Samardzija bombs; Cubs put Giants in 2-0 hole
The Giants needed one.
They got none.
The result? They are in deep Cubbie doo-doo after a 5-2 loss Saturday night at Wrigley Field, now needing to sweep three straight games to overtake the Cubs, who took the first two in this best-of-five National League Division Series.
The silver lining? They have left-hander Madison Bumgarner, the world’s greatest postseason pitcher, going for them in Game 3 Monday at AT&T Park. The Cubs will have Jake Arrieta, the world’s greatest pitcher for a good stretch last season and a pretty good one this year.
Jeff Samardzija, the Cub of nearly seven seasons assigned to help the Giants even up this series, failed by lasting only two innings in his first postseason start. Samardzija gave up a leadoff double to Dexter Fowler and an RBI single to Ben Zobrist in the first. In the second, the Cubs peppered him for three runs on four hits, including a leadoff double by Jason Heyward, a two-run single by pitcher Kyle Hendricks and an RBI single by Kris Bryant that glanced off diving right fielder Hunter Pence’s glove.
“Your job is to get outs and pitch deep into the game and get into a rhythm,” Samardzija said. “But it never took place tonight. It wasn’t my night.”
When Gregor Blanco pinch hit for him in the third, Samardzija was done, with an unsightly line going into the books like this: Two innings, six hits, four earned runs, one walk, one strikeout.
Samardzija said he wasn’t too amped up for the moment.
“I felt pretty good. I didn’t think I was gripping it too hard or moving too fast,” Samardzija said. “I like to get settled in there into the mid innings. Never got into the rhythm to find that groove.”
“It’s fair to say he was a little bit off tonight,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
“That ball Hendricks hit, he bloops that in, that scores two and now it’s an uphill climb for us.”
It was an abrupt downer for the light-hitting Giants, who had thrived of late with starters combining to go 3-1 with a 0.55 ERA in their previous four games, including Baumgarner’s complete-game shutout in a Wild Card victory against the Mets. Bumgarner owns a 1.94 ERA over 97 1/3 postseason innings and will take a 23-inning postseason scoreless streak into Game 3 Monday. In his last nine postseason games, the ERA is 0.79.
So the Giants have that going for them.
“It’s tough to lose two here, but it’s a case that we have down this road before,’’ said Bochy, whose 2012 World Series championship team came back to win the NLDS after losing the first two games at home against the Reds. “It’s never easy with us so we’re going to hoping to get one here but now we go home and you keep fighting. That’s all you can do.”
Samardzija wishes he had put up a better fight at a place he had grown to love during his Cubs days. He could feel the electricity in the ballpark warming up.
“Great atmosphere,’’ he said. “Especially to be here at Wrigley is something special. The atmosphere in the stadium and the fans … obviously it didn’t go the way I wanted it to.’’