The San Francisco Giants Bryce Johnson slides ahead of the throw against the Texas Rangers for his 12th stolen base of spring training at Scottsdale Stadium on Wed Mar 22, 2023 (@NBCSGiants photo)
By Daniel Dullum
Wednesday, March 22, 2023
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – With overcast skies and 57 degrees at game time, the crowd at Scottsdale Stadium was bundled up Wednesday like it was a night game at Candlestick Park, the kind of Turn Back The Clock promotion the local chamber of commerce didn’t have in mind.
The weather for exhibition baseball has been very unseasonable for the fourth week of March in the Valley of the Sun.
Light rain in the morning limited pregame activity, but the show went on, and San Francisco pitching combined for a 10-hit shutout over the Texas Rangers split-squad 4-0.
The Giants are 11-12-1 in Cactus League play.
San Francisco starter Ross Stripling (1-1) worked 4 2/3 scoreless innings, giving up six hits while striking out four without a walk. He thew 73 pitches, 44 strikes. He has a two-year, $25 million contract with a player opt-out clause after 2023.
After Stripling, Scott Alexander, Jakob Junis and Taylor Rogers threw the remaining 3 1/3 innings. Taylor Rogers struck out the side in the ninth, and Junis fanned four in 2 1/3 innings while being credited with a hold.
Blake Sabol, who is competing for one of the two Giants roster spots for catchers, was 2-for-3. Sabol, a Rule 5 selection, leads the Cactus League with a .477 on-base percentage, a .697 slugging percentage, and a 1.174 OPS. He’s also second in the CL in batting (.333), tied for second in runs (11), and tied for third in walks (nine).
Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford was 1-for-1 with a walk in his first spring appearance since March 10. Crawford was sidelined with left knee inflammation.
Marcus Semien, Jonah Heim and Cory Seager each had two hits for Texas, which is 11-13-1.
Texas starter Jon Gray (2-1) went 4 2/3 innings, giving up three unearned runs four hits with two strikeouts and two walks. The Rangers’ bullpen crew of Brock Burke, Jacob Barnes, John King, Josh Sborz, and Joe Barlow allowed one unearned run on three hits and three walks.
San Francisco took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third on a pair of unearned runs. Texas pitcher Jon Gray’s throwing error on a pickoff attempt allowed Brett Wisely and Michael Conforto to score.
The Giants came up with another unearned run in the fourth to take a 3-0 lead. Rangers shortstop Corey Seager’s throwing error on a single by Joey Bart allowed Bryce Johnson to score.
San Francisco extended its lead to 4-0 with one more unearned run in the bottom of the sixth when Johnson’s fourth double of the spring drove in Casey Schmitt.
GIANTS JOTTINGS: Because this was a split-squad game, the Giants didn’t get a chance to renew acquaintances with former manager Bruce Bochy, who now pilots the Rangers. Bochy ran the other Texas squad at their spring home in Surprise, while associate manager Will Venable was managing the Giants’ opponent in Scottsdale. The Rangers visit San Francisco for a three-game interleague series in August. … The Giants lead MLB with 38 stolen bases on 48 attempts in 24 exhibition games. … The Giants have two more Cactus League games in Scottsdale – Thursday vs. Cleveland (split-squad) and Saturday vs. Seattle. … Attendance on Wednesday was 8,119. Time of game was 2:30.