Longoria wins it on home run in seventh SF wins 1-0

photo from sfgate.com: San Francisco Giants’ Evan Longoria, left, is congratulated by third base coach Ron Wotus (23) after hitting a solo home run against the St. Louis Cardinals during the seventh inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Sunday, July 7, 2019.

By Jeremy Kahn

SAN FRANCISCO-Evan Longoria ended two things against Jack Flaherty with one swing of the bat.

Longoria hit a solo home run with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning, breaking up both a shutout and a no-hitter and it helped the San Francisco Giants to a 1-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals before a crowd of 33,841 at Oracle Park.

This was only the third shutout of the season for the Giants and the first since April 24 against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

On the afternoon, the Giants only got two hits, and this was the fewest hits in a game where they won since a two-hit over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on March 30, 2018.

Flaherty was throwing a perfect game until he walked Alex Dickerson to lead off the bottom of the fifth inning.

After the Longoria home run, Dickerson singled to left, but then Flaherty got Stephen Vogt to fly out to Dexter Fowler and then Kevin Pillar lined out to Paul DeJong to end the inning.

It was the 12th home run of the season for Longoria, and his fifth in his last six games. During the six-game stretch, Longoria is hitting .429 (9-for-21) with seven extra base hits (two doubles and five home runs), 10 RBI and eight runs scored.

Longoria is no stranger to breaking up no-hitter, as it was the fourth time in his career that he broke up a no-hitter in the 7th inning or later.

With DeJong on first base in the top of the seventh inning, Paul Goldschmidt hit a line drive into the right-center gap; however, Pillar flew through into the air and made a fantastic catch that kept the game scoreless.

The Longoria home run made a winner out of Jeff Samardzija, who pitched a tremendous game, as he went seven innings, scattering four hits and striking out two on his way to picking up his sixth win of the season.

This was the first time since August 28 and September 2, 2017 that Samardzija went seven innings with two or fewer runs. That was also the last time he pitched at seven innings in consecutive starts.

It was a tough loss for Flaherty, who also went seven innings, allowing one run on just two hits, walking one and striking out six and saw his record fall to 4-6 on the season.

Sam Dyson pitched one inning, allowing one hit and struck out three. Closer Will Smith came on in the top of the ninth inning and despite giving up a single to Goldschmidt, he picked up his 23rd save in 23 chances, as Fowler grounded into a double play to end the game.

Over his last 19 outings, Smith has not allowed a run in 17 of those games and is possessing a 0.96 earned run average (two earned runs in 18.2 ip) with 30 strikeouts and opposing hitters are hitting .156 against him.

NOTES: Pillar also drove in the only run of the game on April 11, when he homered against the Colorado Rockies in a 1-0 Giants victory that made a winner out of Samardzija.

The Giants are now 18-9 in one-run games and 4-7 in final games of the series.

This was the seventh time this season that the Cardinals have been shutout, and it was the first time that the Cardinals have lost a series to the Giant since May 19-21, 2017 at Busch Stadium.

UP NEXT: Following the All-Star break, the Giants begin a three-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night.

Shaun Anderson will open the series against the Brewers at Miller Park on Friday night, followed by Madison Bumgarner and Tyler Beede. The Brewers starter has yet to be determined.

Samardzija, Longoria stand out in Giants’ 13-2 rout of the Padres

By Morris Phillips

This was an occasion where incremental improvement appeared quite dramatic.

Yes, the Giants have played slightly better ball since starting the season with just 21 wins in their first 54 contests. But that improvement hasn’t jumped off the sports pages. In fact, while winning 16 of their last 30, attendance at Oracle Park has suffered with huge chunks of empty seats spread across the ballpark.

At San Diego’s Petco Park on Monday, the Giants were a lot more noticeable in a 13-2 rout of the Padres, keyed by Jeff Samardzija’s lengthy outing and backed by three home runs. The Giants have won three of four, and scored double-digit runs in consecutive ballgames. Not weeks-long great, but for the National League’s second worst offense, something different than what we’ve seen to date.

