Pence’s 10-game hit-streak was snapped tonight after going 0-2. … The Giants are still undefeated in Interleague play. … Manager Bruce Bochy confirmed starter Matt Cain will miss his next scheduled start with Yusmeiro Petit taking his place.