SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Chris Colabella has been through so much in baseball, a demotion will do anything but discourage the 30-year-old Minnesota outfielder.
Colabella, hitless in his last 23 at bats, learned he was being sent to Triple-A Rochester following the Twins’ 8-1 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Sunday.
“I understand. I wasn’t getting a whole lot of at-bats up here,” Colabella said. “It’s part of the process, I guess. Playing is what it’s all about and I’m definitely looking forward to that part of it.”
Colabella became a fan favorite in Minnesota by reaching the major leagues last season, at age 29, after spending seven years in an independent league.
Following action on April 19, Colabella was hitting .359. His average has dwindled to its current .232 following his drought, which includes 12 strikeouts. He didn’t play Sunday.
“It was a lack of execution,” Colabella said. “I was dealing with some stuff and I let it get to me a little bit.”
Collabella has made one start since May 11.
“After his start, it’s not easy to do, but everybody could see he was struggling,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We’ll get him some at-bats and try to get him going.”
Outfielder Chris Hermann was also sent down to make way for Josh Willingham and Oswaldo Arcia.
Madison Bumgarner stayed unbeaten in May and Michael Morse doubled three times and drove in four runs as the Giants completed a three-game sweep of the Twins.
Bumgarner fanned Joe Mauer three times, recorded six consecutive strikeouts during one stretch and struck out the side in the fifth after getting called for a balk. It’s just the fifth time in Mauer’s career that he’s struck out three times against the same pitcher.
The Giants jumped on starter Ricky Nolasco (2-5) early with a pair of bloop singles in the first and a run-scoring hit by Pablo Sandoval that left fielder Eduardo Nunez got a late jump on. Morse’s sacrifice fly made it 2-0.
Hunter Pence’s home run in the bottom of the third gave the Giants a 3-1 lead. It was Pence’s sixth home run of the season and his fifth career shot off Nolasco.
Morse doubled and scored in the fourth to make it 4-1, then broke the game open with a three-run double in the fifth.
“I thought I made pitches I needed to make to get out of the inning,” Nolasco said. “That’s the way baseball goes sometimes.”
Nolasco, who had won in four of his six previous starts in San Francisco, allowed nine hits over 4 2-3 innings, struck out three and walked one.
“He was battling,” Gardenhire said. “He got two big outs with Posey and Sandoval and made a good pitch to almost get out of that inning. It just so happens he rolled it down the line.”
Minnesota scored its lone run in the third on back-to-back singles and a sacrifice fly from Brian Dozier. The Twins, who were outscored 16-4 in the series, managed just three baserunners over the final six innings and were swept for the third time this season.
Mauer snapped his skid with a single in the ninth but was replaced by a pinch-runner.
NOTES: Nolasco, the Twins’ opening day starter, is winless in five May starts. … Minnesota RHP Kevin Correia (2-5) pitches against Texas on Monday. . The Twins were swept earlier in the season by the Oakland Athletics and the Los Angeles Dodgers.