Giants, Samardzija Fall to Yankees 5-2
NEW YORK -- The Giants began their three-city trip in first place. They’ll come home in first place.
There’s your silver lining. Now, about all that gray, ominous stuff in the middle...
Their 5-2 loss to the New York Yankees on Sunday brought a merciful end to a 1-7 trip in which they gave back half their advantage in the division standings. They hit .127 in 71 at-bats with runners in scoring position.
Their only clutch hit Sunday came on an emergency protection swing with the bases loaded in the seventh inning, when Buster Posey tapped a single down the first base line.
And they continue to make mistakes. The rally-killer came on the basepaths this time, when Ramiro Peña grounded out and Mac Williamson was thrown out trying to advance from first to third in the eighth inning.
With the Giants trailing by three runs.
Jeff Samardzija allowed two early home runs — a cheapie and a full-price item — and then appeared to run out of gas in the sixth inning as the Giants (58-40) lost two of three in the Bronx after getting swept in Boston and San Diego.
They entered the day with a four-game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers; when the trip began, they held a 6 ½-game lead and had the best record in the major leagues.
The Giants won’t bring Aroldis Chapman back on the flight to San Francisco, either. Word around the team was that the Yankees had greater momentum for a deal elsewhere.
GM Bobby Evans remains in pursuit of an impact reliever to protect leads. Then again, getting those leads has proven difficult for an offense that is sorely feeling the absence of Hunter Pence, Joe Panik and Matt Duffy.
Yankees starter Nathan Eovaldi threw his power stuff past the Giants’ flagging bats and they couldn’t come back on a day when New York’s top relievers, including Chapman, had the day off.
The Giants rotation just isn’t pitching well enough to win 2-1 games.
amardzija allowed just five home runs over his first 11 starts. As the warm air began to rise, though, so has the ball off the bat. The right-hander has allowed 14 homers over his last nine starts, and four in his two outings on this road trip.
The first one was a cheapie, and might have come on a broken bat. But Carlos Beltran got enough to loft a 96-mph fastball into Yankee Stadium’s short porch in the first inning. Mark Teixeira’s blast in the second inning was a full-price item, though.
Samardzija faced the minimum over the next three innings, and while the Giants offense showed only a faint pulse, he kept them within striking distance to the sixth inning.
Then the right-hander might have simply run out of fuel. The three-run inning began with one of Samardzija’s most avoidable, regrettable and all too frequent issues. He walked No. 9 hitter Aaron Hicks, who advanced to third on Brett Gardner’s single. Hicks scored on a double-play grounder.
With the bases clear again, Samardzija could not snip off the rest of the inning. The Yankees collected four consecutive hits, capped by Didi Gregorius who knocked the right-hander from the game with a ground-rule double that hopped off the track in center field.
Despite a roaring start, the Giants are just 11-9 with Samardzija on the mound and he has a 6.32 ERA over his lat 10 outings.
For more on the Giants, see the Giants Extra blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/Giants . Follow Andrew Baggarly on Twitter at twitter.com/extrabaggs .