Through 11 starts, Jeff Samardzija had just about completely wiped out the memories of the 29 homers he allowed in a rough 2015 season. In the middle innings at Busch Stadium on Saturday night that issue came flooding back, handing Samardzija his worst outing as a Giant.
From the first batter of the fifth through the second batter of the sixth, four of nine Cardinals to come to the plate hit homers. The barrage erased a 4-0 Giants lead and tagged Samardzija, who had allowed just five homers until Saturday, his second straight loss. The Giants went down quietly after falling behind, losing 7-4 on a night that started with plenty of promise.
The Giants scored two batters into the game when Joe Panik’s double brought Denard Span around from first. The next two runs came purely because of Brandon Crawford’s hustle. Crawford hit what looked to be a single to the right-center gap but beat the throw to second. He scored three batters later on Samardzija’s single to right. In the fourth, Crawford hit a liner to the left-center gap and sped into third, surprising the Cardinals outfielders. He scored standing up on Gregor Blanco’s fly to left.
A fourth run was tacked on in the fifth, but the Cardinals got it back in the bottom of the inning when Brandon Moss blasted an elevated cutter deep to right. The next three runs came in a hurry. Jeremy Hazelbaker singled and Matt Carpenter doubled off the first base bag. On a 3-0 count, Samardzija threw rookie Aledmys Diaz a 96 mph fastball. The impressive rookie crushed it off the pole in left, tying the game.
Stephen Piscotty opened the sixth by hitting a 95-mph pitch deep to right. Samardzija tried to change speeds and he threw a pair of splitters to Matt Adams. The second one hung badly and Adams smoked it, ending Samardzija’s day.
Starting pitching report: The four-homer game was just the second of Samardzija’s career. He also did it in 2013 while pitching for the Cubs. His past two starts have been his two shortest of the season, with 10 earned runs going on the ledger in 10 innings.
Bullpen report: Derek Law pitched two innings for the second time in his last three appearances.
At the plate: Samardzija’s single gave Giants pitchers 20 RBI, the most in the majors. They drove in 22 runs all of last season.
In the field: Matt Duffy made one of his best plays as a big leaguer, chasing a pop-up down in foul territory and making a sliding catch up against the wall. If the Rockies ever trade their third baseman, the Giants will have two Gold Glove winners on the left side of the infield.
Attendance: The Cardinals announced a crowd of 45,453 human beings who know what it’s like to be a Thunder fan.
Up next: The first of two straight Sunday night assignments for Jake Peavy. He’ll face Carlos Martinez (5-5, 3.69).