SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Giants opening-day starter Madison Bumgarner pitched five stellar innings and Hunter Pence hit a pair of solo homers, pacing the San Francisco Giants to a 4-0 victory over a Colorado Rockies split-squad on Friday.
Bumgarner, a left-hander, gave up two hits, walked one and struck out four. He is manager Bruce Bochy’s choice to start at Arizona in the regular-season opener on March 31.
Pence hit his second and third home runs of the spring, both off left-hander Christian Friedrich. Friedrich will start the season in the minor leagues.
Giants lefty setup man Jeremy Affeldt continued his road back from hamstring issues with a scoreless seventh inning.
Rockies: Friedrich had hoped to emerge with the No. 5 spot in manager Walt Weiss’ rotation, especially with No. 1 starter Jhoulys Chacin out with a shoulder strain, but it was determined that Friedrich needs more work before having a chance to make an impact in the regular season.
Friedrich was a first-round pick of the Rockies in 2008. He made 16 starts for the Rockies in 2012, going 5-8, but was slowed in ‘12 and again last season with lower-back issues.
Giants: Bumgarner is pleased with his progress this spring.
“I’m not quite there yet, but I’m almost there,” he said Friday. “Today, I had command of my curve and my change and my fastball. I felt good all in all.”
Giants pitchers have made a pact to improve themselves while swinging the bat this season, and Bumgarner did his part, coming up with a run-scoring single in the fourth inning.
“The pitchers want to keep that going and not leave it back in Arizona,” Bumgarner said.
Rockies: Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki continued to be sidelined after getting hit in the calf by a pitch on Wednesday. He is day to day.
Giants: Manager Bruce Bochy said second baseman Marco Scutaro (back) might be ready to play in a game by early next week. Left fielder Michael Morse continues to be out with a strained calf.
Despite the home runs and a hard-hit line drive that was caught by Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado in the fifth inning, Pence says he is not ready to start the season.
“I’ll be ready when it’s that day,” said Pence, who played in all 162 games last season. “There’s always room to continue to grow. I have to work on staying through the ball (with his swing), and doing it more consistently.”
Pence has worked in the cage with former Giants superstar Barry Bonds this week. Bonds is in camp through the weekend as a guest hitting instructor.
AFFELDT ON WAY BACK
Bochy is encouraged by the way Affeldt, who made his fourth spring appearance, is pitching.
“Jeremy has had a good spring,” Bochy said. “I like what he’s done. His breaking ball is better and the command of his fastball is better.”
The Giants have optioned second baseman Nick Noonan and outfielder Roger Kieschnick to Triple-A Fresno. Noonan has swung a solid bat this spring and Kieschnick has emerged as a strong defender.
“We’re going to be stretching our regular guys out more. They need to get ready, so these other guys probably wouldn’t be getting the three or four at-bats that they have been getting,” Bochy said.