Burres, Grizzlies one-hit Rainiers

Veteran left-hander fans five over seven shutout innings

By Jonathan Raymond / Special to MLB.com | April 21, 2012 10:07 PM ET

Twelve years ago, the Giants selected Brian Burres in the 31st round of the Draft. He's hoping his stint with Triple-A Fresno will give him a chance to return to San Francisco.

The 31-year-old left-hander allowed one hit over seven innings Saturday night as the Grizzlies crushed the Tacoma Rainiers, 12-0, at Cheney Stadium.

Mitch Lively worked the last two innings, completing Fresno's first one-hit shutout since April 28, 2005, a game started by Matt Cain. "It's nice," Burres said. "The team played great, giving me a big lead early and playing [good defense] behind me, so it's a real good team win. I think as a starter anybody would tell you that you want to get at least into the seventh, go deep, save your bullpen."

The outing was Burres' strongest since returning to the Giants organization. The six-year big league veteran said it would be "special" if he could get back to the Majors with the team that drafted him.

"Right now, I'm just trying to concentrate on pitching well. If I get noticed, great, and obviously that's the goal for everybody playing here, but I just want to focus on what I have to do," he said. "Definitely, though, it'd mean a lot [to play for the Giants].

"Growing up a West Coast kid, the Giants were one of my favorite teams. It'd be special for me to pitch in a Giants uniform."

Last year, Burres pitched 13 innings for the Pirates, compiling a 3.38 ERA. He spent most of the season at Triple-A Indianapolis, where he was 5-9 with a 4.66 ERA. In four starts this year, the Oregon native has a 3.38 ERA. At this stage in his career, the key to returning to the bigs is maintaining consistency and waiting for an opportunity to open up.

So far, that's what Burres has done in Fresno.

"I just try to get a little better each time out there," he explained, "whether it's with my pitch location or just improving on my last start. And you want to win as many games as possible."

Tacoma registered its lone hit when Luis Antonio Jimenez singled with two outs in the fourth. Burres worked swiftly through the Rainiers lineup before and after the single, and Lively worked around a pair of walks.

The Grizzlies piled up season highs in runs and hits (19). Conor Gillaspie, San Francisco's No. 10 prospect, picked up five hits and an RBI and scored twice, while Charlie Culberson (No. 6) doubled twice and drove in four runs. Todd Linden went 4-for-5 with a homer and three RBIs, Roger Kieschnick also went deep and Joaquin Arias chipped in three hits and three runs scored.

"We're swinging it real well, we have a lot of good players, great dudes and we really gel well as a team," Burres said. "It's a lot of fun to watch."

Jonathan Raymond is a contributor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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