Giants

Phillies tee off on Samardzija, put an end to Giants' winning streak

Phillies tee off on Samardzija, put an end to Giants' winning streak

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PHILADELPHIA — The Giants knew this road trip would be tougher than it looked when the schedule came out. The young Braves did not live up to the hype, but the young Phillies certainly did. 

The first night of a week in Pennsylvania was a disaster, an 11-0 loss that was ugly in all respects. Jeff Samardzija got shelled and had another concerning outing, the bullpen turned the game into a boat race, the lineup couldn’t touch Zach Eflin, and the defense was once again shaky. 

The loss snapped a four-game winning streak. Here are the particulars … 

--- Samardzija has always had an issue with the long ball, and the Phillies got a couple of looooooong homers in his four innings. In the first, Odubel Herrera followed a couple of walks with a home run that landed in the visiting bullpen in center field. Cesar Hernandez went upper tank in right for a two-run shot in the fourth. Samardzija was charged with five earned on four hits and three walks. 

--- There was a bit of good news, though. Samardzija has been sitting 90-92 in the first inning of previous starts but he was up to 96 in the long first inning Monday. He topped out at 97.3 mph with a pitch to Herrera in the third that was easily his fastest of the year. The velocity is back, so he appears to be healthy. Now he just needs to figure out the command. 

--- D.J. Snelten, The Big Snelt, had to wear it after Samardzija finished up. Snelten threw 56 pitches out of the bullpen and gave up five runs on a pair of homers. The first was a shot to center by Carlos Santana that landed in Gorkys Hernandez’s glove and then popped out and over as he slammed into the padded wall. 

--- The Giants made three errors on the night, one each by Brandon Crawford, Evan Longoria and Hernandez. They have 19 errors in their past 15 games. That's not what this team was supposed to be about.

Giants power past Rockies to salvage split

Giants power past Rockies to salvage split

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Brandon Belt snapped a seventh-inning tie with a three-run homer and the San Francisco Giants beat the Colorado Rockies 9-5 on Sunday.

Nick Hundley added a solo shot later in the seventh for the Giants, who salvaged a four-game split after dropping the first two games of the series. Gorkys Hernandez hit a two-run homer in the fifth.

Belt connected for his 12th home run this season and fifth in seven games to give San Francisco an 8-5 lead. He and Hundley both homered off left-hander Jake McGee.

Belt came to the plate with Hernandez aboard on a leadoff single and Evan Longoria on following a one-out walk by reliever Bryan Shaw (1-2).

Colorado lost for the third time in 11 road games this month.

The Rockies trailed 5-4 going into the seventh before Nolan Arenado singled home a run off winner Sam Dyson (2-0).

San Francisco rallied from a 4-1 deficit.

Hernandez homered in the fifth off starter Tyler Anderson to make it 4-3. An inning later, the Giants took a 5-4 lead on Kelby Tomlinson's two-out, two-run triple off Shaw.

The Rockies trailed 1-0 going into the fourth when Trevor Story's RBI double highlighted a two-run inning.

Colorado sent eight batters to the plate in a two-run fifth, chasing starter Ty Blach.

The Giants took an early lead when Buster Posey tripled and scored on Longoria's sacrifice fly in the first. Posey's triple was the ninth of his career and first since Sept. 10, 2016.

Arenado's RBI in the seventh was his 80th against the Giants. The only active players with more are Adrian Gonzalez (85) and Matt Kemp (91).

Arenado was 3 for 5 and finished 8 for 18 in the series. He has reached base safely in 28 of his last 29 games and 39 of 42 overall.

SECOND CHANCE?

With two Giants second basemen on the disabled list, veteran third baseman Pablo Sandoval took grounders at second Sunday morning. He played two-thirds of an inning at second for Boston in April 2017. "He surprises me how quick his feet are and he's pretty good around the bag," manager Bruce Bochy said.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Giants: OF Andrew McCutchen was out of the lineup with a bruised knee and is day to day. ... 2B-OF Alen Hanson (left hamstring strain) won't travel with the team to Houston. Hanson is eligible to come off the disabled list Wednesday but is a few days behind his projected return, Bochy said.