“We’ve had some tough games offensively this year,” said Evan Longoria, who broke out with a home run and a double. “But when we have some offensive explosions, we know how to have some fun. Today was one of those days.”

The Giants built a 7-0 lead, on the strength of a four-run fifth inning, and cruised. In the early onslaught, Longoria doubled in a run, Austin Slater–in his 2019 debut–tripled home Longoria. Then in the fifth, Tyler Austin doubled home a pair, as did Buster Posey.

That gave Samardzija a nice cushion, but the Giants’ starter who suffered in June, didn’t just cruise, he rocked.

Samardzija threw eight innings–becoming the first Giants’ starter to go that deep into a ballgame in 2019–allowing two runs on five hits. After posting an 5.93 ERA in June, the improvement was dramatic. The veteran pitcher was in control throughout, and he gave other Giants’ arms a much needed break.

“We had a lot of guys down there we’re trying to give an extra day’s rest,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He did that and more: eight solid innings. That was huge. Good stuff, good movement.”

The Giants started the season with a bunch of question marks, starting with their outfield, and continuing past their aging infield. Acquisitions of Kevin Pillar, Austin, Mike Yastrzemski, Alex Dickerson and others after Opening Day have helped the offense show some improvement. That improvement took a leap with the team’s 10-4 rout of the Diamondbacks on Sunday, then the breakout against the Padres on Monday.

San Diego’s Logan Allen won his first two major league starts, but the rookie ran into trouble on Monday. He started fast, posting zeros in the first three frames, but things went south from there. Allen allowed six runs before being pulled in the fifth, after allowing the first two batters to reach.

“I missed a few pitches here and there,” Allen said. “I still feel like I competed my butt off. But the results weren’t there. I felt strong the entire game. I felt I made good pitches. That’s the way it goes. Sometimes you have your ‘A’ stuff and you get beat. Sometimes you have your ‘C’ stuff and you win.”

The Giants continue their three-game trip on Tuesday with Tyler Beede getting the start opposite the Padres’ Matt Strahm.

Pillar and Posey help Bumgarner get fifth win defeat Diamondbacks 10-4

photo by sfgate.com: San Francisco Giants’ Kevin Pillar, right, celebrates with Evan Longoria (10) after hitting a two-run home run off Arizona Diamondbacks’ Robbie Ray in the second inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 30, 2019, in San Francisco.

By Jeremy Kahn

SAN FRANCISCO-Kevin Pillar and Buster Posey helped out Madison Bumgarner with their bats in the series finale.

Pillar and Posey combined for seven hits, while Bumgarner went seven innings, allowing just one run on four hits, walking no one and striking out nine and the San Francisco Giants defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 10-4 before 31,778 at Oracle Park.

With the victory, the Giants ended the month of June with a record of 14-13, their first winning month since going 18-10 in June of 2018.

It was a Pillar two-run home run in the bottom of the second inning that got the Giants going, as he hit his 11th home run of the season.

Pillar added a two-run single in the bottom of the third inning that helped the Giants to the victory and split the four-game series.

Posey doubled in the bottom of the first inning, and then singled in the third and fifth innings, before walking to load the bases in the bottom of the seventh inning for Evan Longoria with nobody out.

The three hits by Posey match his season-high and marked his second three-hit game in three appearances. During the span, Posey is hitting .750 (6-for-8) with two doubles, two runs scored and two runs batted in.

Pillar hit a solo home run, singled twice and hit a double, as it was his first four-hit since July 13, 2018 for the Toronto Blue Jays against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.

It was the fifth four-hit game of Pillars career, who picked up two during the 2017 season and one during the 2015 season.

The five runs batted in by Pillar are a career-high, to go along with his career-high tying four hits.

