Samardzija finds form with scoreless outing

Samardzija finds form with scoreless outing

MIAMI -- Jeff Samardzija may be turning the corner and it couldn't come at a better time for the Giants, who won their first series of the second half with Wednesday's 1-0 victory over the Marlins at Marlins Park.

Samardzija held Miami scoreless over 5 2/3 innings, marking the first time he held an opponent scoreless in a start since shutting out the Tigers as a member of the White Sox on Sept. 21 of last year. He had allowed at least one run in each of his prior 23 starts before Wednesday.

"That was huge for us," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "It was great to get a series. It took the pitching for us to do it."

Giants fans can rejoice a little bit knowing Shark's darkest days this season may be behind him. He was 1-4 with a 6.99 ERA over his last eight starts before Wednesday.

"I liked how I was throwing it," Samardzija said. "I just need to get back to the basics and get the ball down in the zone and get those ground balls like I'm used to. Those four-hoppers to Brandon Crawford, we'll take those all day long."

Although the result wasn't a ground ball, one key play for Samardzija came with two outs in the fifth inning. Giancarlo Stanton pinch-hit with two on and Samardzija induced the slugger to swing at a slider. He flied out to center.

"One bad pitch and you're looking at a hole in the wall," Samardzija said. "I just wanted to see if I could get him to swing at something he wasn't looking for. Just try to stay away from him, and luckily got him to pop up."

Bochy said he thought the right-hander's concentration and command stood out.

With the Giants and Dodgers neck and neck for first place in the National League West, it's no secret that San Francisco's going to need good starting pitching the rest of the season. That's why Samardzija's outing was encouraging.

"From this point on, we're going to have to pitch well," Bochy said. "We're not a team that can go out there and slug it with other clubs. We've got to pitch and catch the ball and, hopefully, get those timely hits. We did the first game. We did today. That's what helped us win the series."

Patrick Pinak is a reporter for MLB.com based in Miami and covered the Giants on Wednesday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.