Despite loss, Shark's contribution big for Giants

Samardzija delivers quality start ahead of doubleheader

Despite loss, Shark's contribution big for Giants

WASHINGTON -- Jeff Samardzija's bid for a fourth consecutive win came up short, but the Giants starter was solid in Saturday's 3-1 defeat to the Nationals.

Samardzija threw six innings, allowing nine hits and three runs. He also had six strikeouts and one walk while throwing a season-high 120 pitches (79 strikes). Despite battling inconsistency for much of the season, Samardzija's latest outing was his fourth straight quality start.

"A great job, I thought, by Shark," said manager Bruce Bochy. "He really competed well. He threw a lot of pitches but he can handle it. It was a quality start. Early on, we just missed out on some opportunities and that came back to get us. In the second, we had first and second and none out and we couldn't move them. But he pitched well. The pitching was there."

With a doubleheader scheduled for Sunday, the Giants were hoping Samardzija would save the bullpen from a heavy workload Saturday.

"[Sunday] will be a tough day for us," said Samardzija, who dropped to 7-12 on the year with a 4.74 ERA. "For any team, having to play three games in 18 hours is a stretch, so I really wanted to go out there and try to get deep in the game. They battled and made me throw some pitches so it wasn't as deep as I wanted to go, but we did what we could."

Relievers Josh Osich and Mark Melancon combined to throw two scoreless frames as the Giants' bullpen's shutout streak stretched to 20 2/3 innings. Melancon was making his first appearance since June 27 after being reinstated from the disabled list with an elbow injury.

Jones hopes Harper's OK

Giants first baseman Ryder Jones beat Bryce Harper to first base in the first inning, just before Harper slipped on the bag, causing his leg to buckle. Harper stayed down on the field for several moments before leaving the game with a hyperextended left knee.

"It didn't look good," Jones said. "I hope he's all right. It's just one of those freak plays where you kind of thought there would be a collision and there wasn't, and that might be part of it, too. Maybe he was trying to dodge me and Samardzija."

Harper injures knee

The start of Saturday's game was delayed more than three hours because of rain, and light rain continued to fall in the first and second innings. Jones suggested that may have contributed to Harper's injury as well.

"The top of the bases were wet, obviously, from the rain," he said. "It looked like we were about to collide because Samardzija was kind of right there, too. Just a freak accident. I guess we'll find out what happened to him, but it didn't sound too good.

"He looked like he was in pretty good pain. You never want that to happen to a player."

Ben Raby is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Giants on Saturday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.