ORACLE PARK — After needing 98 pitches to complete just four innings on Monday, San Francisco Giants righty Jeff Samardzija didn’t just return to form, against the Phillies on Saturday.
“He threw a beauty,” manager Bruce Bochy said.
Samardzija was dazzling over eight innings of one-run ball, allowing just two hits to lead the Giants to a 3-1 win over Philadelphia.
“He’s in a really good place when it comes to commanding all four pitches,” Bochy said. “That was just a great job of executing.”
Though the Giants went 0-for-6 with men in scoring position and mustered just five hits of their own, it was more than enough to win as Evan Longoria and Kevin Pillar each homered to back Samardzija, who struck out five and painted the corners all day, taking advantage of the outside part of the zone.
“We sunk the righties inside last time at their place,” said Samardzija, who threw six shutout innings at Citizens Bank Park on July 31, allowing just three hits. “I was pretty sure that they would be looking for it, and I was just going to live away until they made an adjustment. I thought we threw in enough to keep them honest, and other than that, if they’re getting out when you’re throwing it in a certain spot, there’s no need to change it.”
After not striking any batters out over his first four innings, Samardzija whiffed J.T. Realmuto to open the fifth and struck out four batters across the sixth and seventh. Cesar Hernandez’s one-out single to left in the eighth inning ended his string of 19 consecutive batters retired, but Samardzija responded by getting Scott Kingery to bounce into an around-the-horn double play on his 103rd and final pitch.
The only blemish on Samardzija’s resume was a first-inning homer to center field by Corey Dickerson, the only run for Philadelphia (60-57) on a day when all runs were scored on homers.
Longoria put the hosts with a two-run shot off Vince Velasquez in the bottom of the second — a 438-foot no-doubter — and Pillar went deep on an 0-2 count in the fifth, swinging and missing on consecutive sliders before getting a third low slider and driving it into the seats in left for a 410-foot round-tripper.
“I recognized the two that I swung at and missed, and the velocity was a little bit different than earlier in the game and it had me out in front,” said Pillar, who also doubled in the second inning. “You still have to respect his fastball, so I was shifting my sights to where I wanted to drive the ball, and I was able to get underneath it.”
Dickerson represented the go-ahead run in the ninth as Will Smith allowed a one-out pinch-hit single to Sean Rodriguez and issued a two-out walk to Rhys Hoskins, but Smith struck out both lefties he faced to secure his 28th save of the year. Bryce Harper went down swinging on a slider for the second out, and the same pitch to Dickerson got the swing and miss to end the game.
Had Smith not gotten out of the jam, the Giants would have regretted their failure to cash in with men on base. After Pillar’s homer in the fifth, Austin Slater walked and a Velasquez error on a Samardzija bunt attempt put two men on, but after a Brandon Belt flyout advanced Slater to third, Mike Yastrzemski popped out and Buster Posey flew out to right.
San Francisco (58-60) also had two men on with one out in the sixth against reliever Jose Alvarez, but Pillar bounced into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.
“If you don’t get those hits with runners in scoring position, you better hit a couple homers, and that’s what we did today,” Bochy said.
The Giants also got good news following the game as Alex Dickerson (oblique) was able to take swings with no pain. He is likely to make a brief rehab appearance with Triple-A Sacramento before rejoining the club, likely playing for the River Cats on Tuesday before returning to the Majors.