Samardzija's pitching line revealed unwanted symmetry. He pitched six innings, surrendered six runs and allowed six hits, including two-run homers by Matt Chapman in the fifth inning and Chris Coghlan in the sixth. The right-hander's ERA rests at 8.53 after five spring starts.
But Samardzija, San Francisco's projected No. 3 starter who signed a five-year, $90 million contract, also demonstrated promise. He became the first Giants starter to work as many as six innings in a Cactus League game. He walked none and improved his technique with his split-fingered fastball, which is essential to his success.
"The splitter was great today, man," he said. "We've been fishing for it the first few starts. To get a handful of swings and misses on it, get a punchout on it (Khris Davis in the fourth inning), I think we got a couple of easy ground balls on it, that's huge for me. That's a change-of-pace pitch that makes them kind of get off my fastball a little bit."