It didn’t take long for the wheels to fall off for the Dodgers in their home opener on Friday.
The Giants tacked on eight two-out runs early, their bullpen kept them in the game, and San Francisco captured an 8-4 win over the rival Los Angeles.
It looked as if Hyun-Jin Ryu would have an easy top of the first when Pablo Sandoval worked a two-out walk. Buster Posey continued to swing the bat well and crushed a double down the left-field line, missing a home run by about a foot, and putting runners on second and third. Michael Morse then hit a single to center, giving him four RBIs in his last three at-bats and the Giants a 2-0 lead.
The offense wasn’t done. Morse advanced to second on the play when center fielder Matt Kemp misplayed the ball, and Brandon Belt singled to bring him home. Then the Dodger defense started to fall apart. Brandon Hicks hit a pop up that was lost in the sun, fell between Adrian Gonzalez at first base and Andre Eithier in right and went for a double. Joaquin Arias was intentionally walked to load the bases before Vogelsong helped his own case and blooped a two-run single into shallow left.
Angel Pagan then smacked an RBI single into center, making it 6-0 Giants before the Dodgers even had a chance to bat. It was the most runs San Francisco has ever scored in the top of the first since Dodger Stadium opened in 1962.
But LA wasn’t quite done shooting itself in the foot. Posey led off the second with a routine ground ball, but Hanley Ramirez’s throw in the dirt allowed the Giants to get their lead-off hitter on base. Posey moved to second on a ground out by Belt before coming in to score on a double by the unstoppable Hicks. Hicks is 3-for-5 on this young season with two doubles, one home run, and two RBIs. Arias followed up with his first hit of the season, an RBI single to left to make it 8-0 San Francisco. The Giants have scored 31 runs so far in 2014, 25 of them coming with two outs.
For Ryu, it was the shortest outing of his American career. He lasted just two innings, throwing 69 pitches and giving up eight hits, eight runs (six earned), and walking three while striking out just two. So far in 2014, he had yet to give up a run in his previous two starts, tossing 12 scoreless innings over that span while striking out 12.
On the other side of the rubber, Vogelsong hit his snag in the fourth when he allowed back-to-back solo home runs to Gonzalez and Ethier. He got out of the inning, but was right back in the stretch to lead off the fifth.
Carl Crawford led off with a single to right, stole second, and came around to score on a Matt Kemp double to the gap in left. Hanley Ramirez followed it up with a single, ending Vogelsong’s day. Kemp eventually scored on an Ethier single off of reliever David Huff. In all, Vogelsong needed 94 pitches (54 strikes) to get through four-plus innings. He allowed seven hits, four runs, two walks, while striking out four.
Huff – who was credited with the win -, Juan Gutierrez, Jean Machi, and Javier Lopez stifled the Dodgers comeback, blanking them for the remainder of the game and preserving the win, but the LA bullpen was even more impressive. Good thing the Giants scored all of their runs off of Ryu, because Jose Dominguez, Brandon League, Chris Withrow, and Jamey Wright combined to no-hit San Francisco for the final seven frames, allowing just one walk and seven strike outs.
The Giants did get their first overturned call thanks to the new replay rules under the belt on Friday. Ramirez singled to lead off the bottom of the seventh inning and attempted to steal second base. After being initially called safe, Giants manager Bruce Bochy challenged the call, and it was promptly overturned. It didn’t hurt that Ramirez had already left the field thinking that he was out at second.
San Francisco will look to continue their offense onslaught on Saturday at 1:10 against the Dodgers when Madison Bumgarner will take on Paul Maholm.