Samardzija, Giants shut down Padres

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[September 23, 2016]  SAN DIEGO -- Jeff Samardzija was keen from the get-go, and Sergio Romo was good enough on shut-down.

The pair helped the San Francisco Giants, who scored twice in the eighth inning, beat the San Diego Padres 2-1 Thursday night.

San Francisco (81-72) kept pace with the New York Mets (81-72) for the two National League wild-card spots. They both moved a half-game ahead of the idle St. Louis Cardinals (80-72).

Samardzija (12-10) didn't have many stressful moments while throwing seven scoreless innings. He surrendered four hits and no walks while tying a season high with nine strikeouts.

"He is really throwing the ball well right now, and he is a horse that you can ride," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He gave us what we needed."

Samardzija improved to 6-2 lifetime against the Padres.

"I just tried to hang in the game long enough, and we squeaked some through in the eighth," he said.

Samardzija had command of his fastball and a sinker that was effective off the plate.

"I'm going to throw my fastball in the zone and live and die by it," he said. "If you got it going where you want it, you are going to have a good day."

Angel Pagan and Hunter Pence drove in San Francisco's runs.

Romo pitched the ninth for his second save in two chances. Ryan Schimpf had a one-out double, but two Padres called up from the minors on Wednesday stranded him. Hunter Renfroe popped out, and Carlos Asuaje grounded out to end it.

"Sergio made pitches," Bochy said of his former closer who is trying to regain the role.

Alex Dickerson's pinch-hit homer in the bottom of the eighth inning off Derek Law pulled the Padres to within 2-1.

The Giants got a break in the game-turning top of the eighth when Renfroe had Joe Panik's drive in the right-center gap glance off his glove. Panik collected a ground-rule double as he snapped a 0-for-24 skid.

Pinch hitter Kelby Tomlinson singled Panik to third, and Panik scored when Pagan parachuted a single in short right field. Renfroe's throw home was surprisingly cut off by first baseman Wil Myers.

"Since there was no other play there, Wil probably wants to let that ball go," manager Andy Green said. "I don't know how far up the line it was going to be ... but I thought it was going to be close enough to an interesting play at the plate."

Pence followed with an RBI double.

"We got a break on Angel's ball that it stayed fair, and Pence, there is nothing like getting some insurance because we needed it," Bochy said.

Padres starter Christian Friedrich (5-11) was solid, especially considering he has won only once since June 29. He worked seven-plus innings and was charged with two runs and three hits. He struck out six and walked three.

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Giants starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija (29) pitches during the sixth inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

"We just couldn't figure him out," Bochy said.

Friedrich said of his late-season work, "It's nice to keep pitching. It just helps for me building up as a starter for next year."

The Padres' lineup was flooded with youth. Four San Diego starters were summoned Wednesday from the Triple-A El Paso squad that won the Pacific Coast League title. Myers was the lone position player Thursday who was in San Diego's Opening Day lineup.

"When they call guys up, it's usually because they can hit a heater," Samardzija said. "You can use that to your advantage as long as you have a good one and you are putting it where you want it and get ahead in the count."

San Diego had an opportunity in the sixth when Samardzija's throwing error on a dribbler up the third base line allowed Friedrich to reach safely.

"You don't want to be a goat and lose the game because you threw it away," Samardzija said.

Travis Jankowski followed with a single, putting two Padres aboard for the first time.

Samardzija hunkered down, getting Manuel Margot to pop up and fanning Myers and Schimpf to squash the rally.

Renfroe got his first major league hit in the second before Samardzija retired eight in a row.

Renfroe had another single to open the fifth, but didn't advance past first. Asuaje flied out preceding strikeouts by Hedges and Luis Sardinas.

NOTES: Giants RHP Johnny Cueto (groin) will try to throw Friday. Cueto was hurt Tuesday against the Dodgers, and there is still a chance he could start Sunday in San Diego. ... San Francisco SS Brandon Crawford (finger) has resumed throwing, but there is no timetable for his return. ... Padres RHP Colin Rea (elbow) is playing catch as he tries to avoid Tommy John surgery. ... San Diego INF Yangervis Solarte will return soon after attending the funeral for his wife, Yuliette, 31, in Miami.

[ 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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