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Ty Blach shines again, Giants encounter a familiar face and a longshot stands out — Spring Training Digest

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San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Ty Blach (50) pitches against the Oakland Athletics at AT&T Park in San Francisco, California, on August 3, 2017. (Stan Olszewski/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Rotation hopeful Ty Blach once again delivered a strong performance on Monday afternoon in the San Francisco Giants’ 5-4 loss to the Texas Rangers.

Blach, who along with Chris Stratton is a favorite for one of the final two rotation spots, allowed one earned run — his first of the spring — in 3.1 innings. The left-hander scattered five hits, issued no walks and recorded a pair of strikeouts.

Blach now has nine strikeouts in 8.1 innings, a noteworthy accomplishment considering the lefty punched out 73 batters in 163.2 innings last season.

“I’m going to try to throw a few bigger curveballs and tighter sliders,” Blach said of the uptick in strikeouts, per MLB.com’s Chris Haft. “That’s been the goal every year. Nothing really new. I’m just trying to refine everything.”

Giants face off against an old friend. While Blach bolstered his rotation case, the Giants’ hitters faced off against orange and black cast off Matt Moore.

Moore, who ranked last among all qualified pitchers in ERA (5.52) last season, struck out a pair of Giants and allowed one hit — a run-scoring single to Austin Jackson. As was so often the case with his former employer, Moore struggled with his control, walking two in 2.2 innings.

On Tuesday, Moore is expected to be joined by another ex-Giants starter, Tim Lincecum, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Moore is currently wearing Lincecum’s trademark No. 55 but has no problem parting with the number — should the two-time Cy Young Award winner make such a request.

“As far as I know, it doesn’t sound like that’s something he wants,” Moore said. “I met him for two minutes the other day, and it didn’t come up. To be honest with you, I couldn’t think of a scenario where I wouldn’t hand the number over to him.”

Local longshot homers again. Former Saint Mary’s star Kyle Jensen continued his dream spring with the Giants. The non-roster invitee connected on his fifth home run — in just 11 at bats. An afterthought heading into camp, Jensen is putting up numbers that leap off the page and swinging his way into the discussion for a bench spot.

Here’s his small-sample-size stat line: 5 home runs, .545 average, .722 OBP, 1.909 SLG and 2.631 OPS.

Jensen has only appeared at first base for the Giants but had five games of outfield experience in his lone major league season with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2016.

Lightning-quick A’s prospect set for debut. Jorge Mateo, who’s missed the entirety of the Cactus League slate with a left knee injury, is set to make his first appearance of the spring on Tuesday against the Texas Rangers, per Jane Lee of MLB.com.

“He’s one of the fastest guys you’ll see on a baseball diamond,” said A’s outfielder Dustin Fowler, who, like Mateo, was acquired in last summer’s Sonny Gray blockbuster with the Yankees.

“Honestly, he’s one of the fastest guys I’ve ever seen. I don’t know how he would compare to Billy Hamilton and them, but he’s a freakishly good athlete.”

Mateo is scheduled to open 2018 in Triple-A after spending last season split between High-A and Double-A in the A’s and Yankees’ organizations. Mateo, who saw time at shortstop, second base and center field, flashed power (30 doubles and 18 home runs) and speed (52 steals and 18 triples).

Mateo will play strictly shortstop this spring, according to Susan Slusser.

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