ANAHEIM (AP) — Jeff Samardzija had just loaded the bases with two outs in the fifth inning of his season debut when San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy went out to the mound, mainly to give his big righty a rest.
“He wasn’t going anywhere, trust me,” Bochy said after the Giants used three home runs, including a towering, three-run shot by Andrew McCutchen in the six-run fifth inning, to beat Shohei Ohtani and the Los Angeles Angels 8-1 Friday night.
“I knew Shark, even if he was out of gas, he wouldn’t have said it. I just wanted to give him a breather,” Bochy said.
Justin Upton drove Samardzija’s next pitch to the warning track in left, where Williamson caught it. Samardzija flinched at first, thinking it was gone, and then smiled as he walked toward the dugout. Bochy smiled and clapped his hands.
“Really, for his first start back, he was pretty sharp with all his pitches,” Bochy said. The Giants had Samardzija on a 75-pitch limit and he finished with 80.
“He was testing us a little bit, but it’s hard to not give him a shot at it there,” Bochy added.
“He said, ‘Well, Shark, there’s a lot of baseball left this year, how do you feel?'” Samardzija recalled. “I told him I felt fine. He said, ‘I figured,’ and he walked off. Made his heart race a little bit there. I love when Boch comes out there because usually you can talk to him a little bit.”
Did Samardzija’s heart race? “It did there the last pitch. Usually it doesn’t,” he said.
Samardzija opened the season on the disabled list with a pectoral strain suffered during spring training. He allowed two hits in five innings, struck out four and walked four.
Mac Williamson hit a two-run homer in his first big league game this season, and Nick Hundley also connected.
The Angels had only five hits, including a homer by Mike Trout, a double by Albert Pujols for his 2,991st career hit and two singles by Ohtani.
Ohtani had the Angels’ first hit off Samardzija, a single to center with two outs in the second. Ohtani had gone 0 for 4 with three strikeouts the night before as the Boston Red Sox completed a sweep. The designated hitter singled again in the ninth.
McCutchen, the designated hitter, drove a 1-2 pitch from Andrew Heaney into the Giants’ bullpen beyond the left-field fence with one out in the fifth to chase the left-hander.
Heaney (0-1) allowed the first five and six of seven batters to reach in the fifth. He allowed Williamson’s homer to right and an RBI single by Austin Jackson.
“I felt good. It just all caught up to me at the end,” Heaney said.
“He just lost his command a little bit, got into some bad counts,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “Those guys didn’t miss some pitches, for sure. Williamson, McCutchen, those guys didn’t miss the fastballs and that was it.”
Hundley hit an opposite-field shot to right in the second, his first. He added an RBI double in the eighth.
Trout homered to left-center off Pierce Johnson in the eighth, his seventh. Two batters later, Pujols drove a ball to the base of the fence in center before being replaced by pinch-runner Jefry Marte.
“It was weird. I think I missed a practice back in like seventh-grade football or something,” said Samardzija, a former Notre Dame wide receiver who was on the DL for the first time in his career.
Scioscia isn’t sure if the seams on big league baseballs are what caused the blister on Ohtani’s right middle finger that forced the Japanese two-way sensation out after just two innings Tuesday night against Boston in his third major league pitching start.
“He worked very hard getting used our baseball starting last winter,” Scioscia said. “Blisters … come and go with pitchers occasionally at some point. Exactly when they crop up with some guys is a mystery. There are probably a lot of things that came into play for Shohei to have his become significant to where it affected some of his pitches. But I don’t know if there’s any one reason that you could pin down right now. He feels much better. We got him out in time last start where it didn’t get any worse and hopefully he’ll be able to make his next start.”
Some pitchers blamed slicker balls for blisters last season.
Scioscia remained noncommittal about when Ohtani’s next start would be, but a six-man rotation would have him Ohtani pitching Monday at Houston.
Giants: Placed OF Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a sprained right thumb and recalled Williamson from Triple-A Sacramento.
Giants: LHP Derek Holland (0-2, 4.60) is scheduled to start Saturday night. He has appeared in more games against the Angels than any other team, going 10-8 with a 5.21 ERA in 28 appearances, including 25 starts.
Angels: RHP Garrett Richards (2-0, 3.60) is scheduled to make his first career start against San Francisco on Saturday night.
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