MILWAUKEE — Of the many reasons the Giants believe Jeff Samardzija can pitch better for them than he has in the past, AT&T Park is near the top of the list. The $90 million acquisition will have to wait a while to feel at home, though.
As the No. 3 starter, Samardzija won’t make a start at AT&T Park until April 22. He’ll bookend the next road trip with starts at Coors Field and Dodger Stadium, and on Wednesday he took the finale at Miller Park. Samardzija, a longtime Cub, has never beaten the Brewers or had any sustained success in Milwaukee, and Wednesday didn’t change the trend.
Samardzija gave up eight hits, including an opposite-field homer to Chris Carter. He walked three and fell behind in counts all day, causing him to mostly scrap an inconsistent slider and his splitter. Samardzija allowed three earned in 5 1/3, and he wasn’t able to keep the Giants from getting a season-opening sweep. He was, however, able to quickly turn the page.
“I know when people see my body of work over the whole season, they’ll get the point,” Samardzija said “And they’ll see what I’m all about.”
Samardzija didn’t have the smashing debut Johnny Cueto had a day earlier, and his next test won’t be any easier. The Rockies might not be very good this season, but they always put together a tough lineup, and they always batter pitchers at home.
“We’ll just wait it out, right?” Samardzija said, smiling. “We’ll pitch (at home) eventually. When it happens, it happens. You just go out there and be a road warrior for now.”
Despite the loss, manager Bruce Bochy felt Samardzija was a bit of a road warrior against the Brewers. He fought his command early, but the game was tied when Samardzija was pulled with two on and one out in the sixth. George Kontos kept it that way with a double play, and Bochy figured his team could pull away. It’s what this lineup is built to do.
“He battled well,” Bochy said. “He was off a little bit, but he found a way to keep us in the game.”
A few mistakes came back to bite the Giants. Buster Posey, feeling fresh, tagged up on a pop-up to left in the first inning and was gunned down on an acrobatic play by third baseman Aaron Hill. Brandon Belt was caught stealing in the fourth, wiping a runner away with Matt Duffy — who had already homered — and Brandon Crawford due up next. The Giants walked the leadoff hitter four times.
Finally, Cory Gearrin crossed up Posey in the seventh, allowing the go-ahead run to get to third. A sacrifice fly ended up giving the Brewers a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Gearrin said Posey called for a sinker, but he blanked for a second and threw a slider. “It was my mistake,” he said. “You make it once and learn from it, and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Belt nearly wiped those moments away when he hit a deep blast to center with a runner on second and two down in the eighth. But in a hitter’s park, the ball held up for an out.
The Giants didn’t let the loss linger long. They had a flight to catch and a home opener against the Dodgers to worry about. Wednesday was disappointing, but they got out of town with two wins.
“I thought we played well,” Bochy said of the series. “We wanted to finish the deal (and get the sweep), but this one got away from us.”