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Samardzija, Williamson shine for Giants in season debuts

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Jeff Samardzija was reactivated for his first start of the season Friday against the Angels after a right pectoral strain at the end of spring training, and the team placed right fielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a sprained right thumb.

Pence has struggled so far this season, batting 10-for-58 (.172) with 22 strikeouts, and San Francisco (7-11) called Mac Williamson up from Triple-A to take Pence’s place. Williamson, who had an exceptional spring, has been tearing it up in Sacramento, batting 19-for-39 (.487) with six home runs, three doubles and just five strikeouts. 

In a bid to show the Giants that their faith is not misplaced, Williamson scorched a towering home run to deep right-center field in his second at-bat Friday. The 91 mph sinker out of the hand of Angels left-hander Andrew Heaney grew wings after colliding with Williamson’s bat. The three-run no-doubter had an exit speed of 114 mph and soared an impressive 434 feet. 

Samardzija (W, 1-0, 0.00 ERA) went five solid innings, giving up no runs and just two hits, striking out four and walking four Friday in an 8-1 San Francisco win.

Other roster changes during the Giants road trip have included sending rookie right-hander Tyler Beede back to Triple-A last Sunday after a 10-1 loss in San Diego, and reactivating Johnny Cueto from the DL (ankle) to start Tuesday’s game in Arizona.

Cueto went seven strong innings, giving up just two hits and striking out 11, but he received no support from the Giants offense, which suffered a one-hit shutout at the hands of Patrick Corbin and his nasty slider, so Cueto’s gem was for naught. 

Up Next

The Giants send lefty Derek Holland (0-2, 4.60 ERA) against Garrett Richards (2-0, 3.60 ERA) for a 6:07 p.m. first pitch Saturday night. San Francisco ends their 10-game road trip Sunday, returning to San Francisco to face the Washington Nationals at 7:15 p.m. on Monday. 

Notes

The start time of the first game of a split double-header next Saturday against the Dodgers has been changed. The rainout makeup game was originally scheduled to start at 1:05 p.m., but first pitch will now be at 2:05 p.m.


Julie Parker is SFBay’s San Francisco Giants beat writer. Follow @SFBay and @JPWhatsername on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of Giants baseball.

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