SAN FRANCISCO — Jeff Samardzija is a throwback, a big right-hander who looks capable of cruising well past 100 pitches every five days. The Giants have had one of those for much of the last decade, so in a way it was sort of appropriate that Samardzija suffered a good old-fashioned Caining on Sunday.
Samardzija threw 123 pitches in 7 2/3 innings, giving up just two earned runs and striking out nine. He didn’t get any support, though, as the Giants fell 2-0 to the Rockies. The teams split a four-game series at AT&T Park.
Samardzija was coming off an eight-inning, one-run performance in Cincinnati, and his stuff was just as sharp Sunday. The Rockies found a way to scratch across a couple of early runs, though. Trevor Story hit a double in the first and scored when Nolan Arenado hit a triple off the wall that probably lowered his lifetime slugging percentage against the Giants.
Samardzija had a frustrating frame in the third. With a runner on, Arenado knocked a single through the shift, causing Samardzija to throw his hands up. The next batter, Gerardo Parra, got a cutter on the hands and fisted it to left for a bloop RBI single.
Eddie Butler, a talented right-hander who has yet to break out, threw six shutout innings for the Rockies. He struck out the side in the fifth and gave up just four hits.
The Giants got Hunter Pence to third in the seventh but two strikeouts killed the rally. Joe Panik and Matt Duffy walked with two outs in the eighth, but Buster Posey popped up to right.
Starting pitching report: Samardzija’s 123 pitches tied a 2014 Madison Bumgarner start for the most by a Giant since Tim Lincecum’s 148-pitch no-hitter. The guy can handle it, too … his final pitch was 95 mph.
Bullpen report: Albert Suarez, 26, made his Major League Debut in the top of the ninth. He allowed one hit and got a double play.
At the plate: Mac Williamson twice homered off Eddie Butler last season in the minors, but he struck out with the bases loaded in the second and then struck out in his next two at-bats, one against Butler and one against Boone Logan.
In the field: Gregor Blanco robbed Carlos Gonzalez of extra bases with a great running catch in the top of the eighth. Brandon Crawford scooped a tough hop later in the inning. Brandon Belt's acrobatic tag in the ninth saved Duffy from an error.
Attendance: The Giants announced a crowd of 41,593 human beings who hopefully realize that a Facebook post isn’t enough and that you actually have to call mom.
Up next: The road doesn’t get any easier for Jake Peavy and Matt Cain, as the Blue Jays come to town for a rare visit. Aaron Sanchez (2-1, 2.82) and J.A. Happ (4-0, 2.50) go for Toronto. The final game is a fun matchup between Madison Bumgarner and Marcus Stroman (4-0, 3.60).