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07/08/09 10:04 PM ET
Sadowski solid, but Giants blanked
Rookie gives up first runs but still impresses despite loss
By Chris Haft / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- Even in defeat, Ryan Sadowski continued to impress observers. The right-hander's perfection dissolved in Wednesday's 7-0 loss to the Florida Marlins. In avoiding a three-game series sweep, Florida handed Sadowski his first defeat and snapped his career-opening scoreless innings streak at 16. But the Marlins did nothing to harm Sadowski's status in the rotation. He yielded three runs, two earned, and five hits while lasting two batters into the sixth inning. And though he couldn't locate his pitches as well as he would have liked, he kept the Giants in the game. In fact, had the Giants approached their prodigious output for Sadowski in his previous two starts -- an average of 10 runs a game -- he probably would have garnered another victory. Instead, Marlins right-hander Chris Volstad (6-8) pitched his first career shutout, permitting San Francisco just five singles while allowing one runner to reach scoring position. That, of course, was out of Sadowski's control. "You get into the sixth inning and you've given up two runs, you've given your team a chance," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. Sadowski impressed Bochy even under duress. The Marlins had runners on second and third with one out in the fourth inning. Sadowski responded by retiring Cody Ross on a called third strike that looked like something Greg Maddux would throw -- an 0-2 delivery that bordered the strike zone at best but still sold the umpire. John Baker followed with a ground-ball single to left field, which Bochy categorized as a seeing-eye hit. Jorge Cantu scored on the play, but Randy Winn threw out Jeremy Hermida at home. Though Sadowski surrendered another run in the fifth, he stranded a pair of Marlins. "He has great poise out there," Bochy said. "... He keeps his focus. He doesn't get rattled." Third baseman Pablo Sandoval's throwing error opened Florida's sixth, making the run that scored that inning off Sadowski unearned. Sadowski disappeared after hitting the next batter, Ross. That awry pitch, combined with the four walks he issued, reflected Sadowski's flaws on this sunny afternoon. Asked if the fifth-inning walk he dealt Volstad reflected a lapse in concentration, Sadowski replied, "No. It's [a matter of] struggling with your command all day. I'm a guy who works down in the zone, and it's a very fine line to get the ball right at the knees and then to miss down at the shins. And I was doing it all day long." Nevertheless, Sadowski duly impressed the Marlins. "Watching him and playing against him today, the things we said on the bench were, 'This is a guy who knows how to pitch,'" Baker said. "He's a guy who I think is going to have a long career because [he's] not max effort. He doesn't overthrow anything. ... We don't look forward to facing him [again], I'll tell you that." "I was really impressed with his sinkerball," Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "The guys were coming back [to the dugout] saying he was diving pretty good." The pitching matchup was an intriguing one for Marlins fans, since both starters hailed from south Florida. "I guess Volstad's got bragging rights until next year," Gonzalez jokingly said. Sadowski would be thrilled if he experiences next year in the Majors. Asked about his stretch of scoreless innings, the longest by a Giants rookie since Al Worthington opened with 19 consecutive shutout innings in 1953, Sadowski delivered a refreshing and realistic reply. "It's actually kind of more of an accomplishment to give [runs] up," he said, implying that this is what befalls any pitcher with any longevity. "I hope I get the opportunity to give up a lot of these."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.