Even the best team in the majors can’t win ‘em all.
Photos by Scot Tucker/SFBay
Coming off a sweep of the Minnesota Twins, San Francisco ran into Chicago Cubs ace Jeff Samardzija Sunday afternoon, who mowed down a season-high ten Giants on the way to an 8-4 series-opening victory.
Under glorious Memorial Day skies at AT&T Park, Samardzija’s precision and power helped earn his first victory of the season — and his first in sixteen appearances — despite leading the majors with a 1.68 ERA.
Samardzija (W, 1-4) picked apart the Giants, allowing four runs — three earned — while walking none over seven strong innings.
The scorching Pablo Sandoval was the only Giant who could rattle Samardzija on Sunday. Sandoval drove in three runs, getting the Giants on the board on a first-inning single that plated Angel Pagan, and two more on his seventh home run of the season in the bottom of the fourth.
Former Giant Nate Schierholtz commemorated his return to AT&T Park with a long homer to center field in the top of the third that tied the score at 1-1.
Samardzija helped himself at the plate in the fifth, smashing a soaring double over Hunter Pence’s head in right field to drive in former Giant Nate Schierholtz. Samardzija would then score on an Emilio Bonifacio line drive to put the Cubs up for good at 5-3.
Yusmeiro Petit (L, 3-2, 5.08 ERA) picked up the loss stepping in for the injured Matt Cain. Lefty David Huff replaced Petit in the fifth, but was hammered for four runs and seven hits over 1-1/3 innings.
Pablo Sandoval has raised his batting average 72 points in the last three weeks (from .167 to his current .239) by hitting safely in 16 of his past 18 games. … The Giants’ 60 home runs are the second-most in the NL behind Colorado. The Giants didn’t hit their 60th home run of the season last year until two days before the All-Star break.