Ryan Yarbrough knows a pitcher cannot walk a leadoff hitter. Especially the first batter he faces.
After the Tampa Bay Rays took a 3-2 lead in the top of the fifth inning against the San Francisco Giants on a Ji-Man Choi RBI single, Yarbrough, who started the inning after two innings each from opener Ryne Stanek and Jalen Beeks, walked leadoff hitter Joe Panik.
Yarbrough did not get his first out of the inning until after four runs had scored, the big blow a two-run home run by Brandon Belt, giving the Giants a 6-3 lead in a 6-4 Giants victory.
One story line going into the game was Giants starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija and comments he made in February surrounding the Rays' plan to have bullpen days, and criticizing Rays' players for accepting the team plan.
While no one on the Rays admitted that Samardzija's comments served as motivation, it did look that way when the Rays jumped on Samardzija for a quick first-inning run, as Choi doubled home Tommy Pham, who had walked with one out.
Samardzija settled down after a shaky first, retiring nine in a row after Choi's double.
Beeks relieved Stanek in the third and promptly gave away the Rays' slim lead after giving up a leadoff bunt single to Kevin Pillar, who then advanced to third on a stolen base and throwing error by Rays' catcher Mike Zunino. After walking Joe Panik, Beeks gave up a sacrifice fly to Steven Duggar. And Belt drove in Duggar, who advanced to second on the sac fly, with a single.
The Rays added a run in the top of the sixth, as Zunino singled home Kevin Kiermaier, who had walked and stole second.
Yarbrough took the loss and is now 1-1.
Samardzija, who lasted four and two-thirds innings, said in February that the Rays' idea to have bullpen days was a "load of crap.
“Where did the pride go from the players’ standpoint?” Samardzija told the San Francisco Chronicle. “Where were the guys in Tampa Bay saying, ‘No, no, no, I’m good enough to go seven innings and get all these outs. You don’t need to do this.’ Everybody’s just accepting what they’re told.’’
Today, at least, Samardzija had the last laugh.
*Evan Longoria went 0-for-4 and is now 0-for-9 against his former team.
*The rubber match takes place Sunday, first pitch at 4:05 p.m. ET.
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