Twins-Giants Preview

ALAN FERGUSON (STATS Writer)
The Associated Press

A visit to pitcher-friendly AT&T Park has done little for the Minnesota Twins as they've attempted to regain their prowess at the plate. A matchup with a pitcher who's unbeaten this month may not help either.

Madison Bumgarner, though, has been far from overpowering at the San Francisco Giants' home park this season and will try to change that while seeking a fourth consecutive win Sunday.

After producing four hits in a 2-1 loss Saturday, Minnesota (23-23) is batting .193 with 16 runs while splitting its last six. The Twins batted .317 and scored 25 runs during a season-high string of five games with double-digit hits last week.

Josmil Pinto's ninth-inning solo homer allowed the club to avoid its third shutout this season and first since May 2. Pablo Sandoval drove in both San Francisco runs with his fourth home run in six games and a sacrifice fly.

"I'm trying to use the whole field," Sandoval said. "I'm trying to put the bat on the ball. That's what I've been doing, especially with two strikes."

The Giants (31-18) will try to match a team record with their seventh consecutive interleague win while sweeping Minnesota for the first time in four all-time series.

Bumgarner (5-3, 3.38 ERA) is looking to provide another effective outing while securing his longest win streak since a career high-tying five-game run in June 2012.

Bumgarner has gone 3-0 with a 2.88 ERA in his last four starts, with 28 strikeouts in 25 innings. However, he's 2-2 with a 6.20 ERA in four home starts this year and 3-1 with a 1.88 ERA in six on the road.

The left-hander gave up three runs in six innings of a 5-4 loss at Colorado his last time out Tuesday, not getting a decision.

While it's been three years since he's faced Minnesota, it's doubtful he's forgotten the previous matchup. The Twins tied a major league record by beginning a 9-2 victory June 21, 2011 with eight consecutive hits, and Bumgarner was charged with eight runs while recording just one out.

In this meeting, he'll pitch opposite Ricky Nolasco (2-4, 5.50). The right-hander is 0-2 with a 4.15 ERA in four May starts and has received three or fewer runs of support in three of those games.

He allowed three runs in five innings against Seattle last Sunday and took the loss in a 6-2 defeat.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said a tweak in Nolasco's hamstring led the club to push this start back one day.

"Just came out and was a little sore on his hamstring. Wasn't a hamstring thing, it was just a little soreness in his hammy," Gardenhire told the team's official website. "(Pitching coach Rick Anderson) said, 'Well, let's see how you do when you throw your next bullpen.' It wasn't like he was in there getting a lot of treatment."

Nolasco, 1-2 with a 7.81 ERA in five road starts this season, has gone 0-2 with a 14.14 ERA in his last two matchups with San Francisco. He gave up six runs over 5 2-3 innings of a 6-4 loss at AT&T Park on Sept. 25 in the most recent one.

Sandoval, batting .367 in his last 13 games, has three homers, two doubles and a single in his last 10 at-bats against Nolasco.

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