The San Francisco Giants crushed the Los Angeles Angels behind the season debuts of Jeff Samardzija and Mac Williamson.
Samardzija, who was coming off an injury during Spring Training, pitched five shutout innings for his first start of the season. His first strikeout of the season was against Mike Trout and he ended his day with only two hits allowed and four strikeouts. He did walk four, including two in the fifth inning. He avoided the big hit and left two runners stranded as Justin Upton popped out to keep the game scoreless at the time, and the San Francisco Giants in position to win.
In the top half of that same inning, Williamson started a six run rally with a opposite field home run. After striking out in his first at bat, Williamson launched a line drive home run over the right center field wall.
For a hitter who has retooled his swing, the home run had to feel good to know it’s working.
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It had been working throughout Spring Training and the early part of the regular season in Sacramento to the point where everyone was anticipating Williamson’s call up.
With Hunter Pence heading to the disabled list earlier today, it gave Mac the opportunity for another chance at the big league level.
This early exclamation point to the start of his season will only fan the flames to give Williamson a real shot to become the every day left fielder going forward. When Pence is healthy enough to return, the Giants might have a difficult question on their hands.
Meanwhile, the Giants pitching staff was just as happy to see Samardzija back. With Madison Bumgarner, Mark Melancon and Will Smith all still out with injuries and Johnny Cueto already missing time this year as well, it was a huge boost to see “The Shark” back in the pool.
The Angels have been struggling much like the Giants, as they were recently swept by the Boston Red Sox before this series began. However, after the rough showing earlier in the season in San Diego, any team the Giants can beat in any series is critical as they slowly get healthy.
The Giants, meanwhile, should be able to take the momentum from Samardzija’s strong start and Williamson’s power bat into the rest of the series and beyond.