Longoria then singled in Brandon Belt, who walked to lead off the inning against reliever Matt Andriese. Pillar then followed it up with his fourth hit of the game, as he singled to left to score pinch hitter Alex Dickerson, who singled while pinch hitting for Tyler Austin, who walked and struck out twice before leaving the game.

Mike Yastrzemski got in on the act, as he hit a two-run double to left field to score Longoria and Pillar.

The sixth and final run of the inning came when pinch-hitter Pablo Sandoval singled off of T.J. McFarland that scored Yastrzemski.

In all, the Giants sent 10 men to the plate, scored six runs on five hits, as they blew the game wide open.

The Diamondbacks attempted to get back into the game in the top of the eighth inning, as they scored three runs off of reliever Derek Rodriguez.

Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo was ejected in the top of the fifth inning for arguing balls and strikes with home plate Mike Muchlinski, and it was fourth all-time ejection for Lovullo in his managerial career.

It was not a good day for Diamondbacks starter Robbie Ray, who went just four innings, allowing four runs on six hits, walking three and striking out five and saw his record fall to 5-6 on the season.

NOTES: With the nine strikeouts on the afternoon, Bumgarner tied Tim Lincecum for second place all-time in San Francisco Giants lore with 1,704.

Juan Marichal is the all-time San Francisco Giants leader in strikeouts with 2,281

Will Smith was named as the lone All-Star for the Giants, as he is 1-0 with a 2.16 earned run average with 21 saves in 21 chances this season for the Giants.

Smith is the first Giants left-handed reliever to go to the All-Star Game since Gary Lavelle made the All-Star team in 1983

The 21 saves to start the season are the second most by a Giants reliever to start a season, trailing only Rod Beck who saved 28 in a row to begin the 1994 season.

In his Giants career, Smith is tied for second place with Craig Lefferts with 35 saves by a left-hander, Lavelle is currently the all-time leader in saves for a left-hander with 127.

UP NEXT: Jeff Samardzija takes the mound on Monday night, as the Giants open a brief three-game road trip against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. The Padres will counter with Logan Allen.

Dahl’s grand slam carries Rockies past Giants, 6-3

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO — Given the Colorado Rockies’ history of harvesting sluggers over the last 26 major league seasons, David Dahl’s accomplishment on Wednesday ranks as no small feat.

Dahl’s grand slam off Jeff Samardzija propelled the Rockies in a 6-3 series clinching win as the centerfielder became the first Colorado player to hit a slam in San Francisco.

Not Larry Walker, Todd Helton, Nolan Arenado or the Big Cat, Andres Galarraga, but Dahl, the Rockies’ emerging talent with just over 200 big league contests under his belt.

“Days like today validate what you’re seeing from David,” manager Bud Black said of Dahl. “I think it’s great. I know that his motivation and his desire is to be the best player he can be, and he’s working hard and what I like is he’s doing it on both sides.”

Dahl’s 10th home run of the season wiped out the Giants’ early 2-0 lead, and was largely responsible for pinning a loss on Samardzija, who surrendered five runs on just three hits in five innings. Samardzija followed Drew Pomeranz and Madison Bumgarner on the strikeout parade, fanning six, but he couldn’t get a big out facing Dahl when he needed it.

“A two-run homer and we’re fine there, and the game’s still going our way. But when it’s four it’s unfortunate,” Samardzija said.

The Giants struck for two runs in the first, interrupting a 13-inning scoreless streak, but after Pablo Sandoval’s solo shot off Rockies’ starter German Marquez in the third, the bats went quiet again. The Giants were shutout for the fifth time at home on Monday, and scored just five runs in the series. On Wednesday, when Marquez departed, things really dried up: the Giants managed just one base hit over the final four frames.

Marquez wasn’t particularly sharp, allowing seven hits, two runs and the home run to Sandoval, but he didn’t need to be with Dahl contributing five RBI to the cause, and allowing the Rockies to lead from the third inning on. Marquez picked up his second win this season at Oracle Park, having limited the Giants to one-hit on April 14.

