Samardzija settles down as Giants down D-Backs

Bruce Bochy is generally a calm guy, but Friday night he blew his cool.

In the second inning, Diamondbacks starter Patrick Corbin threw a 1-0 pitch to Buster Posey‘s knees. The next pitch, at his back.

They were statement pitches — a response to Jeff Samardzija hitting frequently-pegged Jean Segura in the top of the inning — which warranted warnings to both clubs. Bochy didn’t like to see his All-Star being targeted:

“I understand they’re not happy their guy got hit but I can’t have Buster being the target … That’s enough. I had had enough of it. That’s when guys get hurt, I mean c’mon.”

This story has been updated with quotes and post-game material from the Giants clubhouse at AT&T Park.

Home plate umpire Quinn Wolcott ejected a fuming Bochy, who made an uncharacteristically quick sprint out of the dugout to give Wolcott a piece of his mind. Corbin should have been ejected, he said:

That’s the rule, if you think he’s throwing at him.”

It was a rotten cherry on top of a rough first two innings: Samardzija gave up a solo-shot to Segura on the very first pitch and dug himself into a 50-pitch hole. The Giants lost their captain and Samardzija looked lost at sea.

After the pitches to Posey, the tides turned. Karma, it seemed, switched sides.

Posey took his base and Brandon Crawford strolled into the box. He had a plan: punishing a fastball in, and Corbin, to tie the game at 2-2. Crawford, Mr. Cool, was in a punishing state of mind:

“We’re never trying to hit somebody, especially in that situation, so I don’t know what they were thinking throwing at Buster twice. So that kind of fired me up. When he walked him I wanted to make him pay, I’m not going to sugar coat it, that’s what I was going for.”

The bomb turned out to be the catalyst that sparked the Giants to a satisfying 6-2 over the Diamondbacks. Samardzija (W, 9-5, 3.91 ERA), who was carrying a heavy 6.53 ERA and three losses through his last seven starts, went into cruise control.

He retired the next nine batters, only stopping his streak to walk Jake Lamb in the sixth, and then retired three more before walking Nick Ahmed and giving up a hit to Rickie Weeks Jr.–his final batter of the night. He struck out six over 6-1/3 innings. Said Bochy, who was watching from the clubhouse:

“Your’e down two runs and probably as important as Crawford’s home run was Samardzija. He came back and pitched a great game.”

Samardzija worked off that Crawford homer, he said:

“Boys came back and responded for me and gave me a lead and I didn’t want to let it go.”

The Giants took the lead in the third on a rally sparked by Samardzija’s leadoff stand-up double. He scored from third on Lamb’s erroneous throw to first off a Posey ground ball. Brandon Belt, who walked (one of four times, a career high), scored on another Crawford RBI.

Wolcott seemed to have futzed with the strike zone after he issued those warnings, allowing Grant Green a walk with the bases loaded in the fifth on a few balls that looked to be strikes. Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale threw a fit and was ejected.

The Giants kept fanning their own flame: Crawford went 3-for-3, driving in three of the Giants’ six runs. he now has 58 RBI and 51 since May 1, the third-most in the Majors behind Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Duvall over that time span.

Gregor Blanco, who’s been sidelined with a sprained left knee, hit his first career pinch-hit home run — and first home run of the year — in the eighth.

Speaking of the eighth, Sergio Romo reclaimed that territory, giving up a leadoff single to Paul Goldschmidt before striking out the side. Josh Osich was in the ‘pen warming up for Lamb, but Romo took care of the whole inning.

Samardzija just about summed it up:

“It was a tough way to start the game but I like the way I finished.”


Shayna Rubin is SFBay’s San Francisco Giants beat writer. Follow @SFBay and @ShaynaRubin on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of Giants baseball.