The Giants’ Momentum Shutdown by a Shutout

Apr 2, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants left fielder Denard Span (2) waits in the on-deck circle in the seventh inning against the Oakland A's  at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kenny Karst-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants’ momentum was frozen solid in the damp, chilly San Francisco night at AT&T Park. The Padres (60-84) right hander, Paul Clemens, outdueled right handed Jeff Samardzija to hand the Giants (77-66) their second loss (4-0) in six games.

Clemens pitched a gem, holding the Giants scoreless with just three hits through the five innings he was out there. A glimpse of life was shown in the fourth, when Brandon Crawford was pushed to scoring position after Pence skied one that dropped in shallow right field. A passed ball advanced both, but they would go no further.

“You need a good hit with runners on base,” said manager Bruce Bochy. “They pitched well. They shut us down.”

Samardzija issued himself some help by opening up the fifth inning with a shot down the right field line, reaching the foul pole and landing him safely aboard second base. But again, the Giants failed to capitalize.

And Samardzija’s stuff looked good — demonstrating solid command while hitting his spots. Through 5 ⅓ he fanned six and had only given up two runs. But when former Giant Hector Sanchez stepped into the box, and Samardzija left a 2-2 splitter over the center of the plate, the lead grew by two and the Giants were chasing four.

“We’d thrown a heater up in his hands the bat before that and he put one into left (soft-liner),” said Samardzija on the 2-2 pitch he’d like to have back. “It just stayed up enough for him to put a barrel on it.”

They never could get it going, the Giants. Hits were scarce and the fruit of the ones they got was spoiled. They left eight on base and hitting slumps continued.

Denard Span, who did hit a home run yesterday in Arizona, continued to look terribly uncomfortable at the plate. His 0-for-4 night did not help his cause. Through his last 44 at-bats, he has three hits (.068). Three. Jeff Samardzija has three in his last 17 at-bats.

“We’ve had guys hot and cold since the break — we have not been consistent with the lineup,” said Bochy. “I don’t know what the lineup is going to be tomorrow.”

Pence got just under a ball that need to be hit really well to push through the dense night. It landed in the glove of Jon Jay, who stood just a step inside the center-field warning track to close out the sixth inning.

Only one more hit would be recorded for the Giants before falling in shutout fashion. The Dodgers took their series opener against the Yankees — furthering the Giants’ chase to four games.

“You want to come out and throw up some zeros and give us a chance to win the game,” said Samardzija. “Unfortunately, they scraped a few across that ended up being the difference.”

The recent road trip saw two hitter-friendly parks (Chase and Coors field) and there was a stark difference in how the scorebook looked offensively in comparison with tonight. When asked if there was an adjustment factor, Bochy added that coming into “heavier air” likely contributes to plate frustrations — a plausible assessment given how many outs were hit hard and deep.

“Our lineup, we got to have guys all doing their thing. That’s what’s going to make us go,” Bochy said.


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