Samardzija slips in seventh, Giants dropped by D'backs in San Francisco

Samardzija slips in seventh, Giants dropped by D'backs in San Francisco


SAN FRANCISCO -- Baseball fans gasped in horror when Robbie Ray was struck in the head by a line drive earlier this summer.

These days Ray isn't expecting anyone to feel sorry for him. The lefty has been as dominant as ever since coming off the disabled list.

Ray won his fifth straight start and A.J. Pollock hit a two-run double as the Arizona Diamondbacks defeated the San Francisco Giants 3-2 on Friday night.

Ray (14-5) struck out 10 and gave up two runs (one earned), six hits and no walks as the Diamondbacks won for the 19th time in 24 games and for the eighth straight time on the road.

Ray has a 1.39 ERA in his last five starts since coming off the disabled list with a concussion after getting hit by a line drive on July 28.

"It's almost a blessing in disguise, to be able to take that time off and get my mind right get my body right, I feel like it's helped out," Ray said. "Honestly, I feel stronger now with everything, I feel in synch. Ready to keep it going."

Arizona reduced its magic number for clinching its first postseason berth since 2011 to seven.

The Diamondbacks trailed 2-1 when Pollock doubled in two runs off Giants starter Jeff Samardzija (9-14) in the seventh inning.

Daniel Descalso started the rally with a two-out single that snapped a streak of 14 straight batters Samardzija had retired.

"You've got to get some runners on and put some pressure on him, because he was really, really on a roll there," Pollock said. "They did a great job in front of me and I was able to get just enough of that down the line. That's baseball man, just enough to get the runners in."

Samardzija gave up three runs, six hits and no walks in eight innings

It marked just the eighth time this season that both teams allowed no walks.

Fernando Rodney pitched a scoreless ninth for his 37th save.

"I hate to lose, everybody hates to lose," Samardzija said. "That's the way it goes. It's frustrating."


Ray was nearly hit with a line drive when Kelby Tomlinson singled up the middle in the third inning.


The Giants claimed INF Engelb Vielma from the Minnesota Twins. They transferred INF/OF Michael Morse to the 60-day disabled list to make room for the 23-year-old defensive standout on their 40-man roster.


Comic book legend Stan Lee, 95, yelled "play ball" from the field before Friday's game.


Diamondbacks: OF J. D. Martinez was a late lineup scratch with neck stiffness and day-to-day, Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. Martinez is batting .451 (23 for 51) with 10 homers and 20 RBIs over his last 12 games. ... C Jeff Mathis (fractured right hand) is with the team and is ramping up hand-strengthening exercises, Lovullo said. Mathis will meet with surgeon Dr. Don Sheridan next week when the team returns to Arizona. He's been on the DL since Aug. 22.

Giants: Closer Mark Melancon is back with the team and has started rehabbing after undergoing pronator surgery on his right forearm earlier this week. There were no complications with the procedure, manager Bruce Bochy said. ... RF Hunter Pence left the game in the eighth inning with back spasms after diving for Descalso's fly ball in seventh inning. ... OF Gorkys Hernandez went into Friday's game as a defensive substitute in center field despite suffering a left wrist sprain that Bochy said has been bothering him the past few weeks.


Diamondbacks ace RHP Zack Greinke (16-6, 2.99 ERA) is 2-0 with a 2.03 ERA in his last four starts. He is 4-0 with a 1.66 ERA in six career starts at AT&T Park.

Giants LHP Madison Bumgarner (3-8, 3.55) is 0-3 with a 6.50 ERA in his last three starts. The 2014 World Series MVP is 1-4 with a 2.47 ERA in his last seven starts against Arizona.

Giants' outfield picture becoming clearer after latest round of roster cuts


Giants' outfield picture becoming clearer after latest round of roster cuts

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants moved closer to setting their opening day roster on Monday when they made a significant round of cuts to their spring training roster. 

