Giants righty defeats club whose offer he turned down
By Barry M. Bloom
PHOENIX -- If things had worked out differently, Johnny Cueto might be pitching for the D-backs and Zack Greinke for the Giants. That didn't happen, and the Giants finally got the best of Greinke on Thursday night.
"He's a heck of a pitcher, that's why went after him," said left-handed reliever Javier Lopez, who got a rare save closing out the 4-2 thriller at Chase Field. "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em."
Greinke, who signed a six-year, $206.5 million contract with the D-backs, had been 8-0 with a 2.12 ERA in 11 previous starts against the Giants. When Greinke signed with Arizona, Cueto went to San Francisco for six years and $130 million. Earlier in the offseason, Cueto turned down $120 million from the D-backs.
That's the way life rolls. On this night, Cueto (5-1) was the winner for the Giants and Greinke (3-3) the loser for the D-backs.
"That's between the organizations," Cueto said when asked how he felt about the way things worked out. "Right now, I'm with the Giants."
And happy to be?
"Very happy," he said.
The Giants got two high quality pitchers in Cueto and Jeff Samardzija for a cool $220 million, only $14.5 million more than the D-backs paid Greinke. Samardzija, who's scheduled to start Friday night against Arizona's Shelby Miller, has four wins after signing a five-year, $90 million deal.
That's a 9-3 record for Samardzija and Cueto. The early returns show that the Giants got the better deal.
Cueto has now thrown at least seven innings in six of his first seven starts.
"He's just been great," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's doing a great job giving us quality innings. You know, he's fun to watch. He pitches out there. He did a good job against a tough lineup tonight. He gave us all we needed because this 'pen has been used quite a bit."
The game swung on two Paul Goldschmidt at-bats when Cueto seemed hittable in the early innings. Jean Segura and Brandon Drury singled to open the first and Goldschmidt bounced into a double play. The D-backs scored only once in the inning.
In the third, the same two hitters reached base and Cueto struck out Goldschmidt.
Cueto says he likes to pitch angry and he got on himself in the very first inning. About the Goldschmidt at-bats, the righty said: "You've got to focus against a hitter like that. You've got to bare down."
Then the Giants uncharacteristically got to Greinke in the fourth and fifth, scoring all four of their runs on seven hits as eight batters reached base. Joe Panik hit Greinke's first-pitch for a two-run homer in the fifth, which was the big blow. It's not something that usually happens.
"I didn't see anything different in Greinke," Bochy said. "His velocity looks the same. We got some big hits. We threw up some big at-bats. You've got to give our hitters some credit. Greinke had good stuff. It's good to see us finally break through."