By Chris Biderman and Michael Wagaman
Special to MLB.com |
SAN FRANCISCO -- Jeff Samardzija bounced back from a shaky outing to earn his first win of the season and the Giants' run-starved lineup backed the right-hander with plenty of offense while beating the Cincinnati Reds, 8-3, at AT&T Park on Sunday.
"When the guys swing it like that and play the defense that they played out there, it makes the game a whole lot of fun," Samardzija said. "It's one of those days you can actually enjoy. We played well today."
Samardzija (1-5) gave up three runs on nine hits over 6 2/3 innings while keeping Cincinnati's lineup quiet most of the afternoon. The right-hander had eight strikeouts, did not walk a batter for the third consecutive game and didn't allow a runner past second base until the fifth.
"[Samardzija] looked like he was really commanding the ball well," said Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco, who left the game in the fifth inning with hamstring tightness. "Everything was in the zone. He was really living in the zone, a lot of strikes. He's always had primo stuff, but today his command was pretty darn sharp."
Scooter Gennett drove in two runs for the Reds, who lost starting pitcher Tim Adleman to a stiff neck after one inning in which he allowed four runs. Reliever Barrett Astin entered in the second and allowed three more, putting Cincinnati in a seven-run deficit early.
"It was unrealistic to think [Adleman] could go out for more," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "Astin took a little bit of time to settle in, and by that point it's 7-0 and we had kind of an uphill battle from that point in time."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Breaking out: Nunez set the tone for the day with his two-out, two-run single off Adleman. That snapped a 2-for-23 slump for Nunez and capped a four-run first inning -- the Giants' best opening frame this season. At the same time, it put the Reds in a big hole they couldn't get out of.
"It's been awhile since we've had a cushion like that," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "It was nice to get an early lead, add on and add on again. We've been trying to get this thing headed in the right direction."
Quick exit: Adleman's early departure forced Price to dip into his bullpen much earlier than he wanted. A day earlier, this would have been a disaster after the bullpen was depleted during a 17-inning loss in the series opener. As it was, Cincinnati's bullpen was well-rested following Lisalverto Bonilla's complete game a day earlier. Four relievers combined to pitch the final eight innings and allowed four runs.
"That's my main goal. I went through a spot early in my career when a lot of my problem came from giving free passes and being in the stretch a lot. Walking guys, it just gives the other team a little bit of momentum and puts you on your heels as a pitcher." -- Samardzija, after not walking a batter for the third consecutive game
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Not only was the win Samardzija's first of the season, it also extended the Giants' winning streak to three games. That's their longest streak of the season and longest since ending the 2016 campaign with four consecutive victories.
WHAT'S NEXT Reds: The Reds have a day off Monday before the start of a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday at 8:05 p.m. ET. Bronson Arroyo (3-2, 5.94 ERA) will toe the rubber after throwing six innings and allowing two runs in a 3-2 win over San Francisco on Thursday. Arroyo last pitched against the Cubs on April 23, recording his second win of the season.
Giants: Right-hander Matt Cain (2-1, 4.54 ERA) gets back on the hill to face the Dodgers in the opener of a three-game series Monday at AT&T Park beginning at 7:15 PT. Cain beat the Dodgers earlier this season in one of his best starts of the year when he pitched six scoreless innings.