Instant Replay: Giants win series over Dodgers in extra innings

Instant Replay: Giants win series over Dodgers in extra innings


LOS ANGELES — After a blowout loss Wednesday, a voice echoed out of a back hallway in the visiting clubhouse at Dodger Stadium.

“Shark tomorrow,” a player said. “If he beats them it’s still a good series.”

Jeff Samardzija did his part, throwing eight brilliant innings, and about an hour later the lineup finally broke through. Gorkys Hernandez drove in the go-ahead run in the top of the 11th and the Giants kept piling on. When it was over, they had a 4-1 win and a series victory over the Dodgers. 

The victory was the 1,800th of Bruce Bochy’s career. The other eight managers with 1,800 wins and three World Series titles are in the Hall of Fame. 

On a night that started quietly, Joe Panik’s hustle out of the box kept Yasiel Puig from adding to his highlight reel in the fifth. Panik scorched ball off the wall in right-center and Puig came up with a rocket that missed getting the out at second by an inch. After two outs, walks of Gorkys Hernandez and Brandon Belt loaded the bases. With his final pitch of a 19-minute inning, Julio Urias got Hunter Pence to fly out to right. 

Puig and Panik were linked again in the sixth and this time it went the Dodgers’ way. Panik dropped a high pop-up down the first-base line and as it rolled a few feet away, Puig took off. He beat the throw to third and scored two batters later when Chris Taylor poked a slider into right. That was just the second hit off Samardzija, who had retired 14 straight entering the inning. 

The Giants tied it up on an oddly fitting way. Pence led off the top of the eighth with a single and went to third on a wild pitch that skipped around behind the plate. Buster Posey’s grounder to second knotted the night. 

Samardzija was done after 101 pitches. He gave up three hits and one unearned run, walked none, and struck out 11. He never pitched with the lead, and the Giants failed to take one in the 10th despite loading the bases. Phil Nevin held Belt at third on Posey’s single. Christian Arroyo then struck out and Eduardo Nuñez flied out. 

An inning later, the Giants broke through. With two on and one out, Hernandez ripped a double into the left field corner. Belt’s single made it 3-1 and Pence tacked on an insurance run with a sacrifice fly.

Mark Melancon made it interesting in the bottom of the inning, but held on. 

Starting pitching report: The double-digit strikeout game was the 10th of Samardzija’s career and his second as a Giant. 

Bullpen report: Steven Okert got a double play to end the ninth and cruised through the 10th. He recorded 10 outs in the series and picked up his first career win.

At the plate: Belt had a career-high 104 walks last season. With three against Urias and one by Josh Fields on Wednesday, he's on pace for 123. 

In the field: Belt and Samardzija teamed up for one of the plays of the year in the eighth. Belt went a healthy distance into foul territory for a weird grounder and made a quick throw back to the bag. Samardzija made a leaping grab and got a foot down before Puig could slide into first. 

Attendance: The Dodgers announced a crowd of 50,215 human beings who missed out on the frightening televised shot of Clayton Kershaw teaching Urias pitch grips in the dugout. 

Up next: A day off! (In Cincinnati, though.) The Giants will face Bronson Arroyo, Amir Garrett and Scott Feldman at Great American Ball Park. 

Jeff Samardzija to miss start of season after MRI reveals strained pectoral muscle


Jeff Samardzija to miss start of season after MRI reveals strained pectoral muscle

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants nearly left Scottsdale unscathed. Instead they'll leave with an injured No. 3 starter, but the news on Jeff Samardzija late Thursday night was good news. 

Manager Bruce Bochy told reporters that Samardzija has a strained pectoral muscle that will sideline him for the start of the season. But given that Samardzija, who has had a rough spring, went for an MRI on his shoulder a week before the season opener, team officials have to be breathing a sigh of relief. 

"He'll go a week without throwing the ball and then crank it back up," Bochy told reporters, including Kerry Crowley of the San Jose Mercury News. "It should't take long to get him back on the mound so it's good news."

