Samardzija's night was ruined early as Oakland amassed five runs and five hits in the second inning. Three of the A's who hit safely during that uprising collected hits when Samardzija was ahead in the count. The inning's first two batters, Danny Valencia and Khris Davis, singled and doubled, respectively, on 0-1 pitches. After Yonder Alonso walked, Samardzija surrendered the hit that bothered him most: Marcus Semien's three-run homer, which came on a 1-2 slider.
As a parting shot, Alonso doubled in the sixth, Samardzija's final inning, on a 1-2 pitch. That led to the sixth and final run Samardzija allowed.
Otherwise, Samardzija (8-5) was smooth. He worked a perfect first inning. Later, he retired 10 consecutive batters after Jed Lowrie's RBI double in the second. Consistency has obviously become an issue for the right-hander, who spun a 2.84 ERA in his first 10 starts but has recorded a 6.89 ERA in his last six outings. He allowed five runs or more in four of his last six starts.
"It's about eliminating those mistakes that come back to haunt you," Samardzija said, speaking in general terms about regaining his effectiveness. "My arm feels good. I just need to get those offspeed pitches in the zone and my two-strike pitches out of the zone."
Giants manager Bruce Bochy took a similar view.
"You saw it tonight. He came out in the first inning and threw the ball great, really commanded the ball well," Bochy said. "Second inning, it got away from him. He lived in the heart of he plate and we paid for it and regrouped. The next three innings he found his game and was back being who he is when he's really good -- hitting his spots, mixing up his pitches. In the sixth, he made some mistakes again. It's like any pitcher. It's about being consistent with your command."
Samardzija insisted that he's healthy -- "I feel great," he said -- and took heart in the lone decent effort he sustained during his downturn, a complete-game, 5-1 triumph June 17 at Tampa.
"It lets you know you're right there," Samardzija said.