Photo credit: @mlbtraderumors
By Jeremy Kahn
SAN FRANCISCO — With the exception of one bad inning, it was a sufficient return for Jeff Samardzija to the San Francisco Giants’ starting rotation before game three versus the St. Louis Cardinals.
Carlos Martinez helped out his own cause, as he doubled in the top of the third inning, as the Cardinals defeated the Giants 3-2 before a crowd of 39,606 at AT&T Park on Saturday afternoon.
Martinez’s double scored Kolten Wong, who singled to lead-off the inning, went to second on a Francisco Pena ground out and then scored on the Martinez double.
With the loss, the Giants have lost five out of their last six following the sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks from June 29 to July 1.
During this six game stretch, the Giants are hitting .167, as they are 31-for-186 at the plate against the Colorado Rockies and the Cardinals.
The Cardinals added two runs in the top of the fourth inning, as Dexter Fowler hit a sacrifice fly that scored Marcell Ozuna. After the Ozuna singled with one out in the inning, Paul DeJong then singled Ozuna to third base.
Wong picked up his second hit in as many at-bats, and then Francisco Pena drove in DeJong with a sharp single of his own.
Through the first three games of the series, Wong has multi-hit games in all three games and is batting .500 (6-for-12) with a double, triple and two runs batted in.
Brandon Belt drove in the Giants’ lone run of the afternoon in the bottom of the sixth inning, as he doubled off the right field wall to score Gorkys Hernandez, who led off the inning with a single.
Belt got back in on the act in the bottom of the eighth inning, as he singled off of Cardinals reliever Jordan Hicks, who replaced Martinez in the bottom of the frame.
Alen Hanson singled with one out, went to second on a Hicks wild pitch and then scored on Belt’s third hit in four at-bats.
The 41 runs batted in by Belt lead the team, as he drove in both runs in the one-run loss.
Martinez went seven innings, allowing one run on six hits, while walking no one and striking out three, as he improved to 6-4 on the season.
Samardzija ended up going five innings, allowing three runs on seven hits, walking just one and striking out three, as he fell to 1-5 on the season.
This was the first game all season that the Giants’ top three starters of Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto and Samardzija were active at the same time. Bumgarner missed 60 games, Cueto missed 70 games and Samardzija missed 53 games.
NOTES: Bumgarner will take the mound on Sunday, as the Giants look to salvage the finale and he attempts to raise his record to 2-3 on the season. The Cardinals will look to take the series, as they will send Jack Flaherty to the mound, as he looks to improve to 4-4 on the season.
As expected, Joe Panik was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a left groin strain, and the contract of Chase d’Arnaud was purchased from Triple-A Sacramento.
To make room for d’Arnaud on the 40-man roster, Hunter Strickland was transferred to the 60-day disabled list.
With Samardzija coming off the disabled list, Chris Stratton was optioned to Sacramento. Prior to being optioned to Sacramento, Stratton was 8-6 on the season with a 4.93 earned run average.
Since the 2017 season, the Giants have lost six out of their last eight games against the Cardinals, and have been outscored 48-23 during that stretch.
UP NEXT: The Giants and Cardinals conclude their four-game series on Sunday afternoon at 1:05 pm PDT.