03/21/10 6:48 PM ET
Bowker backs Pucetas' strong start
Three-run homer more than enough for rotation candidate
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
at Tucson, Ariz.
Sunday, March 21
Giants at the plate: It did not take the Giants long to get on the board. Three batters into the game, San Francisco led 3-0. Aaron Rowand walked, Andres Torres was hit by a pitch and John Bowker brought them home with a homer to right. Rowand drove in a run in the second with a single up the middle. That scored pitcher Kevin Pucetas, who helped out his own cause by drawing a walk. Every player in the starting lineup reached base at least once. Matt Downs hit a pinch-hit ground-rule double in the sixth.D-backs at the plate: Conor Jackson got his first start of the spring in the leadoff spot and responded with a single in the first. Jackson proceeded to steal second, and he also doubled in the third inning. Jackson scored Arizona's first run when he scampered home on Justin Upton's double play in the first. The D-backs ran wild early in the game, stealing three bases in the first two frames. Jeff Bailey belted a homer in the seventh inning.
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Giants on the mound: Pucetas continued his bid to make the rotation with a strong outing. The right-hander, who had not allowed a run in nine innings coming into the game, gave up a first-inning run, but otherwise pitched well, allowing just that one run and three hits over five innings. Pucetas walked two and did not strike out a batter.D-backs on the mound: It was a rocky beginning for Edwin Jackson. Coming off a poor start in his last outing, the right-hander allowed a walk, hit a batter and gave up a homer to the first three batters of the game. Jackson settled in nicely after that, retiring the next three hitters and the first two of the next inning, though the Giants were still able to push across a run in that frame. Reliever Leo Rosales, who has had an impressive camp, pitched out of a bases-loaded, two-out jam in the fifth by getting Eli Whiteside to pop out to catcher Miguel Montero. Worth noting: This was the Giants' final trip to Tucson for the foreseeable future. Both the D-backs and Rockies, who currently train in Tucson, are scheduled to move to a shared facility in Scottsdale next season. The Giants beat the Rockies, 9-2, when they played earlier this spring at Hi Corbett Field. Cactus League records: Giants 14-6; D-backs 9-10-1 Up next: After most of the Giants' expected Opening Day lineup got the day off Sunday, many should return to action Monday when the Giants play host to the Rangers at Scottsdale Stadium. Barry Zito will make his fourth start of the spring. The left-hander had some control issues his last time out when he walked three and allowed four hits in 3 1/3 innings against the A's.
D-backs right-hander Ian Kennedy will look to rebound from a disappointing start when he takes the ball Monday against the Padres at Tucson Electric Park. The game will also be important for several relievers, including Bob Howry, who has given up 13 hits in 6 1/3 innings so far this spring. Right-hander Esmerling Vasquez, also slated to pitch, has pitched well since a rocky first outing and is making a strong case to win one of the final bullpen spots.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.