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Holland improves with 3 scoreless innings

Bergen continues strong camp; Sandoval makes spring debut
@mi_guardado
March 2, 2019

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants’ offense mustered only four hits in a 0-0 tie against the Rangers at Scottsdale Stadium on Saturday afternoon, but manager Bruce Bochy took solace in the standout performance from his pitching staff. “The pitching, that’s really the story of the game,” Bochy said.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants’ offense mustered only four hits in a 0-0 tie against the Rangers at Scottsdale Stadium on Saturday afternoon, but manager Bruce Bochy took solace in the standout performance from his pitching staff.

“The pitching, that’s really the story of the game,” Bochy said.

Left-hander Derek Holland opened with three scoreless innings before handing it over to relievers Tony Watson, Will Smith, Reyes Moronta, Keyvius Sampson, Travis Bergen and Logan Webb, each of whom pitched a scoreless frame to complete the combined shutout.

Holland, who gave up three runs over one inning in his Cactus League debut against the White Sox on Monday, said he felt he executed his pitches better against the Rangers.

“I thought I got ahead a lot better,” Holland said. “That’s always been my goal, first-pitch strike. I’ve got to get that so I can use the rest of my pitches. It was good. I worked on some other things as well, with the split being one of them, I used that a couple times today, too, so that was good to mix that in.”

Bochy was particularly impressed with Bergen’s ability to escape an error-induced jam in the eighth. After issuing a leadoff walk, Bergen coaxed a potential double-play ball that was botched by shortstop Ryan Howard, putting runners on second and third with no outs. Bergen responded with two strikeouts and a flyout to shallow left field, leaving the runners stranded and the game tied.

Bergen has not allowed a run in his first three appearances for the Giants, who selected the 25-year-old left-hander in the Rule 5 Draft in December. The Giants already have a pair of elite lefties in Watson and Smith, but they would like to carry three left-handed relievers for most of this season, which could help Bergen land a bullpen job this spring. His status as a Rule 5 pick should help his cause, as he must be offered back to the Blue Jays if he is not kept on the Giants’ 25-man roster for the entire season.

“We’ll continue that, talking about this bullpen,” Bochy said. “But what great candidates we have. A lot of good choices. They’re doing what you want them to do. They’re pitching well, so it’ll be on us to hopefully make the right decisions.”

Meanwhile in Peoria

The Giants fell to the Padres, 7-6, in their other split-squad game at Peoria Sports Complex on Saturday. Left-hander Drew Pomeranz started for San Francisco and gave up four runs on five hits over three innings in his second spring outing. Pablo Sandoval, who has been dealing with a tweaked side muscle, made his Cactus League debut, playing third base and going 0-for-3.

Waiver claim

The Giants claimed right-hander Merandy Gonzalez from the Marlins on Saturday. Gonzalez, 23, logged a 5.73 ERA in eight appearances (one start) for Miami in 2018, but he has a 2.79 career ERA over six years in the Minors.

San Francisco's 40-man roster is now full.

Up next

Right-hander Dereck Rodriguez will make his second start of the spring on Sunday as the Giants face the Rockies at Salt River Fields at 12:10 p.m. PT. Left-hander Kyle Freeland is scheduled to pitch for Colorado.

Maria Guardado covers the Giants for MLB.com. She previously covered the Angels from 2017-18. Follow her on Twitter.