Oakland Athletics “Hang a Five up Early” against Jeff Samardzija


It was trouble early for Giants’ number three starter, right-hander Jeff Samardzija, who faced the entire lineup in the second inning and lost the Bay Bridge series opener to A’s rookie right-hander Daniel Mengden, who earned his first professional win.

Danny Valencia started off the crushing second inning rally by bouncing a single off the right field wall before being brought all the way home on Khris Davis’ triples alley shot, putting the A’s up 1-0.

“He left it on the heart of the plate there and we paid for it,” said Bochy.

Davis was just the start. On a 1-2 pitch with two runners on, Marcus Semien smoked one to right-center field to record his 15th homer, putting his team up by four.

“There’s a couple pitches I’d really like to have back,” said Samardzija.

The A’s lineup had their way with Samardzija’s lazy cutter and hanging slider. He couldn’t gain control of his command and the opposition did well to exploit.

By the time the second inning skid came to a halt, Samardzija had tossed 40 into the glove of Buster Posey. But then he found a groove in the third, heaving 27 hitless pitches over the next three innings.

But it was too late.

He went on to give up another run in the sixth before making his last walk to the dugout, ending his night by allowing six runs off eight hits in six innings pitched — his third six-run start this month.

“I want to go out there and pitch deep in the game,”  Samardzija said. “You just want to give your offense a chance to win the game, but when you let them hang a five up early, you really put your offense in a hole.”

June has been a tough month for the right hander, who put together a solid 10-game stretch to start the season. His next start will be in Arizona against the Diamondbacks where he’ll look to get back on track.

“It’s just going to take him being consistent,” said Bochy.

The first glimmer of fan engagement, who had otherwise been shelled by those who traveled the short distance across the Bay, came with bases-loaded in the eighth and no outs. The pitcher’s spot came up and manager Bruce Bochy decided to let him hit.

“You hate being caught in that spot, but you know we’re down eight runs and I decided to give Buster and Angel a break there,” said Bochy.

After giving up a run from a slow-rolling double play off the bat of Stratton, Mengden exited with runners on the corners and a wild pitch from Fernando Rodriguez allowed Conor Gillaspie to cross the plate and record the Giants’ second run of the game — logging Mengden’s night with two runs given up on four hits in 7.2 innings.

Minor blemishes for a quality performance from the rookie who sports a Rollie Fingers ‘stache and employs an obscure windup that I’m sure the Giants coaching staff studied for illegal activity at some point throughout their bewilderment.

“He’s (Mendgen) got a unique delivery which creates deception,” said Bochy. “He’s been pitching well, came in this thing 0-3, but if you look at his games, he’s been throwing very well.”

The Giants managed to cut the A’s lead to five with a run scored off the bat of Pena in the bottom of the night. But to no avail. The first game of four ended with the Giants trailing 3-8.

“It’s tough, you know, but I’m going to keep working,” said Samardzija. “It’s not mechanics, for me, it’s just about slowing the game down and making the pitch that needs to be made.”

The A’s extend their all-time interleague series with the Giants to 55-52. The teams are set to face off at AT&T Park tomorrow before heading across the bridge to finish the bout.

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