Giants Bullpen Coughs Up Game to Cardinals

Bruce Bochy has been through the occasional rough stretch at AT&T Park, but rarely has he been booed. It happened in the ninth inning Saturday night.

Bochy turned to Santiago Casilla with a one-run lead in the ninth and heard it from a sellout crowd. After a stolen base and game-tying single off Casilla, Matt Reynolds entered and gave up a go-ahead sacrifice fly.

The Giants fell 3-2 after leading most of the night. They are now five games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers, and they blew a golden opportunity to go four games up of the Cardinals in the Wild Card race.

In the first inning, Jeff Samardzija briefly flashed back to the pitcher who gave up four homers in St. Louis on June 4. Brandon Moss took him deep the opposite way in an inning filled with loud contact, but Samardzija wouldn’t need long to settle in.

Samardzija cruised into the seventh while regularly hitting 96 mph. He threw a 97 mph two-seamer to strand two in the fourth inning, and popped another 97 to get an inning-ending strikeout in the sixth. Samardzija gave up just five hits and the lone run in his 6 2/3 innings and he drove in his own go-ahead run.

Brandon Belt’s second-inning double brought Hunter Pence screaming home to tie the score. In the fifth, Samardzija came up with two on and no outs and hit a sacrifice fly to right.

Three Giants relievers teamed up to get the lead to the ninth, and things once again fell apart. Sergio Romo got the first out but then gave up a single. It all went downhill from there.

Starting pitching report: Samardzija had his best fastball of the season from start to finish. Of his 104 pitches, 29 came in at 95 mph or above. He twice hit 97.

At the plate: Samardzija’s RBI was his ninth of the season. He had 10 total RBI in his first eight seasons.

Bullpen report: It did not take long for Derek Law to get back into the eighth-inning mix. He got two outs after Javier Lopez got one. Perhaps he should now be in the ninth-inning mix.

Attendance: The Giants sold out their third consecutive game.

Up next: Albert Suarez faces super-talented rookie right-hander Alex Reyes.

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