GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) — Kevin Slowey remains in the race for the Cleveland Indians' final rotation spot. He's just not gaining ground.
Slowey gave up four runs over four innings in another so-so effort and the Indians' lost 5-3 to the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday.
"He had the one bad inning, other than that he was able to locate his pitches," manager Manny Acta said of Slowey, acquired from Colorado in January.
Brett Pill hit a three-run homer in the fourth off Slowey. The shot far over the left-field fence sent a group of fans scrambling in the sunbaked sand outside Goodyear Ballpark for a Cactus League souvenir.
"He smoked the ball today," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
Pill is hitting .273 with two homers and nine RBIs as he competes with Brandon Belt and Aubrey Huff for a roster spot. Huff is at .290 with two homers, three RBIs; and Belt .333, three homers, six RBIs.
"They are all doing their thing," Bochy said. "It is not going to be an easy decision as to which way we go."
Even Slowey admits his battle with lefty David Huff and right-handers Zach McAllister and Jeanmar Gomez is not as close.
"Jeanmar is doing quite a job," Slowey said. "As far as the rest of us, there's been parts and flashes. But if you look at the way he's throwing, it is tough not to say, 'Man, that guy is really getting the job done.' "
Slowey is 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA; Gomez is 1-0 and has yet to yield a run in 11 innings. Huff and McAllister are somewhere in between and both have minor-league options remaining.
"I threw a lot of strikes early, then started throwing hittable strikes," said Slowey, coming off an 0-8 season in Minnesota where he battled injuries. "I thought I was going to get good results today. In the fourth, I just didn't recognize where I was. You can't give up three-run homers and win."
Slowey twice got inning-ending double plays.
"I like that, but if this was the season, I wouldn't be thrilled with this result," Slowey said.
Shelley Duncan hit a two-run homer and leads Cleveland with four homers and 12 RBIs. Jose Lopez had a pinch-hit RBI single and is batting .440 as he tries to earn a utility infield spot in Cleveland.
Giants starter Eric Surkamp allowed four hits and two runs over five innings, striking out three.
"The kid has had a nice spring," said Bochy, who liked how the right-hander bounced back from Duncan's homer to work a perfect fifth. "His confidence is growing. He doesn't panic and regroups."
Indians reliever Rafael Perez fanned two over one perfect inning in his spring debut. He had been nursing a sore left shoulder.
Notes: Indians All-Star closer Chris Perez (strained left oblique) threw a 20-pitch simulated game. His first spring game could be Friday or Saturday. He took a grounder off his pitching hand, but was fine. "I was just reacting," he said of trying a barehand catch. "I wasn't expecting that, first time facing hitters and the third batter hits it right back at me." ... Cleveland claimed RHP Rick VandenHurk off waivers from Toronto. LHP Kelvin De La Cruz was designated for assignment. ... Indians head trainer Lonnie Soloff said OF Michael Brantley "will be shut down for a few days" with a tight hamstring. ... Giants INF-OF Emmanuel Burris, a former Kent State star, left with what Bochy said was a tight hamstring. ... RHP Justin Masterson, the Indians' opening day starter, made 81 pitches over four innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers' Triple-A team.