Bruce Bochy made a lineup tweak that looked to pull the slumping Giants right out of their funk.
Bochy put a streaking Matt Duffy back in his three spot, scattered his lefties and righties, stuck with Jeff Samardzija in the eight-spot, and San Francisco (8-10) finally rallied to a dominant 8-1 win over the Miami Marlins (5-10) on a foggy Friday night.
Keeping Samardzija in the eight-hole turned out to be the move of the night. The Shark plucked three RBI. To put that into perspective, Samardzija’s career-high RBI is three — in the entire 2012 and 2014 seasons.
The pressure was mounting high for the Giants — they’d scored just four runs in 33 innings before Friday night — but Samardzija’s bat may have relieved some of that pressure, said Bochy:
“He’s a good athlete. He’s dangerous with the bat. I can’t quite go to ‘he’s a good hitter’…he’s a threat up there.”
The choice to leave Samardzija as the eight hitter, though, first gave Bochy pause. Jarred Cosart and Jose Urena intentionally walked Brandon Crawford twice with runners on second and third and one out down to get to Samardzija:
“I haven’t seen the one-out intentional walk before, so I had to get ready.”
The first time around, Samardzija grounded out to continue an unproductive inning. Bochy said he briefly regretted his choice:
“We’re in one of those games where you think hitting the pitcher eighth is going to kill you, but he comes through with a couple hits, three RBI, really picked us up with the bat too.”
The second time, though, he made them pay, slapping an RBI single the other way to put the Giants up 4-1. He was at it again the following inning, knocking an RBI to put the Giants up 8-1. And with that, the Giants got not one, but two big, relieving hits with runners in scoring position. Brandon Belt said he wasn’t surprised:
“I’ve seen him in BP, I’ve seen the power, it’s there.”
Samardzija, though, was a little surprised:
“I consider myself a great five o’ clock hitter. But come seven o’ clock that ball is 94,95 (mph) it’s a little tougher.”
Friday night was Samardzija’s night; he did work on both sides of the ball. The Shark lasted 7-2/3 innings and gave up just one earned run on six hits. He dished 117 pitches without issuing a walk. Said Bochy of his performance:
“He’s a strong kid, he’s a guy that you can ride … He’s got good command with fastball, cutter, he mixed in slower breaking ball and used his change well tonight, I thought.”
He held Giancarlo Stanton to an 0-for-3 night — Javier Lopez struck Stanton out in the eighth with Christian Yelich in scoring position. Yelich, who’s off to a hot start, was the only Marlin who could get anything off Samardzija. He went 3-for-4, all doubles, on the night.
Samardzija’s success blazed a clear trail for his offense, but they looked to be peeking from behind the 8-ball right out the gate, anyway.
Cosart surrendered a four-pitch walk to leadoff man Denard Span in the first (he gave up two more consecutive leadoff walks, too), and the Giants finally capitalized. Joe Panik singled to advance Span to third and Duffy was there with a sacrifice fly to put the Giants on the board. Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford came alive and and grabbed two more RBI to end the first.
The Giants cracked 14 hits total. The beans have been spilled, said Belt:
“Relaxing on those runners on base, just having good at bats, and I think once we were able to do that, those hits just kind of fall in. We’re not putting too much pressure on ourselves to go out there and score a lot of runs each night and just kind of rely on the pitching staff to do their job.”
Bochy hinted that the momentum is started to swing back his team’s way:
“It was nice to see them score early, it really was, especially the way it’s been going the last few days here. Having trouble getting a hit with runners in scoring position. You get in a skid and that gets contagious and the hits got contagious tonight.”
The Giants called up infielder Conor Gillaspie from triple-A Sacramento this morning in exchange for Mac Williamson. Ehire Adrianza, who is out with a fractured left foot, was placed on the 60-day DL to make room for Gillaspie on the 40-man. Gillaspie provides some much needed infield depth and an experienced lefty bat.