| License Photo
MIAMI — With 13 national titles, a record seven Heisman Trophy winners and 97 consensus All-Americans, Notre Dame is known for football.
On Wednesday afternoon at Marlins Park, two former Notre Dame baseball players – Jeff Samardzija and David Phelps – battled on the mound.
Samardzija won the pitching duel as the San Francisco Giants posted a 1-0 victory over the Miami Marlins.
“That was crazy, right?” Samardzija said. “Notre Dame doesn’t have too many guys playing in the big leagues. It’s not really a baseball school.”
Samardzija came out on top in part because of red-hot Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford, who knocked in the game’s only run with a fourth-inning homer. He pulled a 3-2 pitch from Phelps and barely got the ball over the fence in right field for his 11th homer of the season.
Santiago Casilla, San Francisco’s fourth relief pitcher, earned his 26th save after working around a two-out, ninth-inning double by Ichiro Suzuki. Casilla struck out J.T. Realmuto on three pitches to end the game as the bullpen combined for 3 1/3 innings of two-hit ball.
Samardzija (10-8) snapped a three-game losing streak, pitching 5 2/3 scoreless innings. He allowed three hits – all singles – and three walks while striking out three.
Phelps, who teamed with Samardzija in 2006 to lead Notre Dame to a Big East championship, fell to 5-6 despite allowing just the one run in five innings.
“Whoever said solo home runs don’t beat you is a liar,” Phelps said. “I was telling myself not to walk (Crawford). I threw it down the middle of the plate, and he timed it up.”
Crawford went 9-for-16 in the series, including his seven-hit performance on Monday, when he became just the sixth major-leaguer to get that many hits in one game.
“I don’t think it’s a surprise he had a good series,” Phelps said. “He’s an All-Star.”
Indeed, Crawford made his first All-Star Game last year, when he also won a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger award.
“He had a great series,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Crawford. “We needed a shot in the arm, and he gave it to us.”
The Giants (65-49) took two out of three games from the Marlins (60-54) to win their first series since the All-Star Game. Entering this week, they had gone 0-6-1 in series.
But as thrilled as the Giants were to escape with the win is as angry as the Marlins were to lose, and the frustrations were evident in the sixth inning.
Marlins hitting coach Barry Bonds – an ex-Giants star – was ejected in that inning by plate umpire Corey Blaser. Bonds argued after Marlins pinch-hitter Chris Johnson struck out looking on a pitch that was shown by TV replays to be outside the strike zone.
“(Bonds) didn’t think it was a strike, and I didn’t either,” Johnson said. “That’s baseball. Human error is part of the game.”
Johnson’s strikeout got Giants reliever Will Smith out of a two-on, two-out jam, preserving a 1-0 lead.
Miami closed the series with no runs in its final 17 innings and just two in 25 frames. The Marlins have been shut out five times since the All-Star break.
The Giants, of course, credited their pitching instead of faulting Miami’s offense.
“With that one-run lead, I was trying to protect it,” Samardzija said. “You have to tip your hat to our bullpen – to go 3 1/3 innings and hold them at 1-0 – they should get the win.”
NOTES: Marlins RF Giancarlo Stanton (sore hip) was not in the starting lineup, although he went 0-for-1 as a pinch-hitter. … Giants C Buster Posey returned to the lineup after injuring a finger while sliding on Monday. He went 1-for-4. … Giants LHP Josh Osich (strained left forearm) had his first rehab assignment on Tuesday at Double-A Richmond, getting just one out while allowing three walks and a run. … 1B Xavier Scruggs, who hit .283 with nine homers and 20 RBIs in 27 games at Triple-A New Orleans, was named Miami’s Minor League Hitter of the Month. … After a day off on Thursday, the Marlins play host to the Chicago White Sox for three games this weekend. … The Giants start a 10-game homestand on Friday, beginning with three against the Baltimore Orioles.