The Giants needed one.
They got none.
The result? They are in deep Cubbie doo-doo after a 5-2 loss Saturday night at Wrigley Field, needing to sweep three straight games to overtake the Cubs, who took the first two in this best-of-five National League Division Series.
The silver lining? They have left-hander Madison Bumgarner, the world’s greatest postseason pitcher, going for them in Game 3 Monday at AT&T Park. The Cubs will have Jake Arrieta, the world’s greatest pitcher for a good stretch last season.
Jeff Samardzija, the Cub of nearly seven seasons assigned to help the Giants even up this series, failed by lasting only two innings in his first postseason start. Samardzija made fairly good pitches in the first but gave up a leadoff double to Dexter Fowler and an RBI single to Ben Zobrist. In the second, the Cubs peppered him for three runs on four hits, including a leadoff double by Jason Heyward, a two-run single by pitcher Kyle Hendricks and an RBI single by Kris Bryant that glanced off diving right fielder Hunter Pence’s glove.
“Your job is to get outs and pitch deep into the game and get into a rhythm,” Samardzija said. “But it never took place tonight. It wasn’t my night.”
When Gregor Blanco pinch hit for him in the third, Samardzija was done, with an unsightly line going into the books like this: Two innings, six hits, four earned runs, one walk, one strikeout.
“I felt pretty good. I didn’t think I was gripping it too hard or moving too fast,” Samardzija said. “I like to get settled in there into the mid innings. Never got into the rhythm to find that groove.”
“It’s fair to say he was a little bit off tonight,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
“That ball Hendricks hit, he bloops that in, that scores two and now it’s an uphill climb for us. Our guys did a good job scoring two to get back in it but their pen did a good job on us, they were tough.”
This was a tough one for Samardzija to swallow. A White Sox fan growing up but drafted by the Cubs, he came to love the atmosphere around Wrigley. It was electric as he warmed up Saturday.
“Great atmosphere,” he said. “Anywhere in the playoffs is outstanding, especially to be here at Wrigley is something special. The atmosphere in the stadium and the fans … obviously it didn’t go the way I wanted it to.’’
It was an abrupt downer for the light-hitting Giants, who hoped to gain a split of the first two games in Chicago. They had thrived of late with starters combining to go 3-1 with a 0.55 ERA in their previous four games, including Baumgarner’s complete-game shutout in a Wild Card victory against the Mets. Bumgarner owns a 1.94 ERA over 97 1/3 postseason innings and will take a 23-inning postseason scoreless streak into Game 3 Monday. In his last nine postseason games, the ERA is 0.79.
So the Giants have that going for them.
“It’s tough to lose two here,” Bochy said, “but it’s a case that we have down this road before, it’s never easy with us so we’re going to hoping to get one here but now we go home and you keep fighting. That’s all you can do.”