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Crew can't overcome rough first inning

Crew can't overcome rough first inning

Crew can't overcome rough first inning
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Jeff Suppan tossed three scoreless innings against his former club and highly touted prospect Brandon Belt hit the first Spring Training home run of his career to help lead the Giants to a 7-2 victory over the Brewers on Friday at Scottsdale Stadium.

The split-squad Giants struck early by batting around and scoring five runs in the first inning against Brewers right-hander Tim Dillard. Pat Burrell started the rally with an RBI single after Aubrey Huff doubled before Mark DeRosa plated two runs with a double off the right-field wall. Then it was Belt's turn, and he delivered with a towering two-run blast to right field to give the Giants a five-run lead, which was plenty for the Giants' pitching staff.

Suppan was solid in his first Cactus League first start, allowing just one hit over three scoreless innings against his ex-teammates. The 16-year veteran, who played with the Brewers from 2006 to 2010, has allowed just one hit and no runs over six innings of work this spring.

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The Brewers, meanwhile, didn't get on the scoreboard until the fifth inning, when catcher George Kottaras hit his first home run of the spring off left-hander Dan Runzler. But the Giants struck back in the bottom of the sixth, with Aaron Rowand sending home a run with a double and scoring on a single by Freddy Sanchez.

"We did a great job, and it started with Suppan throwing strikes," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy. "But really, everybody did. I thought Runzler threw well, too, but made just that one mistake."

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Dillard struggled for the Brewers, allowing five runs on five hits and a walk over just one inning of work. But right-hander Marco Estrada tossed two scoreless innings in relief and closer John Axford made a successful return to the mound after a bout with food poisoning by pitching a scoreless fourth inning.

"I was happy with what I saw," said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke about Axford. "The ball was coming out of his hand nice. First time out, you tend to just let it go, and everything is up. But we expected that. It was nice to see him back out there, and I thought it went well."

Up next for Brewers: Roenicke will have what should be an emotional reunion with the Angels, the team for which he served as a coach the past 11 seasons, the last five as Mike Scioscia's bench coach, as the Brewers host Los Angeles in Maryvale Baseball Park on Saturday. Shaun Marcum, who had a rough debut in the Cactus League opener against the Giants (four hits and two earned runs in two innings), makes his second start of the spring in the first of two preseason meetings between the teams.

Up next for Giants: Left-hander Madison Bumgarner makes his first start (and third appearance) of the spring when the Giants visit Oakland and left-hander Brett Anderson on Saturday. Bumgarner has allowed four runs on eight hits in four innings so far for a 9.00 ERA. It will be the first meeting of the spring between the Bay Area rivals.

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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