A total of 15 players were reassigned or optioned, bringing the total to 31 players remaining in camp. Many of the players cut Monday entered the spring competing for jobs. 

In the outfield, Mac Williamson and Austin Slater were optioned to Triple-A and Chris Shaw was reassigned to minor league camp. Williamson had a huge spring and was the likeliest of the trio to push for an opening day spot, but he'll start his year in the minors. Steven Duggar was not among the cuts, and he remains an option to make the team, with the Giants also looking at Gregor Blanco, Gorkys Hernandez and Jarrett Parker for backup spots. Hernandez and Parker are out of minor league options. 

Tyler Beede was optioned and Andrew Suarez was reassigned to minor league camp, leaving three players vying for the final two rotation spots. Ty Blach and Chris Stratton have been the favorites all along, although both struggled the last time out and Derek Holland has had a strong spring. 

Both backup catchers -- Trevor Brown and Hector Sanchez -- were reassigned, along with Orlando Calixte, who saw time in the big leagues last year. Joan Gregorio, Jose Valdez, Justin O'Conner and Kyle Jensen were also reassigned. Chase d'Arnaud, who appeared to be making a strong push, was on the list, too, leaving Josh Rutledge as the only competition for Kelby Tomlinson for the final infield spot. 

Finally, Derek Law and Roberto Gomez were optioned to Triple-A. Josh Osich remains and appears the frontrunner for a bullpen job. Julian Fernandez, the Rule 5 pick, also remains in camp. 

The Giants break camp on Friday.

Starting to rev things up, Hunter Pence has big night at plate and in left

Starting to rev things up, Hunter Pence has big night at plate and in left

PEORIA — Jeff Samardzija spent a couple minutes after Thursday’s start talking to reporters about how deep he thinks the Giants lineup can be. It’ll be a hell of a lot deeper if Hunter Pence keeps hitting like this. 

After a slow start to the spring, Pence is charging. He had three hits against the Padres: a triple that bounced off the top of the wall in right-center, a hard single up the middle, and a double to center. The more encouraging plays for the Giants happened in left field. Pence chased down a drive to the line in the third inning, leaving the bases loaded. He opened the fourth by going the other direction and gloving a fly ball to left-center. 

"A good game for Hunter, both ways," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's getting more comfortable out there. You can see it with the jumps he's getting right now. It takes a little while when you change positions, but I think he's going to be fine out there."

The Giants appear set to have Austin Jackson and Pence atop the lineup against left-handed starters, and that duo could see plenty of time early. Seven of the first nine games are against the Dodgers, who have four lefty starters. 

--- Evan Longoria had a double off the right-center wall on Wednesday after missing a week with a sore ankle. He had a single the same way in his second at-bat Thursday. More than the at-bats, Longoria has impressed with his soft hands and steady arm at third. The ankle looks fine, too. 

“My ankle feels pretty good,” Longoria said. “I don’t think it’s going to be an issue going forward.”

--- It’s been a quiet spring for Andrew McCutchen, but we saw the wheels tonight. McCutchen easily stole second after a two-run single in the fifth. When Evan Longoria bounced one to the left side, shortstop Freddy Galvis tried to go to third for the lead out, but McCutchen beat that throw, too. He got up and put his hands on his hips, as if to say, "Why'd you even try that?"

--- Samardzija allowed three homers in a six-batter span in the third. He allowed three homers in an inning in his previous start, too, but he said he’s not concerned. Samardzija deemed it a sequencing issue. He’s working in a new changeup and threw it in situations he normally wouldn’t; Eric Hosmer took advantage of a floating one, crushing it to deep, deep right for the third homer. 

--- With a runner on, Brandon Belt put down a perfect bunt to foil the shift. Belt does that every spring, particularly against NL West teams, but rarely during the regular season. Maybe this will be the year?

Belt later crushed a homer to deep right. That had to feel good for a number of reasons. Belt is fighting a cold and he learned earlier in the day that his college coach, Augie Garrido, had passed away.