Giants fans got their first look at former White Sox pitcher Jeff Samardzija in his new home at AT&T Park during Thursday’s modest 3-1 pre-season win over the Oakland Athletics, and “The Shark” delivered.
Touted as a ground-ball specialist with an unsettling tendency to surrender the long ball, Samardzija’s skill set seemed to mesh perfectly with the long corners and high walls of the AT&T Park outfield.
Giants Head Coach Bruce Bochy said:
“Good stuff, good tempo. He commanded all his pitches.”
Sporting an eyebrow-raising 7.20 ERA through his first four starts of the spring, San Francisco’s $90 million acquisition shed some doubts with a five strikeout, one hit performance.
Samardzija’s biggest hiccup of the night came during the game’s first at-bat, when Oakland’s Billy Burns beamed a triple off of the left field wall.
Through the next three outs, the Giants’ infield tethered Burns to the bag while a recovered Buster Posey bailed Samardzija out with a few limber stops behind the plate. The catcher went 3-4 with one RBI in his second game back from hip soreness.
Angel Pagan aided in Samardzija’s effort with a sliding grab of Yonder Alonso’s pop-up to shallow left in the third inning, and Dennard Span’s capacity for covering the vastness of Triple’s Alley looked as advertised.
As Samardzija strolled through his frames, the Giants offense opened the night’s scoring with a one-run fourth. Hunter Pence started the surge with a screaming double off of the left field wall, and Brandon Crawford brought him around with a single to right.
San Francisco tacked on another run in each of the following two innings, with Posey and Ehire Adrianza as the RBI beneficiaries. Matt Duffy and Angel Pagan each posted two of what would wind up to be 10 total hits for the Giants.
The Giants will continue their three-game Battle of the Bay Series on Friday and Saturday before opening the season against the Brewers in Milwaukee