Jeff Samardzija and Mike Foltynewicz have more in common than last names that trip up public address announcers. They have similar stuff, too, and on Monday the Giants found out what it’s been like for opposing hitters to try and face Samardzija this season.
Foltynewicz, a 24-year-old former first-round pick pitched six dominant innings as the Braves handed the Giants a 5-3 loss. Samardzija had his shortest outing as a Giant and tied a season-high by allowing five runs.
The Giants arrived in Atlanta about 12 hours before Monday’s early first pitch, and they looked sleepy at the plate against a guy who was regularly pumping fastballs in the upper 90s. Foltynewicz allowed a Brandon Belt solo homer in the second, but gave up just two other hits and worked around a pair of walks and a hit-by-pitch that knocked Matt Duffy out of the game in the sixth.
Samardzija had won three straight, allowing a single run each time, but the Braves put a three-spot up in the second. With two on and one out, Samardzija intentionally walked light-hitting catcher A.J. Pierzynski to face Foltynewicz. He got a strikeout, but No. 9 hitter Mallex Smith lined a cutter into left a batter later and the ball skipped through the fast outfield. Smith raced into third for a bases-clearing triple. The Braves got two more in the third on a pair of singles and an error by Belt.
The Giants chipped away in the ninth, getting a run before Buster Posey pinch-hit with two outs and two on. He hit a sharp grounder to second that Kelly Johnson booted, extending the game. Kelby Tomlinson came up and grounded out.
Starting pitching report: Monday’s game was just the third in which Samardzija failed to get through six. He was charged with four earned runs after giving up six total in his five previous May starts.
Bullpen report: Chris Stratton made his MLB debut in the bottom of the eighth. He struck out two and hit 94 mph on the gun, showing the type of command that put him back on the radar this spring.
At the plate: Pitching has carried the Giants during this streak, aside from a couple of days at Coors. They entered Monday’s action ranked 11th in the National League in runs in May.
In the field: Belt’s error in the third was his fifth of the season. He made just three errors last year.
Up next: Jake Peavy will try to build off his good start against the Padres last week. He’ll face Matt Wisler, another young Braves right-hander, who is 2-4 with a 3.08 ERA.