Surkamp: 'I was just excited to get back out there'
Eric Surkamp's post-Tommy John surgery debut ended after 2.2 innings and seven Reds runs. (AP)
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants changed into gray uniforms and acted the road team for Game 2 of their doubleheader on Tuesday.
The Reds did their best to be helpful in that regard. They pantsed the Giants in Game 1.
Eric Surkamp made his first big league appearance since 2011, and the Reds treated him like every other member of the Giants rotation: They gave him a royal spanking, chased him in the third inning and took a 9-3 victory under a sheet-white, afternoon sky at AT&T Park.
Devin Mesoraco hit a three-run home run in the second inning and Joey Votto added a solo shot off Surkamp, who graduated from Cincinnati’s Moeller High School – the same halls that produced Ken Griffey Jr.
The Giants offense remained shoved in a locker while managing just six hits.
Starting pitching report
Surkamp graduated from the Mike Kickham school of pitching.
Just as Kickham did in all three of his starts, Surkamp had a quick, clean and promising first inning. And then …
The rest was all fan blades and pinky fingers.
Jay Bruce had a priceless look of disgust on his face after his 420-foot moon shot bounced off the warning track for a one-out double. Soon enough, there would be disgust enough for all.
Todd Frazier’s blooper glanced off second baseman Marco Scutaro’s glove in shallow right field, although Hunter Pence was just as culpable for not calling him off. Then Zack Cozart hit a ground ball that shortstop Brandon Crawford might have stopped if he had made a diving attempt to his right. But he did not leave his feet, perhaps hoping he could still start a double play. If so, it was a miscalculation. The ball trickled into left field for an RBI single.
Then Mesoraco turned around a hanging slider, and with the conditions mostly still, it carried into the left field bleachers. (The ball does carry much better in the afternoon, when teams normally take batting practice before a night game. And that’s exactly what the Reds took.)
Just like that, it was 4-0.
Regardless, the Giants needed Surkamp to settle down and chart his way into at least the middle innings. He did not. He faced seven batters in the third inning and gave up five hits while hitting a batter. And that was it.
With Surkamp making his first big league appearance since Tommy John surgery last year, Giants manager Bruce Bochy wasn’t going to leave him out in the figurative rain to catch a cold.
Surkamp was charged with seven runs, all earned, on nine hits in 2 2/3 innings. Between Surkamp and Tim Lincecum, the Reds have tagged Giants starting pitchers for 15 runs on 18 hits (including five home runs) in just 6 1/3 innings.
The Giants had purchased Yusmeiro Petit’s contract earlier Tuesday because they were concerned about covering innings behind Surkamp and Barry Zito. (So concerned, in fact, that they designated minor leaguer Hunter Strickland for assignment to clear a 40-man roster space.)
Their concerns were warranted. They put hammer to emergency glass in the third inning of Game 1.
Someday, Petit might be known as the Guillermo Mota of his time – and that’s not meant as a knock against him.
Mota was at his most valuable when the Giants needed to soak up quick outs, and Petit saved the bullpen for Game 2 by holding the Reds to two runs over his 5 1/3 innings. He stranded both of Surkamp’s runners, too.
At the plate
The first inning of a doubleheader is not a time for buzzard’s luck.
The Giants were on the verge of a big inning against the Reds’ Tony Cingrani after Andres Torres walked, Marco Scutaro singled to put runners at the corners and Buster Posey walloped a pitch to the left side.
But it was a line drive right at Frazier, the third baseman. Pablo Sandoval hit a sacrifice fly and Hunter Pence lined out to end the inning.
The Giants entered with a 29-16 record when they score first, but it held no good omen for them this time. Cingrani gave up just one more run before walking off the mound in the seventh inning.
The Giants only received one extra-base hit, and that was from Guillermo Quiroz when he doubled in the ninth. Before that little rally, the Giants had collected just five hits in the first eight innings -- all singles.
They’re averaging 2.0 runs in five games since the All-Star break.
No errors on the scoreboard.
Sometimes, the scoreboard doesn’t tell the whole story.
Left fielder Jeff Francoeur earned his first outfield assist as a Giant, though, when he threw out Frazier trying to stretch a single in the third. That’s how Surkamp recorded one of his two outs in the inning.
The Giants won’t announce the attendance until Game 2 for the single-admission doubleheader. Discounted tickets were still available early in the day, but the club will find some way to call it a sellout to keep their streak alive. (A thought: can you call it a late-arriving crowd when the original tickets called for a 7:15 p.m. first pitch?)
Don’t go anywhere, folks! It’s Barry Zito and Greg Reynolds in Game 2. If you want to feel good about something, the Rockies could have drafted Tim Lincecum eight picks ahead of the Giants back in 2006. They took Reynolds instead.