Giants end good first week with bad loss to Dodgers
Los Angeles – The Giants had a fascinating first week. They won five of seven in Arizona and Los Angeles by leading the majors in home runs (11) and sharing the lead in runs (40) with the Marlins.
Both losses came in Matt Cain start, including Sunday nights homer-riddled 6-2 loss to the Dodgers.
It means nothing in the grand scheme. Remember, the Giants were an offensive force for the first six weeks last year before they could not buy runs, and two starts is not enough to judge any pitcher. But it does give folks back home something to talk about ahead of Tuesdays home opener against the Diamondbacks.
Last year, the Giants did not win a multicity trip until their final roadie of the season, when they went 6-4 against the Dodgers, Mets and Yankees.
The national ESPN audience got a taste of what the Giants did in the first week when Brandon Belt hit his fourth homer and Hunter Pence his first.
Otherwise, viewers saw Cains first-half bugaboo from last year resurface when he allowed three homers in the first four innings, two by Matt Kemp and a third by Hanley Ramirez, who added a second homer off David Huff in the eighth.
As Cain struggled before the 2013 All-Star break and allowed one homer per 27 plate apperances. When he rebounded in the second half the homers went down to one per 42.
In fact, Cain surrendered three homers in a game three times in his first nine starts of 2013 then no three-homer games in his final 21 starts.
When Cain fielded Kemps comebacker to end the sixth, he flipped the ball to Belt almost disdainfully. That ended Cains night with five runs allowed in six innings. All six Dodger hits were for extra bases, three homers, three doubles.
They Giants offense, which co-led majors in runs in the first week, get skunked by Zack Greinke until Belt and Pence homered in the right-handers sixth and final inning.
Pences was one of his more impressive as a Giant. It went halfway up the bleachers in right-center field, the other way.
Greinke struck out eight and walked none.
For the first time in the young season the Giants did not score first. The Dodgers led 1-0 after Kemps second-inning homer.
Greinkes dealing made that lead seem insurmountable at first. Only Angel Pagan seemed to solve the right-hander, with two singles, as Greinke struck out six in three innings. Pablo Sandoval, who is seeing the ball well, too, lined out to left in the second.
Ramirez hit a no-doubted down the left-field line with one out in the fourth to extend the Dodgers lead to 2-0. Kemp added his second later in the inning, with Adrian Gonzalez aboard, for 4-0. That one was an impressive opposite-field blow, closer to straightaway center field than right.
The Giants had a shot to cut into the lead in the fifth when singles by Michael Morse and Cain brought Pagan to the plate with two outs, but Greinke struck him out.