BY RYAN LEONG
As good as the Giants home stand was, it wouldn’t be remembered as great unless they could find a way to knock out Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. The Giants had their rotation set up with their current ace on the mound as Johnny Cueto was on the hill in search of his fifth win. But it wasn’t to be as the boys in blue beat the orange and black by the score of 6-1.
Kershaw (W,7-2) was his usual dominating self as he pitched seven shutout innings, giving up only three hits, and striking out five to pick up the win as the Dodgers ended a three game losing streak and the Giants five game winning streak.
When asked if he got any added satisfaction of being the stopper to end the losing streak Kershaw replied, “You know it doesn’t change my mindset as far as starting. I feel like we need to win every time, but I guess when it’s all said and done it definitely feels good to win and after three (losses) in a row maybe it feels a little bit better for sure.”
On the other side, it was a mediocre outing for Cueto (L,4-3) who lasted only six frames, allowing eight hits and five runs, but he did fan six batters.
The Dodgers got on the board with a two-run double from catcher Yasmani Grandal in the first inning. Two innings later, Cueto uncorked a wild-pitch allowing Chase Utley to score from third. Yasiel Puig hit a two-run single in the 6th, and rookie Cody Bellinger doubled in Corey Seager in the 7th to finish the Dodgers scoring.
“I think what really set him back today was a couple of two strike two-run hits,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Cueto’s outing. “And then it happened to him again (with Puig) he gave up a base hit there to knock in a couple of runs. It’s a fine line between winning and losing and they get the key hits. You’re a pitch away from getting out of the inning a couple of times and it didn’t happen. But the bats were quiet. Kershaw was his usual good self and we just couldn’t muster any offense today.”
The Giants did nothing until the 9th inning. They avoided being shut out thanks to Eduardo Nunez who took former teammate Sergio Romo deep to left for his first home run of 2017.
Afterwards in the San Francisco clubhouse, the talk was about a near benches clearing incident between Cueto and Grandal in the third inning after Cueto threw up and in after Grandal’s two-run double in the first.
“It was just the game within the game,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “With guys on second base he thought we were relaying signs and so he obviously let us know and Corey early on about that. He let Yasmani know and…we took care of it. I think it’s done and Cueto and Yasmani exchanged ‘pleasantries’ the next time Johnny came to the plate so I think it’s all cleaned up.”
Giants catcher Buster Posey, batting .429 (9-for-21) over the last seven home games with five runs, two homers and three RBI’s, offered his thoughts on the recent win streak and the 5-2 homestand.
“Well it was a big win in New York and then we’re able to win that marathon game against the Reds. I think those two games were confidence boosters for us. After that it’s just playing solid baseball and getting some timely hitting and pitching and playing defense well.”
The Giants now go on the road for three in St. Louis this weekend before heading to Wrigley for a four game series against the World Series Champion Chicago Cubs.
Ryan Leong is a San Francisco native and covers all Bay Area sports teams as a correspondent for ESPN radio and wire services. He is a former sports anchor for KCBS and has reported on over 3,600 live games since 1998.