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Samardzija stifles Bucs as Giant trade winds swirl

©DANIEL GLUSKOTER In what could be his final start in a San Francisco uniform, Jeff Samardzija pitched one of his best games of the season on Wednesday, helping to lead  the Giants to a 2-1 victory over the Pirates at AT&T Park.
©DANIEL GLUSKOTER
In what could be his final start in a San Francisco uniform, Jeff Samardzija pitched one of his finest games of the season on Wednesday, helping to lead the Giants to a 2-1 victory over the Pirates at AT&T Park.

BY RYAN LEONG

The Giants have very little to play for with the second worst record in the majors at 40-63. Only the Phillies have fewer wins and they just beat the Giants in a series back in Philadelphia last month.

The key number for the Orange and Black is now 23. That’s 23 wins to avoid 100 losses just to finish with a record of 63-99. The only team in franchise history to lose 100 games was the 1985 squad.

Back then, their motto was real grass, real sun, and real baseball. The running joke was, “Two out of three isn’t bad, right?”

With the possibility of a major shake-up looming, the first player to be traded was third baseman Eduardo Nunez to the Boston Red Sox for two highly regarded pitching prospects on Tuesday night. Nunez hit a two-run double in the fifth inning and was then seen getting hugs from his teammates and Manager Bruce Bochy in the Giants dugout. He collected his bats and made his way down the stairs towards the clubhouse where he was given more hugs and handshakes.

It prompted media and fans to use the hashtag #hugwatch and the news of the trade overshadowed Madison Bumgarner’s first win of 2017 as the Giants blasted the Pirates 11-3. It has been reported that Giants brass considers only Bumgarner, Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford as untouchable, so the teams roster could have a drastically different appearance the next time they take the field in their home whites at AT&T Park.

Wednesday afternoon the Giants made it back to back wins as Jeff Samardzija (5-11) pitched seven strong innings, giving up just one run on four hits while striking out eight, to help the team finish a 5-5 home stand on a high note.

Speculation is the Giants will soon deal “the Shark” next and there are several teams rumored to be interested in his services. Most notably are the Yankees, Astros, and Cubs, with whom Samardzija made his Major League Debut.

The Giants are headed to Los Angeles for a weekend series against the first place Dodgers and then it’s a “road series” in Oakland to start the annual Bay Bridge series. Matt Moore (3-10, 5.82 ERA) will be opposed by the LA’s Alex Wood (11-1 2.17 ERA) in the opener.

Ryan Leong is a San Francisco native and covers all Bay Area sports teams as a correspondent for ESPN radio and wire services. He is a former sports anchor for KCBS and has reported on over 3,600 live games since 1998.

About Daniel Gluskoter

Profile photo of Daniel Gluskoter
Daniel Gluskoter is the Martinez Tribune's national music and sports editor and a Bay Area photojournalist who's work has been featured in Rolling Stone, Time Magazine and Sports Illustrated. He covered the 2008 Presidential campaign as a correspondent for United Press International and has travelled worldwide covering events ranging from numerous Super Bowls and Olympics to Live Aid and the Grammys.

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