After scoring 30 runs in their previous three games (all victories) in Cincinnati, the G-men got back to Giants baseball at AT&T Park last night, shutting out the Dodgers 2-0 in game one of this three game series.
The Giants scored first for the seventh consecutive game, and have now won four straight. They’ve also won four straight over the Dodgers in games played at AT&T Park this season, and remain on track to sweep Los Angeles here for the second consecutive time. With the win, the Giants are now 21-18 and trail the Dodgers by 3 ½ games for first place in the NL West. The Giants have won 17 of their last 25 (a winning percentage of .680), the second best record in MLB during that stretch.
Tim Hudson pitched 6 ⅓ innings for the win, improving his record to 2-3, 4.01. Huddy had struggled coming into this one, having allowed 9 runs and 21 hits over 12 innings in his previous two starts. With the victory, he also ended a personal, four game consecutive losing streak to the Dodgers, going back to 2011. And although he had allowed eight home runs in his previous five starts, he held the Dodgers (the NL leaders in home runs) homerless, and without a single run scored.
What was the difference for Huddy in this one? “More than anything, he kept the ball down,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. Hudson added, “I had a little better command with it (the sinker), a little better action. But the humble starter added, “Honestly…they were hitting it to our guys.” Bochy added, “Huddy did a nice job. We needed it.” The win represented the 39 year old veteran’s 216th of his career.
The Giants offense was mostly stifled by Dodger starter Carlos Frias (3-1, 2.55). He held the G-men to seven hits and one run, striking out three over six innings. The Giants totaled just eight hits and one earned run for the evening, going 2 for 7 with runners in scoring position, leaving nine runners on base. But on this night, at pitcher-friendly AT&T Park, it was just enough offense, combined with stellar pitching, to gain the victory. Buster Posey drove in what would be the winning run in the third inning with a two-out single that plated Joe Panik from second, after he and Angel Pagan had singled preceding Posey’s at bat. Brandon Belt followed with a walk to load the bases for Hunter Pence, but he struck out swinging to end the threat and the inning.
The Dodger offense was frustrated all evening by Hudson and four relievers, managing just seven hits (only one extra base hit), while going 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position, stranding 11 runners in total. “They do a great job of executing here,” said Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal, who went 0-4 for the night, despite hitting the ball hard. “At the same time, the ball park is a pitcher’s ball park. A lot of balls you hit in the gaps here, like Gonzo’s (first baseman Adrian Gonzalez) today, have different results in other ball parks.” Yep, welcome back to San Francisco Yasmani. While the Dodgers offense has averaged nearly five runs per game in 2015, they’ve scored only six runs total in going 0-4 at AT&T Park this season.
Despite the Giants tough start this season (4-10 after their first 14 games), the G-men are proving that the MLB season is a marathon, not a sprint. “We have a really strong all-around unit,” Pence said. “That’s why in baseball you play 162 games. It’s a matter of sticking with the process, learning each day. At the end of 162, we’ll see. In this game, you never know.”
Game two of this series is slated for tonight and features Tim Lincecum (3-2, 2.43) against Brett Anderson (2-1, 3.50). Lincecum is 10-8 against Los Angeles over his career, and hopes to continue his resurgence this year, as he’s pitching with confidence and having fun again. Look for the torture and fun times to continue.