“German was off. It was a combination of not his usual breaking balls and lack of fastball command,” said Black. “He had to work really hard to get through that.”

The Giants tinkered with their lineup–moving Brandon Belt into the leadoff spot, spelling the scuffling Evan Longoria with Sandoval, and giving Buster Posey a day off from his catching duties–but not much of that tinkering took hold after a rare, first inning outburst.

The Giants open a four-game set on Thursday against the Diamondbacks, who just bounced back from the losing a series to the Giants over the weekend by taking two of three from the first-place Dodgers.

Only the Marlins (30-48) have a worse record than the Giants among the 15 National League clubs. The Giants have been particularly deficient at home winning just 16 of their 39 contests so far.

Arizona’s Alex Young will face the Giants’ Tyler Beede in the series opener on Thursday.

Dickerson makes smashing Giants debut in 11-5 rout of Diamondbacks

Photo credit: @NBCSGiants

By Daniel Dullum
Sports Radio Service
Friday, June 21, 2019

PHOENIX — Just up from Triple-A Sacramento, outfielder Alex Dickerson had little sleep, but wasted little time making an impact on the San Francisco Giants lineup.

In his first game as a Giant, Dickerson cranked a grand slam and a bases-loaded triple, leading San Francisco to an 11-5 NL West win over the Arizona Diamondbacks Friday at Chase Field.

“It was a good feeling,” Dickerson said. “I didn’t get the barrel on the ball the whole time I was there (with San Diego). It’s good to come back, get a good pitch to hit.”

“It’s a long day. I got more sleep for this one than I did in my callups back when I was a rookie. I felt real good the whole day, very well rested. Just added a little travel to it to try and play a baseball game.”

Giants manager Bruce Bochy said, “Wasn’t that impressive? What a day, and what a lift for us. We’re coming off some tough games and looking for some offense early, and he and Pillar, what a show those two put on.”

“(Dickerson) is strong. He’s got a quick bat and it’s good to have him up here to give him a chance.”

“You can’t have a better debut than that.”

Dickerson started the season with San Diego, which designated him for assignment earlier this month after he hit .158 in 12 games. The Padres traded him to San Francisco for prospect Franklin Van Gurp.

“This means a lot, but at the same time, it’s back to business,” Dickerson said. “I want to show that this is the level I want to be at, and it really is business at this point. There’s a little bit of emotion there, but in time, you put that behind you and just be a baseball player.”

The hitting exploits of Dickerson and Kevin Pillar (two-run home run, four RBIs) helped Jeff Samardzija (4-6) grind through six innings to get the win. Samardzija gave up five earned runs on nine hits, struck out five and walked one, but never surrendered the lead.

“There’s mixed emotions about tonight as a whole, but when your teammates pick you up and give you 11 runs, it makes it a whole lot easier to swallow,” Samardzija said. “There was some good and some bad. I was just a little more upset in general with being a little erratic and not very consistent, but I battled and we move on to the next one.”

Dickerson was 3-for-5 with six runs batted in, and fell a double short of hitting for the cycle.

“Pillar set me up great with good a-b’s in front of me, which gave me good pitches to hit,” Dickerson said. “He always had the pitchers on the ropes, and I told myself ‘It’s time to do some damage.'”

“That was impressive,” Samardzija said of Dickerson. “He came in off the bus and went out there and almost hit for the cycle! He had a lot to do with the run support, and he was fun to watch.”

Trailing by six in the bottom of the ninth, the Diamondbacks loaded the bases on Carson Kelly’s double, a walk to Jarrod Dyson and Ildemaro Vargas reached on an infield error.

That prompted a pitching change for the Giants, as closer Will Smith entered the contest. Smith struck out David Peralta and Adam Jones to kill the rally in a non-save situation.

Diamondbacks starter Taylor Clarke (1-3) gave up six earned runs on seven hits in three-plus innings.

