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Belt's near-cycle motors Giants to win

Belt's near-cycle motors Giants to win

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Belt's near-cycle motors Giants to win
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- It's hard to classify a March 16 game at Camelback Ranch as having playoff-type atmosphere.

So let's go with the high excitement level of a prime regular-season contest when the Giants and White Sox faced off on Wednesday afternoon in Cactus League action. After all, San Francisco ace Tim Lincecum and White Sox Opening Day starter Mark Buehrle took the mound in the Giants' 5-3 victory and were both hard to hit.

Buehrle bounced back from two consecutive rough outings, during which he gave up 15 hits and seven earned runs over his last six innings, to yield just one earned run on seven hits over five innings against the defending World Series champs. Buehrle fanned three and walked one, with San Francisco (16-5) scoring on three straight two-out hits from Brandon Belt, Nate Schierholtz and one-time White Sox Minor Leaguer Brad Eldred in the fourth.

Lincecum fanned seven over 5 1/3 innings, including Gordon Beckham, Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko consecutively to end the fifth and start the sixth. The White Sox (6-11-1) scored in the second when Konerko singled and Alex Rios boomed a triple to center. Rios had a good game against Lincecum, with a long fly ball to center and a walk to go with the triple.

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San Francisco took control of the contest, before a crowd of 10,074 featuring numerous Giants fans, by scoring two in the sixth and two in the seventh. The two in the sixth came home on Belt's two-run blast off reliever Jeff Gray, and Brian Bruney was touched up for two in the seventh on Belt's run-scoring double and Schierholtz's run-scoring single. Bruney remains in competition for the final relief spot on the White Sox staff. Belt and Schierholtz finished with three hits apiece.

Brent Lillibridge cut into the margin in the bottom of the seventh with his first home run of the spring, a two-run shot scoring Juan Pierre.

White Sox up next: It's split-squad action for the White Sox on Thursday, with part of the crew playing at Milwaukee and the rest visiting Colorado's new Arizona home. Edwin Jackson gets the start at Maryvale Baseball Park against the Brewers, while Tony Pena, who conceivably could be a spot-starter if one is needed for Jake Peavy, will face the Rockies at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. The White Sox starting lineup, minus Paul Konerko, is set to go against the Brewers, while Konerko, Mark Teahen, Lastings Milledge, Alejandro De Aza and Brent Lillibridge are part of the lineup in Scottsdale against Colorado.

Giants up next: Left-hander Jonathan Sanchez, off to a solid start this spring, will take the mound for his fourth Cactus League outing when the Giants host the Angels in a 7:05 p.m. PT game, available on free, exclusive MLB.com audio webcast, Thursday at Scottsdale Stadium. Sanchez sports a 2.08 ERA through his first three appearances in Arizona, allowing 10 hits and striking out nine while walking three in 8 2/3 innings of work. Closer Brian Wilson also will get some work in the St. Patrick's Day game, and most of the regular position players will be on the field after all eight projected starters got the day off Wednesday following Tuesday's night game.

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Being Ozzie Guillen, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{"content":["spring_training" ] }
{"content":["spring_training" ] }
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