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SF@COL: Bumgarner fans six over six solid innings

For the most part, Madison Bumgarner's first 10 starts of the season have produced statistics that coalesce with his four spectacular previous years as a starter.

The Giants' ace boasts a solid 3.38 ERA, his walks per nine innings ratio is hovering around his career average, and his strikeouts per nine ratio is actually at a career-best 10.

But there's one conspicuous difference in Bumgarner's 2014 stat line: Opponents are finally hitting him.

Bumgarner's hits per nine ratio has skyrocketed to 10.3 this season, after 7.9 and 6.5 figures in 2012 and 2013, respectively.

This increase in hits has led to an inflated 1.432 walks per innings pitched. Bumgarner's struggles keeping runners off the bases could be attributed to a few changes in his pitch frequency.

He has thrown his four-seam fastball in May at a rate of 44.67 percent, his highest monthly fastball rate since March 2013.

His changeup is also the "slowest" it has been since July 2010, averaging 83 miles per hour in May.

Pitching coach Dave Righetti declined to elaborate on the trends. He said the trends are not a target, instead more like the typical strategy: Use whatever pitch necessary to get the batter out.

"It depends on matchups and who pitchers are facing that day," Righetti said. "They don't go into a game knowing exactly what pitches they're going to throw."

Bumgarner gets the nod against Ricky Nolasco on Sunday, as San Francisco shoots for a sweep of the Twins at AT&T Park.

Nolasco (5.50 ERA) will look to avenge a 2-1 Minnesota loss Saturday and salvage Game 3 after dropping the first two to the Giants.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said a tweak in Nolasco's hamstring led to the delay of his next start (the righty has not pitched since May 18).

"Just came out and was a little sore on his hamstring. Wasn't a hamstring thing, it was just a little soreness in his hammy. [Pitching coach Rick Anderson] said, 'Well, let's see how you do when you throw your next bullpen.' It wasn't like he was in there getting a lot of treatment," Gardenhire said.

Twins: Willingham, Arcia on the way
Outfielders Josh Willingham and Oswaldo Arcia are set to rejoin the Twins following the team's California road trip. Both players have been rehabbing their respective wrist injuries and figure to add a big boost of power to Minnesota's lineup once they return.

While Willingham is expected to assume everyday duties in left field, Arcia could also see regular at-bats in the outfield rotation. Through 45 games, the Twins ranked sixth in the American League with 4.53 runs per game, but ranked 11th in slugging (.376) and 13th in homers (35).

"They're two very good hitters," shortstop Eduardo Escobar said. "Right now, we've got a pretty good lineup with veteran guys and young guys all together. We're playing good baseball right now, so for Willingham and Arcia to come in, they're good hitters. A lot of power."

Giants: Sandoval finding groove
There's not much to get excited about with Pablo Sandoval's current stat line.

Whichever way you look, it will disappoint -- his batting average (.227), on-base percentage (.279) and slugging percentage (.392) resemble that of a weak-hitting middle infielder, and not the power-hitting third baseman he is at his full potential.

But the third baseman has shown signs of breaking his season-long slump in the last week.

With a solo home run in the Giants' 2-1 win Saturday, Sandoval has collected four home runs in his last six games. He also added a double during that stretch.

Sandoval's homer came in the second inning off Twins starter Samuel Deduno. He also added a sacrifice fly in the sixth off Deduno to bring home what proved to be the game-winning run.

Worth noting
San Francisco looks to preserve its perfect record this season (5-0 so far) in Interleague Play in the series finale. The Giants' next Interleague series comes versus the White Sox beginning June 17.

Twins rookie catcher Josmil Pinto smacked his seventh home run of the season Saturday. He trails only Evan Gattis (eight) for most runs for a catcher this season. Comments