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Giants thinking about moving in the fences

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Over at The Athletic, Andrew Baggarly and Eno Sarris have a story about how the San Francisco Giants are considering that which was once inconceivable: moving in the fences at Oracle Park.

The park, designed during the 1990s offensive boom, and thus intended to be both expansive and beautiful, is one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in the game. Partially because of the huge right-center field and partially because of the weather. It’s also worth noting that the dimensions didn’t seem all that bad when a god like Barry Bonds was hitting titanic homers there but his retirement, plus the Giants’ failure to develop solid power hitters, has made its cavernous place seem even more cavernous.

The impetus, though, is just as much practicality as home run friendliness. Oracle Park is one of the only parks with on-field bullpens remaining in the game (Tropicana Field and the Oakland Coliseum are the others). Having pitchers mounds in areas where fielder’s range is less than ideal, and has caused injury in the past. The Giants are thinking about taking some of that acreage in right center and moving the bullpens out there.

It’s good that they have more reason to do this than just boosting offense, because baseball has a fairly sketchy history of such moves. Teams who are bad and who move the fences in tend to just see their opposition hit more homers because, well, you still need good players. An opposite example is one of my favorite ones. In 1990, the Cleveland Indians acquired speedster Alex Cole, who swiped 40 bases in only 63 games. Inspired to become the next Whitey Herzog Cardinals, the Indians moved their fences way back and planned to be all about triples and stolen bases and all of that, with Cole as the center of it all. The next year Cole stole only 27 bases and was caught a hefty 17 times, a young Albert Belle was the only guy on the team to hit more than 11 homers and the Indians lost 105 games. And so it goes.

Here’s hoping the Giants have better luck with their alterations.

 

Twins tie team record with 8 homers in 16-7 win over Angels

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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Miguel Sano and Jonathan Schoop each hit two of Minnesota’s franchise record-tying eight home runs and the Twins hammered Matt Harvey and the Los Angeles Angels 16-7 Thursday.

C.J. Cron homered, doubled twice and singled twice for the Twins. Max Kepler, Jorge Polanco and Eddie Rosario also homered for Minnesota.

It was the third time in franchise history – dating to their days as the Washington Senators – and second time this season Minnesota homered eight times. Before doing it April 20 against Baltimore, the last time it happened was in 1963 against Washington.

Schoop drove in four runs and Sano three as the Twins won six of seven on their road trip that began in Seattle and wound up with their first sweep in Anaheim since 1996. Minnesota, with the best record in the majors, hit 22 homers against the Mariners and the Angels while outscoring them 67-24.

There were a total of 11 home runs in this game, which was originally set for Wednesday but postponed due to unplayable field conditions following a pregame storm.

Angels first baseman Jared Walsh, who made five relief appearances in Triple-A this season, pitched for the first time in the majors. He gave up a run on two hits and a walk in the ninth.

The eight home runs also tied the Angels mark for most allowed. It previously happened in 2005 against Texas and 1996 vs. Oakland.

Four of the seven hits Matt Harvey (2-4) allowed in 2 2/3 innings went over the wall as the right-hander gave up eight runs for the second time this season.

Tommy La Stella hit his first grand slam in the ninth for the Angels, who have dropped four straight. David Fletcher and Brian Goodwin also homered for Los Angeles.

Minnesota broke open the game in the second inning with six runs, which included a three-run shot by Schoop and two-run drive by Polanco. Harvey was chased in the third after solo homers by Cron and Sano.

The Twins hit three home runs in the seventh to extend their lead to 14-2. Sano’s two-run shot and Schoop’s solo homer marked the sixth time the Twins had gone back-to-back this season. Kepler added a two-run drive.

Twins starter Martin Perez (7-1) went five innings and yielded two runs on five hits.

TOUGH DAY

Angels right fielder Kole Calhoun came up twice with the bases loaded but was unable to get a hit. He struck out in the third and grounded into a force out to end the fifth.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Twins: DH Nelson Cruz (left wrist sprain) returned to Minneapolis. He is eligible to come off the injured list on Friday but manager Rocco Baldelli said they are still seeing how he is doing swinging during batting practice.

Angels: SS Andrelton Simmons (left ankle sprain) saw a foot and ankle specialist Wednesday and expects to remain in a walking boot for at least two weeks. . LHP Andrew Heaney (elbow) had a bullpen session before Thursday’s game and could make his season debut Sunday.

UP NEXT

Twins: Return home and open a three-game series against the Chicago White Sox. RHP Jose Berrios (6-2, 3.39 ERA) has seven or more strikeouts in his last four starts.

Angels: Conclude their home stand with three games against Texas. RHP Griffin Canning (2-3, 3.80 ERA), who became the second LA starter to go seven innings last Saturday against Kansas City, gets the call on Friday.

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