SAN FRANCISCO — The other night, when asked about Johnny Cueto’s return to the rotation, manager Bruce Bochy paused before noting, “It was okay.”
The same could be said of Jeff Samardzija’s return on Saturday.
Samaradzija was not particularly sharp, but his stuff was not really concerning, either, coming off a long layoff because of shoulder soreness. He gave up three runs in five innings on a quiet day at AT&T Park. It was okay. The Giants right now, are not. They lost 3-2 to the Cardinals, dropping to 1-5 in the week after a sweep of the Diamondbacks. This is a weird team, the very definition of .500. Here's what you need to know from Day 3 with the Cardinals ...
— Samardzija gave up seven hits, but only one went for extra bases, which was a positive sign. That one was kind of a killer, though. Opposing pitcher Carlos Martinez bounced a double over Pablo Sandoval’s head to bring the first run in. The Cardinals got four singles in the fourth while scoring two more.
— Samardzija hit 93 mph a couple times in the first inning, a step up from his previous stint in the rotation this year, when he had trouble getting loose early in games. But the velocity still wasn’t quite where it has been in the past. Samardzija threw two fastballs above 94 mph but the rest were in the low 90s. He averaged 92.7 mph with his sinker, a tick up from 92.4 earlier in the season, but just 91.3 mph with his four-seamer.
— Austin Jackson pinch-hit with a runner on first and two outs in the seventh. He struck out. Jackson is 3-for-18 as a pinch-hitter this season with nine strikeouts.
— Jordan Hicks, a rookie who is apparently a right-handed Aroldis Chapman, pitched the eighth for the Cardinals. His fastball averaged 101.1 mph and maxed out at 102.7. Brandon Belt was not impressed; he fouled off the hardest pitch the Giants have seen this season before smacking a 100 mph sinker into center to drive in the second run of the day.
Brandon Crawford notched an important first in his second-ever All-Star Game appearance on Tuesday.
The three-time defending Gold Glove winner started in the game for the first time in his eight-year career in the majors. Crawford finished with just over 3 million votes, and the fourth-most among the NL players that fans picked to start.
Crawford struck out in both of his plate appearances. He struck out swinging on the first, and looking on the second. Crawford's wife, Jalynne Crawford, was none too pleased with the strike zone on the evening.
He didn't see much action in the field, either. Crawford told NBC Sports Bay Area's Amy Gutierrez in a postgame interview he wasn't too upset he had a quiet night.
“I’m excited to be a part of it either way," Crawford said. "Even if I didn't even get in, it would be cool to be here."
"But I would like to get a ground ball. I would like to be involved somehow,” he added with a smile.
The Crawfords surely had a much better time with their four children, all of whom made the trip to the nation's capital.
“It's fun. They have no idea what's going on really," Crawford said of his children enjoying the All-Star festivities. "They see that everybody's excited so they get excited about it. That's kind of what makes it so fun.”
Crawford's NL may have lost 8-6 in extra innings to the AL, but Crawford left D.C. with bragging rights. In a trivia contest about his sister, Amy, Crawford bested her husband (and All-Star pitcher) Gerrit Cole.
The Dodgers might be on the verge of making a big splash.
Los Angeles appears to be the leader in the Manny Machado sweepstakes, according to Jon Heyman of FanCred Sports.
The Orioles have the structure of a deal in place, according to ESPN's Buster Olney.
Machado, who will play in his fourth All-Star Game on Tuesday night, is hitting .315 with 24 home runs and 65 RBI this season.
The soon-to-be unrestricted free agent won the AL Gold Glove in 2013 and 2015.
The Dodgers (53-43) lead the NL West by 0.5 games and are four ahead of the Giants (50-48).