San Francisco started the scoring in the top of the second on Kevin Pillar’s ninth home run of the season. Pillar’s drive to left-center drove in Stephen Vogt, who led off the inning with a double.

The Giants extended their lead to 6-0 when Dickerson delivered his first home run of the season, and his second career grand slam.

Arizona found the scoreboard in the third on Ketel Marte’s RBI single, driving in Jerrod Dyson, who reached on a one-out single. Marte limped into first and left the game, replaced by pinch-runner Ildemaro Vargas.

San Francisco loaded the bases when Pablo Sandoval was hit by a pitch, and Clarke issued walks to Brandon Belt and Pillar. Dickerson’s slam landed above the 413-foot mark in right-center.

The Diamondbacks cut San Francisco’s lead to 6-3 in the fourth on Nick Ahmed’s two-run home run, his sixth of the season. Christian Walker led off the inning with a base hit and scored on Ahmed’s opposite-field shot to right-center.

Carson Kelly followed with a double, was sacrificed to third by Clarke, and scored on a base hit by Vargas, cutting the Snakes’ deficit to 6-4. Peralta singled to right, and Adam Jones followed with an RBI single, making it 6-5.

Jones was initially ruled thrown out at second trying to stretch his hit into a double. After a video review, the call on the field was upheld.

San Francisco used a four-run rally in the seventh to build a 10-5 lead. The big hit was Dickerson’s bases-clearing triple. The Giants scored once more in the ninth on Vogt’s RBI double, his second two-bagger of the night, scoring Belt from first.

In the Diamondbacks first, Samardzija allowed a one-out triple to Ketel Marte, followed by a walk to David Peralta. But he struck out Adam Jones and retired Eduardo Escobar on a comebacker to work out of trouble.

“I thought Shark pitched without his best stuff,” Bochy said. “He had tough luck early with some ground balls that got through. But really, the one inning (the fourth) is where he had a hiccup. They got back in the game, but he went back out there and gave us two solid innings, which you want to see.”

On Saturday night, right-hander Tyler Beede (1-2, 6.67 ERA) starts for the Giants. The Diamondbacks have yet to name their starter.

GIANTS JOTTINGS: Diamondbacks 2B Ketel Marte left the game with a left groin cramp and is listed as day-to-day. … The video review on Diamondbacks’ Adam Jones’ RBI single and throw out was 1:57. … Before the game, the Giants announced they claimed OF Joey Rickard off waivers from Baltimore. To make room for Rickard on the 40-man roster, San Francisco RHP Nick Vincent was transferred from the 10-day to the 60-day injured list, and will be optioned to Triple-A Sacramento. … Attendance was announced at 29,312.

TAGS: San Francisco Giants, Arizona Diamondbacks, Alex Dickerson, Jeff Samardzija, Kevin Pillar,

San Francisco Giants podcast with Morris Phillips: Giants end win streak at four as they drop final game to Brewers 5-3

Milwaukee Brewers’ Jesus Aguilar, right, celebrates with third base coach Ed Sedar after hitting a solo home run against the San Francisco Giants during the sixth inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Sunday, June 16, 2019.

On the Giants podcast with Morris:

#1 For the Milwaukee Brewers, it was two hits each for Christian Yelich, Yasmani Grandal, Marcus Thames and Travis Shaw, whose contributions helped the Brewers get a two-run win over their hosts, the San Francisco Giants, at Oracle Park on Sunday to avoid getting swept in three games.

#2 The Giants, on the other hand, snapped a four-game winning streak with the 5-3 loss. The Giants beat the San Diego Padres in two games and took the first two games from the Brewers to start the series.

#3 Jeff Samardzija struggled to hold back the Brewers, who scored four runs in five innings and nine hits off Samardzija, and got the loss.

#4 Samardzija hit for a single to score Kevin Pillar that tied up the game, but later it would be for not, as the Brewers would come back and win it by two runs.

