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What we learned as Giants waste Long's great debut in loss

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Sammy Long

It was the Sammy Long show on Wednesday at Globe Life Field in Arlington, but that wasn't enough for the Giants. 

A brilliant pitching effort for the first eight innings was wasted, as the Giants couldn't hold a lead in the ninth and lost 4-3 in the 11th. They split the two games against the Texas Rangers, one of the worst clubs in the AL. 

Four relievers -- including Long, making his MLB debut -- handed a two-hitter and 2-1 lead to closer Tyler Rogers, but Rogers was undone by some soft contact and picked up a rare blown save. Rogers allowed a seeing-eye single to start the ninth, and with the tying run on third, Adolis Garcia hit a pop-up that fell between a diving LaMonte Wade Jr. and Thairo Estrada in shallow right field. 

The Giants got a free baserunner in the top of the 10th and brought the run home on a single and double play. The Rangers did the same with their free runner, tying the game on a sacrifice fly.

After the Giants got undone by a rundown in the top of the 11th, it looked like a bad bunt would cost the Rangers. But with two outs, Brock Holt lined a single to left off Jake McGee, winning the game for Texas. 

Here are three more things to know.

A Long Time Coming

Long had to wait until he was 25 and in his third big league organization to debut, but it was worth the wait.  He struck out seven in his first three innings and ended up allowing one hit and one run over four-plus, striking out half of the 14 batters he faced. Long threw 69 pitches, 47 of which were strikes. He got 10 swinging strikes, six of which came on his curveball. 

 

Long struck out 14.7 batters per nine in the minors and carried that over, becoming the 10th pitcher in franchise history to strike out at least seven in a relief outing while pitching no more than four innings. 

The lone blemish in Long's debut was a double in his fifth inning of work that was the first hit of the day for the Rangers. He was pulled and the run came around to score. 

Doesn't Matter Who Comes To The Plate

Jason Vosler, playing because Evan Longoria is hurt and Wilmer Flores was used as the DH, homered off the right field pole in the fifth inning to put the first run on the board. Vosler has six hits this season and three are home runs. 

Chadwick Tromp, playing because Curt Casali is on the IL and Buster Posey got a day off, followed Vosler's shot with a soaring homer of his own down the left field line. The blast was Tromp's first of the year. 

Chadwick Tromp's homer gave the Giants 90 homers in 61 games and nudged them past the Atlanta Braves for the MLB lead. Just four years ago, the Giants ranked dead last in the majors with 128 homers. 

Don't Forget The Opener

Zack Littell was a starter in the minors and has good stuff from the right side, so he was the perfect choice to be the season's first opener ahead of Long. Littell issued a walk but then picked off the runner, and he ended up facing just three batters, striking out one. 

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Littell has a 1.56 ERA since getting called up, with 15 strikeouts in 17 1/3 innings. He would be a perfect fit to pair with Long -- or Conner Menez -- if the Giants want to keep experimenting with the bulk innings thing. Menez came in for the seventh and pitched two shutout innings. 

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