Giants win, nine-game losing streak to the Rockies snapped

June 26, 2017

MLB, San Francisco Giants


San Francisco Giants’ Buster Posey follows through as he drives in a run with a double against the Colorado Rockies during the first inning of a baseball game, Monday, June 26, 2017, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) 

By Morris Phillips

Ease up on dissension stories, put a noose on the negativity, look no further for factions and infighting.  If only for a night, the focus fell on the diamond, as the Giants became winners again.

Jeff Samardzija pitched into the seventh inning, and four Giants produced multi-hit games in a 9-2 rout of the Rockies, ending the team’s woeful stretch of 12 losses in 13 games. The win also snapped a streak of nine, consecutive losses to the Rockies, the longest such streak of Giants’ losses in the nearly 25 seasons of meetings between the two clubs.

Manager Bruce Bochy stuck with his most veteran lineup Monday, and was rewarded with three-hit games from Buster Posey and Hunter Pence, while Denard Span and Joe Panik each had a pair of hits at the top the lineup.  The Giants scored in three of the first four innings off German Marquez, who failed to win for a third, consecutive start.

Samardzija again pitched well enough to win, but this time, he did win. The Shark tamed the same lineup that was unforgiving in Denver on June 16, when Samardzija allowed a season-worst eight runs and 11 hits.  This time, with all his pitches working, the righthander cruised through the first six innings before adversity struck in the seventh. Still, his two runs and six hits allowed performance was enough to get the decision, and avoid a major league-worst tenth loss.

“We have a hard time scoring runs for him, but tonight he got rewarded for a great effort,” manager Bruce Bochy said.

Samardzija continued to be stingy with opposing hitters, by striking out five and walking none. That extends a streak of 12 starts in which he’s struck out 82 batters while walking just four. But he’s only 3-5 in that stretch, another example of how hard wins, and run support, have been to come by for a club that’s 23 1/2 games behind the Dodgers.. after gaining ground on Monday.

“Obviously we’re trying to score runs for him,” Brandon Crawford said. “At times, we try too hard, we’re pressing.”

Samardzija’s received the third worst support in the big leagues this season, barely three runs per game on average, but he hasn’t dwelled on it, in part due to previous experience. In 2014, as a member of the Cubs, he went the first 10 starts of the season without a win, despite pitching deep into all 10 starts, and compiling a miniscule 1.46 ERA.

“Even when it’s not going well, you go out and give it all you got,” he said.

Monday’s win came on the heels of a story written by Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal that depicted the Giants as a divided clubhouse, in part due to disagreement over pre-game stretching routines that conflict with new closer Mark Melancon’s preferred, pre-night game routine. Add Rosenthal’s contention that the Giants lack fiery personalties, leaving them cemented in a lethargy of losing, and you have something to talk about.

A bewildered Bochy did just that before Monday’s game.

“It’s pole vaulting over mouse turds, to be honest,” he said, when told of Rosenthal’s finer points.

Are the Giants a happy family then, despite losing at a record pace in a season they were built to compete for a fourth World Championship?

Probably not, but they do cut an unique swath across the greater canvas of losing. For one, big contracts are hard to move, and the Giants have a bunch of them. With the trade deadline roughly six weeks away, a market flooded with sellers won’t dislodge a gaggle of buyers. Only the most, desirable contracts will move, and the deals signed by Johnny Cueto, Hunter Pence and Brandon Belt, for examples, are expensive, complicated and downright undesirable.

Also, the Giants’ front office stubbornly has backed away from trade talks–for now–in hopes that some of the underperformers can turn it around. They can’t move everyone, and the majority of their roster wasn’t considered washed up until things collectively went south just two months ago.

For example, would you consider moving arbitration-eligible Joe Panik, a year after he was widely thought to be ascending to league batting champion status? Panik will be just 27 on Opening Day 2018, and he’s showing signs of progress after two, injury-marred seasons.

On Tuesday, Matt Cain gets the start for the Giants, Jeff Hoffman goes for the Rockies at 7:15pm.





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