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Giants about to ‘learn a lot’ as they begin crucial, daunting trip


A strong homestand kept the hearses away from Oracle Park. And now the Giants hit the road a nosedive away from a definitive message to president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi that he should sell.

If the Giants want to keep Zaidi at bay, they will need more games like their last five and fewer like their last one.

“We’ll learn a lot about ourselves next week for sure,” Jeff Samardzija said after San Francisco’s 5-3 loss to the Brewers on Sunday.

It was a clumsy way to finish their best stretch of the season, Samardzija dancing in and out of trouble for five innings and the bats going silent for the final four innings to halt a four-game win streak. But they were the winners of the series and had swept San Diego for a pair this week, the first signs that a team now 30-39 still has a pulse.

“We took two series against two good teams,” manager Bruce Bochy said after the Giants dropped to 15-21 at home. “Good bounce-back off a tough series. So, better at home, that’s what we’ve been looking for. Hopefully when we get back it’s the same thing.

“Now we’re going to hit the road here against some good teams, and I like the way we’re pitching, we’re keeping it close. We are creating those chances, and that’s what you need to do.”

The Giants left eight on base Sunday, and Samardzija (five gritty innings, nine hits, four runs, two walks) was not nearly good enough to compensate. His was the biggest recent slip of a rotation that has pitched much better. In the Giants’ previous five games, their starters went a total 28 2/3 innings and allowed 10 earned runs (3.14 ERA).

“We’re playing good ball right now. I think we even showed it today,” Samardzija said. “… We had our opportunities, [the Brewers] kept putting guys on base and putting me in the stretch. Could’ve used a double play here and there.

“They battled, I battled, it just didn’t work out today. But love how we’re playing. Got four games coming against the Dodgers in LA. Then obviously three more against a tough team in Arizona.”

It’s part of a 20-game stretch without a scheduled day off, and the Giants don’t face a team with a losing record until the Padres on July 1.

“You do enough of [creating chances], odds are somebody’s going to come through for you,” Bochy said. “Hopefully that happens on this road trip.”

If it doesn’t, they would be buried.


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