SAN FRANCISCO — After some early commotion between the two, the Giants (55-33) coasted past the Diamondbacks (38-50), 6-2, to advance to a season-high 22 games over .500. Jeff Samardzija (9-5, 3.91 ERA) fired 6.1 innings along the way for a win his final start of the first half. Here’s how it all went down Friday night at AT&T Park.
The big moment
Patrick Corbin flung a 92 mph fastball behind Buster Posey, and home plate umpire Quinn Wolcott immediately jumped into damage control mode. The purpose pitch from Corbin was likely a retaliation to Samardzija hitting Jean Segura, prompting Wolcott to issue warnings.
Bruce Bochy was upset that Samardzija would be discouraged from throwing inside, especially after his wild first two innings. So the manager was ejected, and Brandon Crawford came up next.
At the plate
After the second-inning fiasco, things continued to slide for Corbin in the third. Samardzija threw only eight pitches in the top half of the inning, and snaked the first one he saw from the Diamondbacks left-hander down the third base line. He landed on second with a double, and scored the go-ahead run when Jake Lamb airmailed a throw to first base on an easy grounder.
Crawford made Lamb’s two-out error hurt even more, opening up a two-run lead with a single to score Belt from third base. The Giants scored once more in the fifth when Grant Green walked with the bases loaded, ending Corbin’s evening after 4 2/3 innings.
Belt spent a few minutes with the media before the game discussing his All-Star nod, and couldn’t help but lament Crawford’s absence. He said it sucked knowing his fellow infielder wouldn’t be in San Diego, but Crawford generated enough applause on his own Friday night after Belt received a first-inning ovation. The Giants’ shortstop went 3-for-3 with a home run, RBi single and eighth-inning double.
Gregor Blanco, who’s missed a few games recently with a sore left knee, parked a 3-1 pitch from Silvino Bracho into the right field arcade for his first home run of the year. It was also Blanco’s first-ever pinch-hit home run.
On the mound
It took only one pitch for Samardzija and the Giants to fall behind. Segura turned on a fastball riding high and tight, cranking it down the left field line for a leadoff home run. The Giants right-hander then unraveled, throwing 30 more pitches, yielding two hits and a walk to give the Diamondbacks an early 2-0 advantage. Samardzija hasn’t been steady for the Giants all year, but it was surprising to see first-inning struggles. He entered Friday’s start having allowed only four runs in the first inning through 17 starts.
Following his home run, Segura was beaned by Samardzija, a precursor to the jawing in the bottom half of the inning, and put two runners on base. But he worked out of the jam, and faced the minimum through the next four innings. Samardzija ran into trouble in the seventh, walking Nick Ahmed and allowing a single to Rickie Weeks Jr. to end his night with one out in the seventh.
It was an encouraging outing from Samardzija, who didn’t break after allowing the early home run. He settled down to throw his third consecutive start of six innings or more, allowing less than four runs for the first time since throwing a complete game against Tampa Bay on June 17.
In the ‘pen
Derek Law did a nice job to bail out Samardzija in the seventh. The right-handed Law entered with runners on the corner and one out, and tightroped out of the inning on a strikeout and groundout. In his first four months as a major leaguer, Law pieced together a 2.90 ERA in 31 innings and allowed only three of 15 inherited runners to score.
Acting manager Ron Wotus then called on Sergio Romo, who pitched his first complete eighth inning in 93 days (April 7). He allowed a leadoff single to Paul Goldschmidt, then proceeded to strike out Lamb, Wellington Castillo and Chris Herrmann to retire the side.
With the help of some defensive brilliance, Hunter Strickland navigated a clean ninth inning. Rickie Weeks Jr. sent Denard Span crashing into the center field wall, and almost started a game-ending double play as he threw the ball back into the infield.
Jake Peavy (5-7, 5.04 ERA) concludes his first half against the Diamondbacks and Robbie Ray (4-7, 4.76 ERA) on Saturday afternoon. Peavy’s pitched much better after posting an 8.21 ERA over his first nine starts. He’s got a 2.48 ERA since June 5. First pitch at 1:05 p.m. on KNBR 680.
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