UP NEXT

Rockies: RHP German Marquez (2-2, 5.15 ERA) will pitch Monday's series opener in Los Angeles against the Dodgers. The 23-year-old is 2-2 with a 2.25 ERA in five road starts.

Giants: LHP Andrew Suarez (1-3, 4.88) starts Tuesday's series opener in Houston against the defending World Series champions. The 25-year-old rookie has struck out 28 and walked five in 27 2/3 innings.

A tip from two longtime teammates has Brandon Crawford in All-Star form

A tip from two longtime teammates has Brandon Crawford in All-Star form

SAN FRANCISCO — Nobody does nostalgia quite like the Giants. They know they have a fan base largely committed to the familiar names, and a clubhouse that embraces a reunion no matter what the original exit looked like. 

Often, those second runs in San Francisco lead to results on the field, too, but sometimes they’re hard to notice. Take Brandon Crawford, for example. He’s been a mainstay in the middle of the infield, but when he suffered through a brutal April, he ended up benefitting from two longtime teammates who played most of last year elsewhere. 

In the midst of a slump that had him batting below .200 at the end of April, Crawford was told by Pablo Sandoval and Gregor Blanco that they remembered him holding his hands higher in previous seasons. They were right. 

“I had looked at a ton of video before that,” he said. “(It’s) just kind of getting my hands up and into the right slot by the time I start my swing. It’s not a huge adjustment. I’m talking like a couple of inches higher, so it was kind of hard to see on video.”

A couple of inches have made a world of difference for a player who now looks like he could be headed back to the All-Star Game. Crawford is once again keeping his front shoulder in and squaring up pitches. He had three hits in a 9-4 win over the Rockies on Saturday and he has an MLB-high 31 in May. He’s batting .449 this month, raising that average from .189 to .302. There isn’t a full-time NL shortstop within 30 points of that batting average, and Crawford’s defense has long made him one of the standards at the position in the National League. 

The recognition may come later. For now, the Giants are just happy to have another force in a lineup that beat down Jon Gray on Saturday and on many days can look like one of the deepest in the league. It helps when Crawford, who generally hits a bit lower in the lineup, is going like this. He had a two-run double early and then a two-run homer as the Giants pulled away. The multi-hit game was his ninth of the month. 

“April was obviously a tough month,” Crawford said. “Hitting .189 for an entire month is tough, but I didn’t really waver in my confidence a whole lot. I figured I would be able to bounce back and still have a good season. I’ve done it before. I’ve been through it before.”

His manager repeated that mantra early and often as reporters asked about Crawford and other struggling Giants in April. 

“It’s just a case of a good hitter that’s got his stroke and he’s got his timing,” Bochy said. “Like a few guys, he got off to a slow start, but we said they’ll get their numbers back to where they normally are. Now, they’ve exceeded that.”

Crawford has never hit .300 for a full season. He has never even hit over .275, but this run flirting with .500 for a few weeks has helped keep the Giants afloat. They had 17 hits on Saturday while getting production up and down the line, and that’s when they’re at their best. 

“Overall, we’re going to have a really good-hitting team,” said Brandon Belt, who also has All-Star numbers. “We’re going to run into some guys that can shut us down, but that’s the case for anybody. But I think overall, on a day to day basis, you’ll see a pretty good-hitting team.”

On Saturday, that depth turned a tight early contest into a boat race. The only drama in the late innings was whether Crawford would became the first Giant since 1991 to hit for the cycle at home. He was a triple shy when he walked up in the eighth. He struck out. Did Crawford know what was at stake?

“Yeah,” he said. “Probably a little too much. I kind of got out of my approach. It happens.”