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Martinez outduels Samardzija as Giants fall to Cardinals

John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

SAN FRANCISCO — Before Saturday’s game with the St. Louis Cardinals, Giants manager Bruce Bochy was asked what he was hoping for from Jeff Samardzija upon his return to the mound. Bochy said a quality start.

While Samardzija was close to that with three earned runs in five innings, Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez was better, holding the Giants to just one run in seven innings pitched and setting his team up for a 3-2 win that gave them the lead in the four-game series.

The Giants had a chance to add an early run when Andrew McCutchen singled with two out in the bottom of the first, then stole second and advanced to third on an errant throw from Cardinals catcher Francisco Pena. But Brandon Belt was unable to pick up the RBI, popping out to third baseman and Carpenter to end the inning.

In the second, Kolten Wong singled, stole second and advanced to third on Pena’s ground ball to short. Martinez then doubled to left on a ball that bounced over Pablo Sandoval’s head. Wong scored on the play.

The Cardinals added to the lead in the fourth. Marcell Ozuna singled with one out and advanced to third on Paul DeJong’s single before scoring on a Dexter Fowler sacrifice fly. Wong then reached on an infield single and Pena drove home DeJong to put the visitors up 3-0.

DeJong returned to the plate with runners on second and third in the fifth, but was unable to convert, flying out to Gorkys Hernandez to end the inning.

The Giants finally dented the scoreboard in the sixth when Belt doubled to right, scoring Hernandez. Hernandez singled with one out in the inning and moved to second on Andrew McCutchen’s groundout to short, but may have been doubled off had he not been running on the play.

Belt came through again in the eighth with an RBI single off fireballing Cardinals reliever Jordan Hicks, scoring Hanson, who had reached base on an infield single, from second. But the Giants were unable to come through again in the inning and went down in order in the ninth against Cardinals closer Bud Norris.

 

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