Giants turn the page on April by starting May with a win over Clayton Kershaw

May 2, 2017

MLB, San Francisco Giants

Posey pop

By Morris Phillips

No recap of the Giants’ tidy performance at Chavez Ravine could resonate without prefacing the facts pointing to how daunting a challenge the NL West cellar dwellers faced on Monday night:

The Giants just experienced a dreadful April, one of the three worst season opening months since their move to the west coast over 65 years ago.  Under those humbling circumstances the last guy the Giants wanted to see was the forever emboldened Clayton Kershaw.  But surprise, Monday belonged to the Giants, and not to the guy that had 19 victories in his career against them, and had seen the Dodgers beat the Giants seven of the last eight times the two clubs met with Kershaw starting.

Johnny Cueto pitched seven strong innings, throwing 30 pitches in a tense, seventh inning in which the Dodgers threatened to plate the tying run.  And the Giants got home runs from Hunter Pence and Buster Posey off Kershaw, and held on to win, 4-3.

If the Giants needed an off night by the Dodgers’ ace to find the victory column, they didn’t exactly get it.  Kershaw worked through six innings, allowing eight hits, but would have survived had it not been for the offerings to Pence and Posey that left the yard.  In the first, Pence took advantage of a hanging curve on a two-run blast.  In the third, Posey connected on an ineffective slider that neatly cleared the left field wall down the line.

“I wasn’t great, but they had something to do with it as well,” Kershaw said.

In the fifth, Christian Arroyo singled home Gorkys Hernandez to put the Giants up 4-2.  Arroyo managed a pair of hits, after he received a nasty introduction to Kershaw in the second, when he struck out on a slider in the dirt.  Arroyo also drew a walk hitting in the two hole, seeing 27 pitches in all, a nice development for a 21-year old with less than 10 big league games under his belt, and none as challenging as this one.

With the win, the Giants remain in last place in the NL West, 6 1/2 games behind the division-leading Rockies.   But the victory reversed an ugly pattern of failures on the road.  The Giants won for only the fourth time in 13 road contests thus far this season.

Cueto retired 13 consecutive batters after allowing a single to Kershaw in the third.  In the seventh, the first two Dodgers to bat reached.  But Cueto escaped, retiring Andrew Toles with two runners aboard and a run in, to preserve the lead.

Lefty reliever Steven Okert retired the next five Los Angeles hitters, leaving Derek Law to strike out Yasiel Puig for the game’s final out.  After blowing a save opportunity on Sunday against the Padres, closer Mark Melancon was bypassed for Okert and Law.

The Giants hope to make it two straight with Matt Moore taking the ball on Tuesday.  The Dodgers will counter with Alex Wood, who threw six scoreless innings at AT&T Park last week, only to get a no decision when the Giants rallied late for a 4-3 win.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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