#5 The Giants head for Los Angeles and will start Tyler Beede (0-2, 8.06 ERA) who will be matched up against the Dodgers’ Kenta Maeda (7-3, 3.89 ERA).

Morris does the Giants podcasts each Monday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

San Francisco Giants podcast with Morris Phillips: Giants’ Crawford makes easy work of Orioles with two homers

abc.news.com photo: San Francisco Giants catcher Stephen Vogt (21) greets Steve Duggar, who scores on a Evan Longoria RBI double in Sunday’s game at Camden Yards in Baltimore.

On the Giants podcast with Morris:

#1 The San Francisco Giants Brandon Crawford didn’t waste any time, blasting two home runs in Camden Yards to trounce the Baltimore Orioles 8-1.

#2 Giants starter Jeff Samardzija got the win as he got a quality start over the struggling Orioles, going six innings and giving up three hits.

#3 With Sunday’s win, SF manager Bruce Bochy gets him just one short of the Giants record for managers with 1000 wins — one victory shy of joining John McGraw.

#4 You knew that Giants third baseman Evan Longoria was going to come around sometime. Longoria had a homer, double for two RBIs and got his second three-hit game this season.

#5 On Tuesday, the Giants will start Madison Bumgarner (3-5, 4.01 ERA) against the New York Mets Noah Syndergaard (3-4, 4.90 ERA). Morris goes over the matchup.

Morris Phillips does the Giants podcasts each Monday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

San Francisco Giants podcast with Morris Phillips: Bochy says it’s the worst season he’s seen in awhile

@BruceBochy file photo: San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy says this has been the worst season in awhile for the struggling Giants, who are on a five-game losing streak.

On the San Francisco Giants podcast with Morris Phillips:

#1 Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong for the San Francisco Giants. The basics: no hitting and no pitching. Manager Bruce Bochy says its the worst season he’s seen in awhile.

#2 Up and down the lineup, they’re just not getting the hitting or run support from Joe Panik .245, Steve Duggar .242, Buster Posey .252,Brandon Belt .229, Evan Longoria .225, and Brandon Crawford .200.

#3 The Giants have also been lacking in their pitching help. For example, starters Drew Pomeranz, Andrew Suarez, and Shaun Anderson have pitched 11 2/3 innings and allowed 20 runs

#4 One item that has been discussed is local businesses have struggled near the ballpark. Merchants have said business has been down by half or worse and some say no one is coming into their business.

#5 Giants have a much-needed day off before heading to Florida. Starting for SF, Jeff Samardzija (2-3, 3.27 ERA) vs. the Marlins Trevor Richards (1-5, 4.14 ERA).

Morris does the Giants podcasts each Monday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Giants wiped out by nightmarish, second inning in 9-2 loss to the Braves

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO — Jeff Samardzija threw 107 pitches Wednesday and didn’t allow any earned runs. Not bad.

No, not good. The pitcher’s throwing error that wasn’t turned out to be the portal to a Braves’ six-run, second inning that wiped out the Giants in a flash. Simply, the key juncture in a 9-2 loss that serves as a reminder that these days suffering outweighs prosperity inside the ballpark at 2nd and King streets.

“There are a lot of great things about these shifts but sometimes it does take guys out of the double play position. That’s kind of what happened. It was just a freak thing,” said Samardzija of his gaffe.

With a runner on, and one out, Ozzie Albies hit a grounder that Samardzija fielded with his infielder behind him in a shift, three defenders stationed between first and second base.

Well, shifts are designed to get batters out, not necessarily the best strategy to turn two. So when Samardzija looked to start a double play, he turned to see his experienced third baseman (Evan Longoria) and shortstop (Brandon Crawford) unsure of who would take the pitcher’s throw at second then throw into first. Both infielders froze, Samardzija threw accurately to Longoria, who was nowhere near the bag to retire the advancing Austin Riley.

