It wouldn't have taken much to make Kyle Crick happy on Friday night.
"It was just good to be back on the mound with live hitters," he said.
The Giants' top prospect got pretty impressive results, too.
Returning from an oblique strain suffered during an April 18 start, Crick struck out 10 over four scoreless innings in Class A Advanced San Jose's 3-2 win over Stockton. He allowed three hits and three walks, and he got assists on the two outs that didn't come on whiffs.
The four innings match the longest start of the season for the 20-year-old right-hander, while the 10 punchouts equal the mark he set twice last year for Class A Augusta.
"I felt good," Crick said. "I had my fastball working in the zone and I was able to throw a couple off-speed [pitches] for strikes."
Sidelined since June 9 with a foot straight, Pablo Sandoval started a rehab assignment with San Jose and homered while playing 4 1/2 innings.
"That home run, I'm pretty sure it was a changeup and the guy had thrown it to him in the first at-bat, too," Crick said. "I'm pretty sure it was the same sequence. He took a first-pitch fastball and then waited for it. That guy can hit just about any ball anywhere."
Crick, MLB.com's No. 77 overall prospect, was drafted out of a Texas high school in 2011. In his first full season, he went 7-6 with a 2.51 ERA and 128 strikeouts in 23 games (22 starts) in the South Atlantic League. He stayed on a similar track at the start of this year, posting a 0.93 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 9 2/3 innings before the injury.
"It was really tough," Crick said. "Right when I went down, the team was winning. It's probably the best team I've ever been on, and I can't pitch. It was frustrating at first, but I didn't end up being out that long."
San Francisco had him make two simulated starts in Arizona after he was cleared to begin pitching again. His return to San Jose began with a strikeout against Ports leadoff man Bobby Crocker.
"That was good," Crick said. "I had confidence in my fastball and I used it often."
Addison Russell, Oakland's top prospect, dumped a fly ball into shallow center for a single, then stole second.
"I hadn't paid him much attention before [the stolen base]. I saw he started taking a pretty big lead," said Crick, who got Addison to break prematurely for third.
"I did a little inside move. I turned toward the plate and I looked back and we got him."
Crick tossed the ball to Sandoval, who applied the tag for the out.
"That's the best kind of out," Crick said. "It's an inning-saver and an arm-saver."
He liked it so much, he did it again the next inning, catching Antonio Lamas breaking for second for the third out.
"With him, I was just holding," Crick said. "I had a feeling he was going to be trying to go, so it was just a three-second hold."
The 49th overall pick in the 2011 Draft gave up a pair of singles to start the fourth and allowed the lead runner to take third on a wild pitch. After a strikeout, he walked Lamas to load the bases.
"My pitching coach [Mike Couchee] came out and gave me a little breather," said Crick. "He said some good stuff, basically to just throw the ball over the plate and let whatever happens happen."
Crick also received a visit from Sandoval.
"Man, he is awesome. He had some good words of encouragement," said Crick, who fanned the next two hitters. "It was all fastballs, really. My catcher, Jeff Arnold, he's probably the best in Minors right now -- receiving, blocking pitches, everything. It was good to be throwing to him again."
Crick exited with a 3-0 lead as left fielder Rashun Dixon's error produced two runs in the second. Giants No. 10 prospect Edwin Escobar (2-3) followed Crick and pitched a 1-2-3 fifth for the win. Josh Osich surrendered a leadoff homer to Dixon in the ninth before recording his 11th save.