SAN FRANCISCO -- Although the Giants' starting rotation has been experiencing uncharacteristic struggles lately, the bullpen has been trying to ease the pain despite its increased workload.

Entering Wednesday having pitched seven innings in two games against the Dodgers, the bullpen had allowed only two runs, while walking only one and striking out nine.

Denny Bautista (8 2/3 scoreless innings in his past seven appearances) has impressed lately, as did Guillermo Mota (one scoreless inning) on Tuesday. But after struggling early on, left-hander Dan Runzler has pitched brilliantly. In his past 11 outings (9 2/3 innings), Runzler hasn't allowed a run and also pitched out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam Tuesday.

"[Runzler] kept his poise out there, where I think in the past, he's gotten out of sync and rhythm and lost some composure," Bochy said. "Now he's pitching with a lot of confidence."

Bochy keeps faith in Sandoval

SAN FRANCISCO -- Despite making two key baserunning mistakes the past two games, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he gave no thought to giving Pablo Sandoval a day off in Wednesday's series finale against the Dodgers.

On Tuesday, Sandoval rounded second hard on a single by Pat Burrell, but was thrown out trying to retreat. The day before, he was caught between first and second on a fly ball to right field on a play where he thought Aaron Rowand -- on third -- would try to score.

Although both miscues put a significant dent in potential San Francisco rallies, Bochy said if mistakes are going to happen, he'd rather see his player be overly aggressive.

"I'll take that over a guy jogging and not trying to do something," Bochy said. "He's young. He's going to make a mistake over there because he's a very aggressive player. I don't want to break this kid's spirit. He's going to be carrying us at some point."

Bumgarner hopes to relax in second start

SAN FRANCISCO -- The first two innings of Madison Bumgarner's 2010 debut were full of nerves for the young left-hander.

He gave up two home runs to Boston in that span, but settled down to retire 16 of the final 17 batters he faced. On Wednesday, a day before he was scheduled to make his second start of the season, Bumgarner said he felt more calm, but wasn't sure how he'd feel come Thursday evening.

"It's going to be hard to tell until once it starts getting to gametime and first pitch comes," Bumgarner said of fighting off the nerves. "Hopefully I'll be able to relax."

Bumgarner said he didn't study film or look too much into his start against the Red Sox, mainly because he knew he wasn't himself. Although he had four appearances in 2009 and now has one start under his belt this season, Bumgarner said he wasn't sure how long the nerves would last, but acknowledged they could be around awhile.

"I don't even know -- I could be here for a year and still feel the same way," Bumgarner said. "[Being in the Majors is] tough to adjust to. It's something you work for your whole life and it's just like, 'Wow.'"

Schierholtz waits for more playing time

SAN FRANCISCO -- Nate Schierholtz understands it's crowded in the San Francisco outfield these days.

Andres Torres is firmly entrenched as the team's leadoff hitter, Aubrey Huff is a daily mainstay at one of the corners and the duo of Aaron Rowand and Pat Burrell is already one too many for the final outfield spot.

Schierholtz -- San Francisco's everyday right fielder for much of the early season before suffering a shoulder injury -- says he understands he has to patiently wait for his chance to contribute every day.

Currently, Schierholtz has found a niche as a pinch-hitter and late-inning defensive replacement. But, at 26 years old, Schierholtz admits he's anxious to once again become a regular and show what he can do.

"It's tough, obviously, my situation," Schierholtz said. "I'd like to be playing, I'm younger, I feel like I can be an everyday player, but for now I just have to be patient and do my best to help the team and get my hits. Hopefully that'll put me in a good position."