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‘Unhittable’ Camilo Doval leaving no doubt during Giants’ hot stretch

‘Unhittable’ Doval leaving no doubt during Giants’ hot stretch originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

MINNEAPOLIS — The bullpen door swung open in the ninth inning Tuesday night with the Giants holding onto a one-run lead over the Minnesota Twins.

As rising star closer Camilo Doval trotted out to the mound, Giants teammates were practically chalking it up as the franchise’s first series win at Target Field. They knew Doval would get the job done.

“Since I’ve been here, he’s just been elite,” Giants starting pitcher Alex Cobb said after the win. “You count the win when he starts walking in. The door gets closed. His demeanor, everything, screams closer and somebody who wants the ball.”

Sure enough, Doval whiffed All-Star slugger Byron Buxton with a 101-mph cutter for the first out. He caught the bottom half of the zone with a slider to send Edouard Julien back to the dugout. Doval hit the next batter, but he quickly finished off the Giants’ 4-3 win by striking out Willi Castro on a nasty slider.

“When he’s on, he’s really unhittable,” San Francisco manager Gabe Kapler said after the win. “I don’t think it’s any secret.”

The Giants’ bullpen has been much improved lately, but nobody has been better than Doval. The 25-year-old has notched five saves in the Giants’ current 7-1 stretch, allowing just four hits and one earned run with nine strikeouts in those five outings.

Doval leads the National League in both games finished (21) and saves (13).

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“He’s been awesome. His stuff says it all for itself,” Giants outfielder Michael Conforto said. “He’s always very calm. He doesn’t let the moment run away from him. That’s the biggest thing I see. He’s never in a rush, and he’s always under control.

“That’s pretty impressive for a young guy.”

The Giants (24-24), winners of seven of their last eight games, are back to .500 for the first time since April 6 when they were 3-3. This eight-game stretch dug them out of a hole that was trending towards the unfruitful abyss they experienced in an 81-81 campaign last year.

San Francisco will finish off its three-game series against Minnesota at 10:10 am PT Wednesday. If the Giants call Doval’s name again with a lead in the ninth, it’s a safe bet they’ll be heading to Milwaukee fresh off a series sweep.

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