Though they did all they could to recover, the damage was too much to overcome as the Giants (34-55) fell 5-4.
Entering the game, the Marlins (40-46) were the MLB’s second-highest scoring team in the first inning, with 67 runs earned, trailing only the Milwaukee Brewers (75). They inched ever closer to the top spot by tacking on two more runs to their already gaudy total.
A double by Christian Yelich opened the scoring, driving in Miami leadoff man Dee Gordon, who chummed the water with a single to start the game. Marcell Ozuna doubled giving the Marlins their second run of the game, just four batters in.
About the early attack, Samardzija (L, 4-10, 4.58 ERA) said:
“Went out there trying to get a quick inning. Dee (Gordon) gets on there with a reach out over the third baseman, then you’re battling and you get speed on the bases right out of the gates.”
We got out of there with a little bit of damage but that ended up being the difference in the game.”
Making matters worse, through four innings the Giants offense was non-existent, shut down by 27-year-old lefty Chris O’Grady, making his major league debut.
Manager Bruce Bochy spoke to his team’s lack of offense:
“That was the frustrating part of the game: we couldn’t do much against their starter and he stayed off the barrel of the bat, and we couldn’t score on him.”
Another Marlin run in the top of the fourth pushed the rookie’s advantage to 3-0, torpedoing the spirits of the nearly 42,000 in attendance at AT&T Park.
As AT&T Park began came back to life with signs of hope, the Giants would attempt to make their move in the sixth. And facing a fatigued O’Grady (W, 1-0, 5.06 ERA), San Francisco was finally able to jump on the young pitcher, tagging a pair of doubles with one out, the second coming from Belt, chasing home Buster Posey. Crawford made it a one-run game with his second RBI, grounding out to Gordon at second base, scoring Belt and forcing the rookie from his first contest.
O’Grady gave way to he bullpen, getting one out in the sixth and allowing five hits and three runs while striking out four and walking two in his debut.
Samardzija threw 7 innings and gave up a total of four earned runs himself, once again topping the 100-pitch mark — tossing 106.
The Giants put together another rally in the ninth, getting runners to first and third with one out and inspiring the crowd once again. But, after an Ozuna RBI single in the top half, the back runner, Conor Gillaspie, that mattered.
That sliver of hope would vanish with a wild swing of the bat as Pence went down on strikes.
After the game, Pence walked SFBay through the final at bat:
“It was a great opportunity to put the tying run on third. We knew he threw a lot of off-speed. Tried to get a slider and he got me 0-2. I was feeling pretty good and he snuck a quick pitch high on me and made a good pitch and got me.”
Looking ahead, the Giants will try to avoid the series sweep and enter the All-Star break on a strong note according to Pence:
“This game is over. They got us today. Get out there and get after it tomorrow. Lets end on a positive.”