Both runners were safe on a play that scorekeepers expect to yield an inning-ending double play, saddling the Samardzija with the error, eventhough he threw accurately. Matt Joyce singled to load the bases, then pitcher Max Fried grounded out, scoring Riley.

Ronald Acuna then struck out, but catcher Buster Posey couldn’t corral the wild pitch allowing Acuna to reach. Back-to-back home runs by Darby Swanson and Freddie Freeman were next, and the Braves led 6-0.

Fried, like Mike Soroka who pitched for Atlanta on Monday, has an All-Star resume and presented to the Giants over a six-inning stint. The 25-year old won for a league-leading seventh time, allowing just two runs.

“I didn’t throw strikes as much as I would have liked, but I was obviously picked up big time,” said Fried, who improved to 7-2. “The offense was incredible. It was just a good team win.”

The Braves look to make it three of four over the Giants in Thursday’s matinee finale. Madison Bumgarner will face the Braves’ Kevin Gausman at 12:45 pm.

Longoria’s Big Hit a Difference-Maker: Giants rally to beat the Dodgers, 3-2

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO — The intensity of the North-South rivalry was eerily missing from Oracle Park from the start. Then the Dodgers’ Kenta Maeda kept the Giants in check for five innings, supporting what Clay Bellinger’s been doing all season.

And the Giants seven hits to that point might as well have been distant cousins, they surely didn’t interact, or amount to much more than of parade of stranded baserunners.

Down 2-0, a fourth consecutive loss on the season’s biggest homestand of the season-to-date looked like a distinct possibility. Then in the seventh an opportunity surfaced, and Evan Longoria seized it.

Longoria’s three-run double gave the Giants a lead they would grasp tightly in a 3-2 win that especially for the game’s star was a long time coming.

“The rivalry is a big deal, so it’s a big situation there,” Longoria said. “For me and for this team, every one right now is big. We have a lot of work to do.”

The former Tampa Bay Rays’ star has struggled to reach expectations since being traded to San Francisco at the beginning of last season. On Monday, he started the game on the bench for the second, consecutive day in favor of Pablo Sandoval, who has the struggling team’s only batting average of note. But an injury suffered over the weekend wouldn’t allow the Panda to hit right-handed in the sixth after Maeda departed. That issue forced manager Bruce Bochy to insert Longoria in the sixth, as a pinch-hitter following Buster Posey’s leadoff double.

But reliever Scott Alexander induced Longo to fly out, and the Giants remained scoreless through six.

But in the seventh, Joe Panik singled, Yangervis Solarte doubled, and Brandon Belt drew a walk to load the bases, giving Longoria another shot. Facing reliever Dylan Floro, Longoria delivered a bases-clearing double down the left field line to give the Giants a lead.

“We needed a big hit in that game,” Bochy said. “It was good to have somebody deliver for us in a big way.”

Hopefully, Longoria’s big hit gets him going. The third baseman had just six hits and one RBI at Oracle Park in 12 games prior to getting to Floro. The team has contemplated changes everywhere on the diamond, even with few, obvious options, other than inserting Sandoval at first or third.

But Bochy’s continued to tinker with his lineup and his established patterns nonetheless. Starter Jeff Samardzija lasted just five innings Monday as the team’s brass is weary of exposing the veteran starter to opposing lineups a third time through. So despite allowing two hits and no runs, Samardzija was lifted after just 79 pitches. He remains winless against the Dodgers in seven, career starts.

Brandon Crawford, Kevin Pillar and Gerardo Parra started, but hit sixth, seventh and eighth in deference to their anemic batting averages.

On the other end of the spectrum, Bellinger stayed red hot with two hits, knocking in a run in the sixth, and throwing out Crawford at third as he tried to advance on a hit in the second inning. Bellinger leads all MLB hitters in hits, home runs and batting average after 30 games this season.

Los Angeles’ Walker Buehler and the Giants’ Drew Pomeranz are tabbed to start the second game of the series on Tuesday.