Vin Scully opened the game at AT&T Park today.
It’s time for @Dodgers and Giants baseball!
— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) April 8, 2018
The best remedy for a 14-inning loss and a bout of food poisoning that hit the team, is a quick clean Clayton Kershaw shutout. Well, it wasn’t quick or a shutout, but the Dodgers will gladly take the 2-1 victory. The offense was still stagnant, but Kershaw was masterful, the defense was impressive, and Kenley Jansen looked a lot better. The two Dodger runs of the game came from a Matt Kemp RBI single and a go-ahead pinch-hit Kyle Farmer double in the tenth. That was all Kershaw and the Dodgers needed to salvage a win at AT&T Park, their first road win of the year.
The offense didn’t give Kersh much run support, but the defense backed him up.
Austin Barnes made his first start of the season at second base.
Barnesy flashing the leather! #Dodgers pic.twitter.com/PE0lvtYEyF
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) April 8, 2018
The offense was tested in the second with the bases loaded. Yasmani Grandal and Kemp roped consecutive singles, and Logan Forsythe drew a walk. Barnes, who flashed some leather at second base in the top of the frame, was unable to cash in anything when he swung at the first pitch he saw and grounded into the dreaded inning-ending double play. Once again, the Dodgers’ offense wasn’t able to come through with a clutch hit with runners in scoring position.
Kershaw was tested a few times, especially by Evan Longoria, but he continued his historic dominance at AT&T Park. He pitched around a one-out Longoria double in the bottom of the second and another Longoria double in the seventh.
The defensive gems were almost as numerous as the line drives, and Kershaw is good at everything.
Chris Taylor made an all-out great diving catch in center field on a Kelby Tomlinson liner in the third.
Most of us have been hoping that Kemp can actually do something before he finds himself in jeopardy of being cut, and that’s what he did on Sunday afternoon. His second base hit of the day, a RBI single in the fourth, drove in Puig. The Dodgers notched their first run scored against Blach on the year, but Forsythe halted the mini-rally thereafter with yet another double play.
There’s your run, Kersh.
The Giants only found one hit off Kershaw through the first five innings, but Gorkys Hernandez and Austin Jackson strung two singles together in the sixth. Puig, who’s yearning for that Gold Glove this year, doubled up Hernandez at second after snagging pesky Joe Panik‘s line drive to right field.
Not a good idea to hit to @YasielPuig. #Dodgers pic.twitter.com/OrVL6ETSi2
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) April 8, 2018
The Dodgers looked for insurance runs off the Giants’ bullpen, but Cory Gearrin only allowed a two-out single and a stolen base (2) to pinch-hitter Chase Utley. Taylor was picked off second by Josh Osich in the eighth, erasing another opportunity. That would prove to be important, because Puig singled with two outs after.
The Giants’ devil magic began to brew in the bottom of the eighth. Hunter Pence connected with a Kershaw curve for a leadoff single, and Tomlinson’s perfectly placed bunt gave the Giants two on and nobody out.
That would be it for Kershaw who went seven innings, allowing one run on six hits with six strikeouts and no walks on 92 pitches (59 strikes). Bruce Bochy brought up Buster Posey to pinch-hit against JT Chargois, and well, Posey gonna Posey. The revered catcher hit a single to the opposite field off Chargois’ fastball to tie it up 1-1. In three starts, Kershaw has had two runs of support. That’s not going to work.
Hunter Strickland and Josh Fields both pitched a scoreless inning in the ninth, and for the second game in a row, they headed to extra innings.
Bellinger, who was still not feeling 100% after the food poisoning, smacked a leadoff double against Pierce Johnson in the tenth. Bochy issues an intentional walk to Corey Seager to take his chance with Puig. He flies out on the first pitch, and Kyle Farmer came up with the chance to be a hero again.
Finally someone came through. Farmer’s pinch-hit RBI double over Andrew McCutchen‘s head in right field gave the Dodgers a 2-1 lead.
Kenley got another opportunity to change the narrative in the bottom of the tenth. He struck out Pablo Sandoval easily, but Pence found a hole on the left side of the infield with a weak single. He was battling his mechanics, but he managed to strike out Brandon Crawford on a 3-2 count. Overall, a much better outing from Jansen who got up to 94-mph on the gun. Brandon Belt struck out, giving Jansen his first save of 2018 and the Dodgers’ first win on the road for the year.
I know this is a Dodgers site, but Shohei Ohtani was also doing things at the same time as Kershaw.
The Dodgers are now (3-6) on the season (2-2 at home and 1-4 on the road). They have another off-day Monday, then they’ll host the Oakland Athletics for a two-game interleague series opening Tuesday with first pitch at 7:10 PM PST. Hyun-Jin Ryu ( 7.36 ERA/6.08 FIP/ 2.727 WHIP) will start in place of Alex Wood who suffered food poisoning in ‘Frisco. He’ll take on fellow left-hander Sean Manaea (1.15 ERA/2.88 FIP/0.511 WHIP). The Dodgers have never faced Manaea, so expect a shutout.