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Keaton Winn knocked around in return from IL, preventing SF Giants from sweeping Rangers

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ARLINGTON, Texas — Returning Sunday afternoon from a three-week absence to start the Giants’ series finale against the Rangers, Keaton Winn resembled the same pitcher who landed on the injured list last month, which can’t be good news for Bob Melvin’s pitching-starved club.

They had to settle for a series win against the defending World Series champions after Winn surrendered all seven of the runs the Rangers scored while handing the visitors a 7-2 loss, preventing them from securing their first road sweep of the season.

The Giants (32-34) will return home two games under .500, the same mark they were at when they left, after going 3-3 on the swing through Arizona and Texas, where climate-controlled ballparks protected them from the sweltering temperatures outdoors, 88 degrees by Sunday’s 12:07 p.m. first pitch.

Winn’s day went off the rails from the first pitch out of his hand, a 95 mph fastball that veered inside and struck Marcus Semien in the flap of his helmet. Just one of his first seven pitches found the strike zone, and by the end of the first inning, the Giants were in a 3-0 hole.

Patrick Bailey was quick to check on Semien, and the scary hit-by-pitch put a hush in the 34,912 on hand. But he stayed in the game, swiped second base for the first of four Texas steals, and then truly avenged the errant fastball in his next trip to the plate, launching a two-run homer to left to make it 5-0 after 2.

Texas would tack on two more runs before Winn’s line for the day was closed, raising his ERA to 6.94.

That figure was a sterling 3.18 only three starts prior to hitting the injured list. Over his first six starts of the season, Winn allowed a total of 12 runs and completed six innings four times, but opponents in the four starts since have tagged him for 24 runs and knocked him from the game before the end of the fifth in each one.

Winn, who regularly races his fastball into the upper 90s, registered only 12 of his 37 heaters at 96 mph and didn’t hit 97 once, down about a half-mile an hour on average between his four-seamer and sinker.

Trailing 5-0 by the end of the second inning, the Giants clawed a couple runs back when Bailey singled home Casey Schmitt in the third and Mike Yastrzemski sent a solo shot just clear of the right-field foul pole in the fourth, but put just two men on base after that.

An infield single legged out by Thairo Estrada amounted to the Giants’ only hit in their final 17 at-bats.

Notable

Requiring a roster spot to activate Winn from the injured list before the game, the Giants optioned IF/OF Tyler Fitzgerald to Triple-A Sacramento.

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