After a tough loss last night, the San Francisco Giants battled back once again to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 9-6. The offense stayed hot and Johnny Cueto absorbed a gut punch in the first to go seven strong and win his second game in as many starts.
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It was a classic series between the Giants and Dodgers. Both teams deserved to win all four games, and it is for that very reason that the Giants should be happy.
To grab three out of four to a team that was as hot as the Dodgers were coming in, it has to gain some type of mental edge moving forward in the season. Especially winning a game when a no-hitter is being pitched against you.
Today it was more of the same from the lineup. And Johnny Cueto (2-0) showed why he was signed to a hefty deal this off season by going seven very gutty innings.
After slipping two times in the first inning in which the Dodgers scored five runs before there were even two outs, Cueto could have easily called it a day. But he was able to battle through it and earned his second victory. He had eight strikeouts and gave up only one more run after the first in the 9-6 win.
The lineup had five players with multi-hit games, with the last two opening day starters hitting home runs. Angel Pagan and Brandon Belt had monster games. Pagan was 2-4, with an RBI, scoring twice, and is hitting .320. Belt, who just signed his extension with the team, went 2-3 and had three RBI’s on the day.
There were twelve hits in all and only 4 strikeouts, another important stat as this team needs to put the ball in play to compete. Denard Span, Buster Posey (who hit a rocket out to left), and Matt Duffy also had two hits, and Joe Panik had a two-run double that gave the Giants the lead in the sixth.
The key today was patience. Knowing that you have a team of hitters that can always get you back in the game. And the new starter needed to see that. Not that he will necessarily rely on this type of offense every time out, it still gives him the confidence that he can win any game he starts.
It wasn’t a first inning without a small amount of luck for the Dodgers. There was a bunt single by the catcher (when Cueto slipped trying to get to first), a close tag play at first that was overturned by replay (delaying the game for a few minutes), and a grounder to first that beat the shift (had Belt been playing typical first base, it’s a double-play ball).
But it was all just the foreword to the rest of the novel. The Giants came back immediately in the bottom of the first with a run-scoring two-out single by Belt. The Duffy followed with a single to right to Yasiel Puig. Puig had a great throw to the plate, but Hunter Pence had a better slide around catcher Austin Barnes, and by sticking his arm back, he smacked home plate with his hand. And it was 5-2.
In the third it was Posey who guessed right on the first pitch of the inning and launched a shot to the left field bleachers. Then following a sharp single to right by Pence, Belt hit a line-shot out to center.
After the Dodgers tied it up in the top of the fourth on a Corey Seager RBI single, Pagan hit a two-one pitch out to left-center. Then Panik did his damage in the sixth, and Pence later scored Panik on a sac fly to right.
Santiago Casilla (2) had a clean ninth striking out one to earn his second save.
Due Up: The Giants are off tomorrow and fly in to Colorado to face the Rockies starting on Tuesday.