SAN DIEGO -- When Evan Longoria fielded a Wil Myers grounder and whipped it across the diamond in the eighth inning, Jeff Samardzija did something no other Giants starter has done this year. He recorded an out in the eighth.
Samardzija would get two more, finishing eight innings for the first time since Sept. 15, 2017. The Giants have had eight other games -- four by Madison Bumgarner -- in which their starter went seven innings, but this was their longest outing of the season, and the timing was perfect. With the team playing 20 games in 20 days, and reliever Dereck Rodriguez being sent down earlier Monday, manager Bruce Bochy wanted to give his bullpen a breather.
"We had some guys down there that could use a break," Bochy said. "He did that and more."
Samardzija has been vocal about the way the game has changed and his disagreement with limiting starters. He said there was very little discussion about his workload Monday. He felt good and Bochy was happy to let him soak up the eighth, even as Samardzija got to 114 pitches.
"You've got to get that threshold up to where that feels good to go seven-eight-nine innings," Samardzija said.
--- Samardzija was charged with two earned runs, but one of them was tough to take. Fernando Tatis Jr. scored from third on a pop-up that didn't get deep into right field. There was little doubt that the rookie, who has done that before, would tag. There wasn't even a play at the plate as he raced home and Joe Panik's throw went up the line.
"He's a heck of a player, man," Samardzija said.
Samardzija threw his hands up in frustration as Tatis Jr. scored and angrily snapped at a new baseball. He likely was frustrated in the moment because the Giants screwed that one up defensively. Panik waved his arms emphatically to call right fielder Austin Slater off, but he threw as he backpedaled into right field. Slater should have called him off, and Tatis Jr. certainly would not have tested a right fielder rushing in towards the infield.
"We talked about it in a meeting before the game," Slater said. "I could have gotten that ball. We see these guys a lot. I don't think it'll happen again."
Maybe not, but you can bet Tatis Jr. will keep looking for cracks. He's absolutely electric, even in a losing effort.
--- Slater was the main story last night. He changed his swing, and Night 1 was a good one.
--- Kevin Pillar has 12 homers and has homered in consecutive games for the third time this season. He has a real shot at becoming the first Giant since Brandon Crawford in 2015 to hit 20.