Swisher power Indians past Giants

RICK EYMER Associated Press Published:

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- Nick Swisher supplies enough energy and enthusiasm to fill several clubhouses. These days he's getting an extra boost with all the new faces in Cleveland.

Swisher hit one of three Cleveland home runs, Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched three scoreless innings and the Indians beat the San Francisco Giants 4-3 Tuesday.

"There's a lot of buzz going on around this team," Swisher said. "This camp has been great and so much fun. It will be interesting to see how the season works itself out."

Swisher signed a four-year deal worth $56 million with the Indians as a free agent last December.

"One of the great things about this team is the mix of younger guys and veterans," Swisher said. "We have, arguably, the fastest American League team and I have the utmost faith in everybody. It's a good atmosphere and a good vibe."

Brandon Crawford hit a two-run homer for the Giants, who lost their second straight. Brandon Belt also homered.

Swisher hit his second home run of the spring and is now batting .500.

"Right now we have to find our identity," Swisher said. "There are a lot of new guys here and we're all trying to get to know each other. There aren't many rules except to be fundamentally sound and to keep grinding. We'll figure out a lineup."

Matsuzaka allowed five hits and struck out two. He said, through an interpreter, it was the best he's felt all spring.

"Sometimes he allows baserunners but he doesn't back off," Indians' manager Terry Francona said. "He knows what he wants to do and he knows how to get out of it. It's his third start and we'll see where he goes from here."

Madison Bumgarner gave up a run on three hits in his two innings for the Giants. He walked one and struck out three.

"My command wasn't as erratic as it has been," Bumgarner said. "I was just up and pitching from behind too much. You're trying to be at your best but you know that's not going to happen."

After a long season and anticipating a long spring, Bumgarner said he backed off throwing bullpens during the offseason as a way to take it easy.

"I just want to get my arm in shape," he said. "My command will be there."

Roberto Perez hit a home run in the top of the ninth to give Cleveland a 4-3 lead. Juan Diaz also homered for the Indians.

Giants second baseman Kensuke Tanaka got a hit off Matsuzaka, and has six hits in his last 14 at bats after going hitless in his first 10.

"I'm sure it was nice for them to face him each," Giants' manager Bruce Bochy said. "His play has picked up. He's playing some good baseball."

Cole Gillespie and Francisco Peguero each had two hits for San Francisco.

ANGELS 6, REDS 4

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Depending on one's point of view, Albert Pujols started his exhibition season 10 days late or 10 days early.

Recovering from offseason surgery on his right knee, the three-time MVP went 0 for 3 in his first spring training appearance of 2013 as the Los Angeles Angels beat the Cincinnati Reds, 6-4.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia had not expected Pujols to play for another week-and-a-half.

"I need to get my at-bats," Pujols said. "It doesn't matter how much you hit in the cage. You need to see live pitching."

In addition to Pujols, the Angels used their projected starting outfield for the first time: Mike Trout in left, Peter Bourjos in center and Josh Hamilton in right field. They combined to go 4 for 8.

"It's fun to see those guys," Scioscia said.

Jay Bruce hit a pair of solo homers for the Reds, off Tommy Hanson in the second and Scott Downs in the fourth.

"It was nice to see Jay swing the bat well," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "It's his best game so far. He hit one out to center. You know when he does that he's staying on the ball and not pulling off."

Hanson, 13-10 with a 4.48 ERA in 2012 with Atlanta, made his first spring training start for the Angels and allowed one run and three hits in two innings.

ROCKIES 6, CUBS 3

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Jeff Francis is way ahead of schedule for the start of the Colorado Rockies' season. Todd Helton could use a some more good at-bats.

Francis pitched four shutout inning and Helton had his first hit and RBI as the Rockies beat the Chicago Cubs 6-3 to snap a three-game losing streak.

"I threw a couple of nice curveballs early and then was able to speed it up later in the count, and that worked very well," said Francis who has not allowed a run and only six hits in nine innings.

Helton, a .320 hitter who was limited to 69 games and a career-low .238 average while fighting hip problems last season, gave Colorado a-1-0 lead in the first with an opposite-field ground-rule double. It was only his second spring game and third at-bat. Helton grounded out sharply to the pitcher in his other at-bat. His timing at the plate looked off.

The only hit Francis gave up was bloop single to Cubs starter Scott Feldman. Feldman, expected to be in the Cubs' rotation, gave up four runs and six hits while facing 13 batters in a little over two innings.

FELICIANO MONITORED

JUPITER, Fla. -- New York Mets reliever Pedro Feliciano wore a heart monitor while pitching and reported no problems or discomfort during his first spring training outing.

Feliciano threw one inning against the Miami Marlins in a "B'' game on a practice field behind Roger Dean Stadium. He allowed one run -- on Ben Lasater's home run -- hit a batter and struck out one.

"I think it was better than what I was expecting in my velocity, release," Feliciano said.

Feliciano was diagnosed last week with a rare genetic condition called left ventricular noncompaction. The condition results from the failure of myocardial development from birth.

The 36-year-old left-hander, who missed the past two seasons because of a shoulder injury, threw 11 of 18 pitches for strikes. His fastball was clocked by scouts in the low 80 mph range.

Want to leave your comments?

Sign in or Register to comment.