Samardzija was supposed to take the ball next Saturday at Dodger Stadium. Instead, the Giants will rely on two young pitchers and a non-roster invitee at the back end of their rotation. The injury ends a three-way race for the final two spots between Chris Stratton, Ty Blach and Derek Holland. The Giants could use all three in the rotation until Samardzija is healthy, or they could skip their No. 5 starter and move one of the pitchers into the bullpen. 

Because the Giants have two off days before their seventh game, Madison Bumgarner can line up to pitch three of the first nine games. The Giants have been considering that all spring, although they have yet to publicly announce a decision one way or the other. Bumgarner said early in camp that he would be up to the challenge, and given how sharp he was all spring, that might be the best way to tread water until Samardzija is cleared to return to the rotation.

No. 79? No. 53? Before they were stars, Giants wore random numbers


No. 79? No. 53? Before they were stars, Giants wore random numbers

SCOTTSDALE — A couple of veterans walked past a clubhouse TV earlier in camp and saw that the Giants and Padres were tied heading into the bottom of the 10th of an exhibition game. The Padres infielders were just standing around, and there was not yet a new pitcher on the mound. 

“It’s that time when No. 99 comes in to pitch,” one of the players joked as he headed home for the day.

A few seconds later, a big left-hander took the mound. He was, in fact, wearing No. 99, and in his inning on the mound he would face a No. 74 (Aramis Garcia) and No. 78 (Steven Duggar). This is the norm for spring training, when dozens of players — including teenagers and journeymen still hanging around the low minors — get into every game. That leads to action between numbers you would never see in a normal game. The Giants had 60 players in camp, plus 10 coaches and staff members with numbers. Throw in their 10 retired numbers and the unofficially retired ones (25, 55, etc.) and, well, there aren’t a whole lot of choices left. 

If Duggar makes the Opening Day roster, he’ll get an upgrade from his lineman’s number. Ditto for Garcia, who could be Buster Posey’s backup as soon as next season. Still, a taste of big league action doesn’t guarantee a normal number in camp, when young players regularly find themselves back at the end of the line. 

Ryder Jones wore 83 in camp last year and 63 in the big leagues. When he showed up this year, with 150 big league at-bats under his belt, he was told that he would have to wait until the end of the spring to upgrade. Players with more service time (think No. 2 Chase d’Arnaud or No. 19 Josh Rutledge) get priority, at least until all the cuts are made. Jones said he has a few numbers in mind for his next stint in the big leagues, but he won’t be picky. 

“Anything under 40 works,” he said, smiling. 

The steady climb toward single digits happens to just about everybody. Long before Brandon Crawford’s became @bcraw35, he wore 79 in his first camp. He moved up to 53 after that and Mike Murphy flipped that to 35 when Crawford became the big league shortstop. Hunter Pence doesn’t remember his first spring training number with the Astros, but he knows it was in the low eighties. Joe Panik wore 66 the first time he spent a spring at Scottsdale Stadium. “I was an offensive lineman,” he joked. Tyler Beede, now on the cusp of his big league debut, got promoted from 63 to 32 when he arrived last spring, only to swap to 38 this year because of some in-season shifting. When Pablo Sandoval arrived last summer, Steven Okert switched from 48 to 32.

Then there are those who have only known one jersey. Posey was a can’t-miss prospect when he arrived and doesn’t remember wearing anything other than 28. Brandon Belt was a top-25 prospect when he came to camp for the first time, and he’s been 9 since that day. Madison Bumgarner wore 40 in his first big league camp because he had already made his big league debut, but somewhere in the team archives, there are probably a few photos of a 19-year-old Bumgarner wearing something else. 

“The previous spring I came up to pitch a few times,” Bumgarner said. “I’m pretty sure I had a different number every time I came over and I’m pretty sure it was always in the eighties.”

There were seven Giants in the eighties this spring. Duggar was one of two top prospects — Chris Shaw inherited Crawford’s old 79 — to come close, and he didn’t mind one bit. He’s not thinking too far ahead, even though he could be a big leaguer in eight days. 

“I’ll take anything if I’m in the big leagues,” he said. “I’ll take No. 112 if that’s what they give me.”