SAN FRANCISCO — As a group, the Giants have avoided their traditional June Swoon. In his first summer here, Jeff Samardzija has not.
Samardzija gave up six runs for the third time in six June starts as the Giants fell 8-3 in the first of four games this week against the A’s. Samardzija’s counterpart, rookie Daniel Mengden, was sharp while pitching into the eighth. Mengden didn’t leave Samardzija much room for error, and this one was all but over when Marcus Semien’s homer landed in the seats during a big second inning.
The five-run frame started with a single to right and a double to the gap that was absolutely smoked. After Samardzija walked Yonder Alonso, he floated a slider across the heart of the plate and Semien crushed it. The three-run shot was the ninth homer allowed by Samardzija in June. With two outs, Samardzija gave up another single-double combo to bring another run in.
On the other side, Mengden was dominant in his fourth career start. The 23-year-old with the high socks, Rollie Fingers mustache and double-pump delivery didn’t allow a Giant to reach base until the fifth. Gregor Blanco came closest, lining a shot back up the middle that Mengden stabbed. He flipped the ball over his head as he jogged off the field, an amused look on his face.
Angel Pagan singled with one out in the fifth and Blanco drew a walk, but Ramiro Pena and Conor Gillaspie couldn’t keep the rally going.
The Giants loaded the bases with no outs in the eighth but the white flag had long since gone up. Chris Stratton hit for himself and bounced into a double play.
Starting pitching report: Just about every one of the eight hits Samardzija gave up was scalded. After allowing 20 total runs in his first 10 starts, Samardzija has been hit with 26 over his past six starts.
Bullpen report: Stratton replaced Samardzija and went the rest of the way, allowing two runs in three innings.
At the plate: Hey, at least Stratton can always say he got a big league at-bat.
In the field: Alonso’s liner in the third was hit so hard that it knocked Ramiro Pena down as he caught it.
Attendance: The Giants announced a crowd of 41,442 human beings. None of the fans in the lower deck appeared to be wearing that awful Giants-A’s split hat. So there was that.
Up next: Albert Suarez (3-1, 3.68) faces young Kendall Graveman (3-6, 4.68).