There wasn’t a whole lot to figure out about Jeff Samardzija after his seventh win of the season Tuesday night.
No burning questions, no puzzling mistakes were flung at the Shark after the San Francisco Giants’ clean 8-2 victory over the San Diego Padres (19-28). Samardzija said:
“It’s good when there’s nothing to talk about.”
It’s worth discussing, though, the consistency Samardzija maintained as the final link in the Giants’ potent pitching triumvirate.
Samardzija tacked five more innings onto the team’s 18-inning scoreless streak that has threaded through Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto. The trio has formed a scary three-man punch more than capable of burning through innings.[envira-gallery id=”185653″]
It’s gotten to the point where quality starts look like they are becoming contagious, said Samardzija:
“I don’t know that it’s contagious but we definitely feed off each other, competitively wise. I haven’t watched some of these guys this closely day-in and day-out in a while, so to come here every day and watch each guy pitch has been great and to see the success that Johnny and Bum has had fuels you to go out and do your part, and not be the sour grape for sure.”
Bruce Bochy is happy to have him:
“He threw great. He really, from Day 1, he’s been so solid for us. He’s been on a nice roll here. He got in a couple jams there but he kept his poise and made pitches to get out of them.”
Samardzija’s jams were held shy of disaster thanks to the defense behind him. Jarrett Parker — called up from Triple-A Sacramento to replace a DL-bound Angel Pagan in left field — made a perfect play off Matt Kemp‘s first-inning drive off the wall, relaying a precise throw to Joe Panik for the quick tag out at second.
The defense came through for him once more, ousting Kemp again in the eighth at third after a perfect Gregor Blanco-Panik-Matt Duffy relay. Kemp was called safe, but out upon review. Samardzija appreciated those efforts:
“They were great … to see these guys go out there and execute something as simple as a cut off and relay. It’s awesome to watch and it’s fun baseball to watch, to tell you the truth, it’s played right and you get rewarded for doing things the right way and being in the right place in the right time.”
“We’ve been playing well defensively, and that’s what’s helped us on this roll we’re in. Guys are executing and making big plays when they have to.”
That’s got to be frustrating for a Padres team looking to snap what grew into an eight-game losing streak against an NL West foe Tuesday. Defense is clicking for the Giants, which keeps every game within reach, said Samardzija:
“Anytime you’re getting outs, doubles and triples, and turning them into outs is a big momentum swing for the pitcher.”
The Padres snapped their 23-inning scoreless streak when Jon Jay pounded a hanger straight over the right field wall in the sixth to tie the game at 1-1.
That would be the only blemish on Samardzija’s 6-2/3 inning outing. The righty gave up just six hits and fanned seven.
It was looking like the two teams, both roasting in offensively dry skids, would enter a one-run stalemate.
The Giants had been hitless in their last 17 at bats with runners in scoring position. So when Panik drew a walk to start the bottom of the sixth, and Matt Duffy advanced him to second on a soft ground ball out, the crowd didn’t bother edging forward in their seats.
Buster Posey was sitting on a .182 average with RISP, and forced Giants fans to their feet by striking a first-pitch double to the left field corner to give the home team a 2-1 lead. The gates had been opened.
Crawford wanted in on the fun, doubling to to right to send Posey home and marking the Padres’ Andrew Cashner for three whole runs.
Though those three runs seemed like an overwhelming flood of offense, the Giants had more in them. A lot more.
Matt Duffy beat an odd Padres outfield shift with a double struck dead center off Keith Hessler to start the eighth. The lefty Hessler intentionally walked Posey to get to Belt, who drew a walk to load the bases.
Crawford cracked a base-clearing triple to right that put the Giants up 6-1. Jarrett Parker said he took the opportunity to make his presence known, crushing a two-run bomb to cap it all off:
“I’m just coming here, I want to help out the team any way I can.”
The Giants went 5-for-11 with runners in scoring position Tuesday night. A sight to behold, said Bochy:
“It was good to get a cushion there, no question. We haven’t been clicking offensively so it was good to see these guys break out. Because it was a tight ballgame.”
The Giants have now won 12 of their last 13 games. They finish this homestand Wednesday afternoon before heading off on a 12-day road trip to Colorado, Atlanta and St. Louis.