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Shaun Anderson solid for five in MLB debut, Giants avoid sweep

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A Giants team that had lost four of its last five games got a glimmer of hope from a top prospect on a gloomy Wednesday afternoon, culminating in a 4-3 victory to split this two-game series with Toronto.

Shaun Anderson, San Francisco’s top pitching prospect, made his major league debut, offering equal parts chaos and excitement. And the Giants (18-24) received reprieve from their losing ways, staving off a sweep at the hands of the scuffling Blue Jays (17-25).

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

Anderson (ND, 0-0, 3.60 ERA) threw 96 pitches over just five innings. He walked three, tossed two wild pitches in one inning, and was charged with an error on an errant pickoff throw. However, he also allowed just two earned runs on two hits, struck out five, and withstood two errors aside from his own.

Anderson said he tried to stay as even-keeled as possible:

“I try to keep my expectations kinda level. I just wanted to keep the team in the game and get off on a good streak.”

Ultimately, he said, his goal for this first start was to keep his offense within striking distance:

“I tried to control the running game, and keeping the score where it was. I got in trouble with two wild pitches and an errant pickoff, but I tried to keep the team in the game.”

Manager Bruce Bochy thought Anderson handled adversity well:

“Nice debut for him. He had to pitch in traffic. We didn’t play our best defense, and they got a couple cheap runs, but overall I thought he did a nice job.”

The offense provided the rookie with early run support. Pablo Sandoval smacked an RBI double in the first and Aramis Garcia crushed a two-run home run (1) in the second.

Garcia, who has been Anderson’s primary catcher with Triple-A Sacramento, said he saw the same pitcher he’s caught in the minors:

“He was pretty composed, which was good to see. He’s one of those guys that gets pretty amped up for his starts, but he definitely stayed under control today…He’s a bulldog out there. He’s not afraid. He’ll challenge anybody. And honestly, that’s what I love about him.”

Anderson nearly missed getting the win in his debut, as Brandon Crawford hit an opposite field solo shot (2) in the sixth inning that gave the Giants the lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Anderson even added some unexpected production at the plate to his pitching performance, scorching a double that one-hopped the wall in right field to highlight a 2-for-2 day.

Garcia joked about how unlikely those base hits were:

“In [Double-A] Richmond, man, it looked like. … We thought he was gonna hurt himself, because of how hard he was swinging up there. He’s calmed down a little bit this year. He looked good.”

Up Next

The Giants begin a three-game series in Arizona on Friday after an off day Thursday, with Jeff Samardzija (2-1, 3.51 ERA) facing Merrill Kelly (3-4, 4.70 ERA).

Notes

Joe Panik was hit by a pitch to lead off the game, extending his on-base streak to 14 games. He finished the day 1-for-3 with his sixth double. … Edwin Jackson got the starting assignment for the Blue Jays, appearing in a game with his 14th MLB club, breaking the record of 13 he had previously held with former relief pitcher Octavio Dotel.


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