SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Samuel Deduno proved again he deserves a permanent spot in Minnesota’s rotation – even on a night he ended up with a loss.
Deduno made one big mistake that led to a home run by Pablo Sandoval and was hurt by a miscue in the field as the Twins lost to the San Francisco Giants 2-1 on Saturday night.
Deduno (1-3) allowed two runs in 5 2-3 innings in his fourth start in place of an injured Mike Pelfrey and is making a case to stick in the rotation even after Pelfrey makes his return.
“You earn your spots up here and he’s definitely doing that,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “I don’t think anybody, if he keeps pitching like that, is going to take his spot in the rotation.”
Deduno ended up with the loss because of a big night from Sandoval, who drove in both runs for the Giants, and another strong start from Ryan Vogelsong.
Vogelsong (3-2) allowed three hits and struck out seven in 6 2-3 innings to extend his scoreless streak to 13 2-3 innings and lower his ERA to 1.35 in his past six starts.
“He was throwing good cutters to both sides of the plate,” Twins outfielder Jason Kubel said. “If you’re thinking cutter, he’ll throw the straight one in at you, too, and it gets guys to chase. He’s got a good curveball. When he’s got his pitches, he’s tough to hit.”
Josmil Pinto broke up the shutout bid with a leadoff homer in the ninth inning against Sergio Romo, but that was all the Twins could manage. Romo retired the next three batters to get his 16th save in 18 chances.
Sandoval got off to a slow start in a contract year and was batting under .200 as late as May 13. But he has found his stroke of late to lead the way for San Francisco.
“He has his timing and he has his confidence going,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “That usually comes with success. That was the longest tough streak he has ever gone through. It looks like he has come out of it and is making great contact right now.”
Sandoval gave San Francisco the lead for good in his first at-bat for the second straight night, sending an 0-2 pitch from Deduno over the wall in left-center to lead off the second inning with his sixth homer of the season. It was a rare two-strike hit for Sandoval, who came in with just five hits in 79 at-bats for an .063 average after reaching two strikes.
“I missed a changeup,” Deduno said. “I like to throw it on the ground, but it was just a little bit up. That’s why he hit it.”
Sandoval added a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning after a poor throw from second baseman Brian Dozier cost the Twins the chance at a double play.
That was enough for Vogelsong, who pitched out of trouble in the first three innings before finding his groove. The Twins had a runner on second with one out in each of the first three innings, but couldn’t score against Vogelsong, who has rebounded after posting a 7.71 ERA in his first four starts.
“I feel like when I’m out there, I can throw anything in any count,” Vogelsong said. “That’s a great feeling. It’s not always like that but the last couple of games it has been that way. It definitely helps your mentality on the mound.”
Vogelsong was replaced after making a throwing error on Aaron Hicks’ comebacker with two outs and no on in the seventh. Juan Gutierrez got pinch-hitter Chris Herrmann to ground out to escape the inning.
NOTES: Minnesota OF Josh Willingham (left wrist) is expected to be activated from the DL on Monday when the team opens a four-game homestand vs. Texas. OF Oswaldo Arcia (right wrist) is also expected to be activated. … Madison Bumgarner (5-3) will start the series finale for San Francisco against Ricky Nolasco (2-4).