SAN FRANCISCO – Scott Kazmir said he was on Cloud 9 and back in the big leagues. The question about his Giants debut is whether it’s a one-game feel-good story or a potential factor in the future.
Kazmir, who has been out of the majors since 2016, gave up just two hits – a homerun and a single from Max Muncy – and one in four innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Oracle Park.
It wasn’t enough to stop the Dodgers from beating the Giants 6-3 behind Walker Buehler (3-0) and even against their rivals in the N.L. West with both teams at 28-18 in front of 13,360 spectators.
Both teams are one game behind the San Diego Padres, who improved to 29-17 with a win over Seattle.
After running a run against the Dodgers on Friday night, the Giants only had one run of seven innings before Buster Posey did a two-part home run against Alex Vesia in his eighth, ninth run of the season.
Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen came into the game in ninth place and pulled the Giants back to make his 11th save.
Kazmir’s comeback began when he threw up with a buddy who rehabilitated on the all-star hiatus in 2019. Up until that point, he said he had spent his time fishing, playing golf, spending time with family, and not going anywhere near a baseball.
The reality that he was going to step back up a hill in the Major League began on Friday night when manager Gabe Kapler – a former teammate from Tampa Bay in 2009 – hinted that a start was likely.
Kazmir didn’t find out for sure until Saturday morning, then arrangements were made to get him from Sacramento to San Francisco.
« It was everything I imagined, » said Kazmir in a video conference after the game. “The adrenaline was there. I was very nervous to begin with. Once I got settled in, I was comfortable and able to throw srikes. Felt good out there. »
Jarlin Garcia came into play in fifth for the Giants after Kazmir dropped 55 places, 38 for strikes. He took the loss but left no one and turned down two. By the age of 37, Kazmir’s Fastball was consistently mixed between 91 and 93, with an alternation between 80 and 81.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – MAY 21: Scott Kazmir makes his comeback after five years in Major League Baseball for the San Francisco Giants against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Oracle Park in San Francisco, California on Saturday, May 22, 2021. (Karl Mondon / Bay Area News Group)
Kazmir’s only mistake was a 1-1 move to Muncy in the first inning. Muncy scored his ninth home run of the season as well as his fourth splash hit as a guest player.
The purpose of the trip was to bring Kazmir back to earth instead of messing him up. The plan was to throw two or three innings, but instead he went four.
« At first I was a little too fine to make sure I hit strikes, just a few quick outs, » said Kazmir. « Then when I give up the home run, it wipes it all away, like, » Hey, let’s go out there and have bad luck. All the nervous energy, all that stuff was gone, just go out there, be a bulldog and attack. »
Kapler stopped saying that Kazmir would get another start or that he would return to Triple-A and further increase his pitch count.
« We’ll talk about it and decide what the best steps are for Kaz, » said Kapler.
Kazmir was 1-0 with 2.84. Average earned run in Triple-A Sacramento in two single-start games. A year ago Kazmir played in Eastern League Baseball for Eastern Reyes del Tigre in Sugar Land, Texas. He has struggled with arm injuries since 2017, most recently for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga in the Dodgers organization.
« It takes a lot for a man to play the game and come back for the love of the game, not financial, » said Dave Roberts, the Dodgers manager since 2016. « He hit a bad pitch … « . but apart from that, he kept us in check. »
Kazmir was 10-6 with the Dodgers in 2016 before his arm problems started. He had also resurrected his career in Oakland once before with the A’s, with whom he was between 15 and 9 years old in 2014, receiving his third pick for the All-Star game.
It is no coincidence that Farhan Zaidi, President of Operations at Giants, was an assistant to G.M. to Billy Beane that season with the A and was Dodgers general manager from 2014 to 2018.
In 12 major league seasons, Kazmir has a record of 108-96 and an earned run average of 4.01. He earned his first two all-star appearances with Tampa Bay and also played for Cleveland, the Los Angeles Angels and Houston.
« It’s not easy to be an established major league pitcher with a long career and a lot of service time, make a ton of money, and then go back to an independent ball to try and get another shot, because you believe in yourself and think of yourself can get out of the top league, ”said Kapler. « Seeing it all come together for him is quite a story. »
– Bühler was the first opposing pitcher to complete seven innings against the Giants this season, defeating Darin Ruf with the first and third runners to end a rally. He had a walk and five strikes.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – MAY 21: Los Angeles Dodgers’ Walker Buehler will take on the San Francisco Giants on Saturday, May 22, 2021 at Oracle Park in San Francisco, Calif. (Karl Mondon / Bay Area News Group)
– Garcia gave up one run in fifth, Chris Tropeano two in seventh, and Jose Alvarez two in eighth to Kazmir. Garcia gave Austin Barnes a home run, his first of the season.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – MAY 21: San Francisco Giants reliever Nick Tropeano will face the Los Angeles Dodgers at Oracle Park in San Francisco, Calif. On Saturday, May 22, 2021 (Karl Mondon / Bay Area News Group )
– Left-handed Sam Selman has been transferred to Sacramento, and outfielder Braden Bishop has been designated for deployment.
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