Panik’s homer in 9th lifts Giants to 1-0 win over Dodgers
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Homering off All-Stars Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen in consecutive games isn’t something Joe Panik expects to do.
Thanks to another solid swing from the second baseman, the San Francisco Giants beat the error-prone Los Angeles Dodgers 1-0 on Friday night.
“I’ve never seen that in all my years, a guy do that in back-to-back games, especially with the two guys pitching,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “It is a pretty amazing feat for him, for anybody.”
The Giants won by an identical score Thursday on Panik’s drive off Kershaw, making them the first team to win the first two games of the season 1-0 since the 1943 Cincinnati Reds.
“To do some damage against those guys is a good feeling,” Panik said. “Coming into the series, we knew not a lot of runs would be scored. They have a very good staff and we have a very good staff.”
This time, Panik went deep to the right field pavilion leading off the ninth against Jansen (0-1), making Bochy the first visiting manager with 100 wins at Dodger Stadium.
“It don’t matter, it’s a long season, sometimes it’s going to happen,” Jansen said. “I’m not frustrated at all. Keep focused, we all have that goal we want to accomplish and nobody say it’s going to be easy.”
The NL champion Dodgers opened the season with two shutout losses for the first time since 1968.
“I’m sure everybody’s freaking out,” starter Alex Wood said. “We have a great ballclub and we have to keep big picture in mind.”
San Francisco’s Johnny Cueto retired his first 18 batters before Chris Taylor hit a leadoff single in the seventh.
“I wasn’t even thinking about that,” Cueto said through an interpreter. “My concern was to just go up there and keep pitching, putting the pitches where I wanted to and if the no-hitter was to come then it would have come.”
The right-hander struck out four and walked none in seven innings. Cueto struggled with blister issues last year, when he was 8-8 with a 4.52 ERA in 25 starts, his fewest since 2013.
“If you don’t get baserunners and get him in the stretch, that’s when he’s at his best,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Cueto.
Tony Watson (1-0) pitched a perfect eighth for the win.
Hunter Strickland, filling in for injured closer Mark Melancon, earned his second save. He retired the side in the ninth on two strikeouts and a popup behind the plate.
The sellout crowd of 53,478 watched a pitching duel between Cueto and Wood, who worked eight innings.
“To see two guys pitch like that, you just don’t see very often,” Bochy said.
The only hit Wood allowed was an infield single by Brandon Crawford in the fifth. Wood was off to his right and couldn’t make a play on the ball.
“I was like a deer in headlights a little bit,” Wood said. “I made a pretty good pitch and he just dribbled it by me.”
The left-hander struck out five and walked none on 90 pitches.
Jansen’s velocity on the homer was 89 mph, and Roberts suggested his closer’s lighter-than-usual speed was due to a mechanical issue.
“No, man, it’s not mechanic. He just got me,” Jansen said. “Who cares? Who cares? It’s one game.”
Third baseman Logan Forsythe committed three of the Dodgers’ four errors in the fourth, fifth and ninth innings. Playing out of his usual spot at second, Forsythe is filling in for the injured Justin Turner.
“That will be the last time I can assure you that will ever happen to Logan,” Roberts said. “Very uncharacteristic of our defense.”
It was the most errors the Dodgers have made in a game since Aug. 11, 2013, when they had four against Tampa Bay.
Giants: Injured RHP Jeff Samardzija is “throwing great,” according to Bochy.
Panik became the first major leaguer to hit solo homers in consecutive games and have his team win 1-0 in each game, according to STATS LLC.
The Giants won back-to-back road games 1-0 once before, on May 27-29, 1908, according to STATS.
LHP Derek Holland makes his Giants debut against RHP Kenta Maeda for the Dodgers. Holland was 7-14 with a 6.20 ERA for the White Sox last year. He has only faced the Dodgers one other time in his career, back in 2009. Maeda is 3-1 with a 5.56 ERA in five career starts against San Francisco.
More MLB baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball