Long has historic MLB debut for Giants against Rangers originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Sammy Long was averaging 14.7 strikeouts per nine innings in the minor leagues this season, and nobody with the Giants could have expected him to match that in his major league debut. He somehow exceeded expectations.
Long, a 25-year-old from Sacramento, went four-plus innings in his big league debut Wednesday in Arlington and struck out seven of the 14 batters he faced. He allowed one hit and walked one in what was a historic debut for a Giants pitcher.
All seven strikeouts came in his first three MLB relief innings, which tied a franchise record and put him in very select company:
Long entered in the second inning after opener Zack Littell and struck out a pair in his first inning, showing off a 95-mph fastball and a dominant curveball. He threw 11 pitches in the first inning and nine were strikes, with one whiff coming on a fastball and one on a curve.
Long issued a leadoff walk in the third and then struck out three straight, showing a veteran's command of the bottom of the strike zone. He struck out two more to open the fourth inning, extending his streak to five straight before Willie Calhoun flied out.
Long had a 1-2-3 fifth, getting to 66 pitches. He had been around that area in his longest minor league appearances but was sent back out for the sixth with the Giants nursing a 2-0 lead. He gave up a leadoff double -- the run came around to score -- and was pulled.
At that point, the lefty who nearly gave up baseball three years ago, finally took a moment to enjoy his big league debut.