Posey power on display
05/04/2013 12:00 AM
05/05/2013 11:15 AM
SAN FRANCISCO – Clayton Kershaw, the Los Angeles Dodgers' 25-year-old left-hander, took a no-hitter into the sixth inning Friday, gave up one run on three hits and saw his career ERA against the Giants actually rise – by five ten-thousandths of a point.
Kershaw, whose 1.28 ERA against the Giants is the lowest of any opposing pitcher ever, faced 19 batters before allowing a hit. But the Giants were able to do two things Friday night at AT&T Park that they couldn't against Kershaw in his complete-game win over them on Opening Day: score, and knock him out of the game before it was decided.
With Kershaw reduced to spectator, the Giants and Dodgers went into the ninth tied at 1-1. After Sergio Romo pitched a scoreless top of the ninth, Buster Posey led off the bottom of the inning by crushing Ronald Belisario's full-count pitch into the left-field seats to give the Giants a 2-1 win.
It was the Giants' seventh game-tying or go-ahead home run after the eighth inning this season, the most in the majors. It also was Posey's first game-winning homer for the Giants.
"It's been like that for a while," manager Bruce Bochy said of another comeback win. "The long ball, we don't get a lot of them, but they're coming at the right time."
Posey entered the at-bat 0-for-6 lifetime against Belisario with five strikeouts. Belisario threw two pitches wildly to the backstop before delivering the full-count fastball that Posey hammered. As the ball cleared the fence, Posey rounded first base pumping his fist while the Giants streamed out of their dugout to meet him at the plate.
"He's got a ton of movement on his fastball, and he's had a lot of success against me," Posey said of Belisario. "Really just looking for something up, try to be short to it and get the barrel to it."
Posey also spoiled Kershaw's shutout in the sixth, two batters after Marco Scutaro broke up his no-hit bid with a triple into the right-center gap. Posey doubled into the same gap to drive in Scutaro, who became the fifth run allowed at AT&T Park by Kershaw in 61 2/3 career innings.
Hunter Pence then lined a single into center field. As Posey rounded third, center fielder Matt Kemp delivered a perfect strike to catcher A.J. Ellis, who dropped a tag on a sliding Posey to preserve the tie.
It was a poignant outing by Kershaw in that the 25-year-old had just returned to his team from the bereavement list following the death of his father. Just as he did on Opening Day against the Giants in Los Angeles, Kershaw also helped himself with the bat, scoring the game's first run.
Leading off the fifth, Kershaw fouled off several two-strike pitches from left-hander Barry Zito before lining a double down the left-field line. He moved to third on a bunt, then scored when Nick Punto hit a chopper that snuck by shortstop Joaquin Arias.
It was the first run allowed at AT&T Park this season by Zito, snapping a streak of 25 scoreless innings. The Dodgers put their leadoff man on in each of the six innings Zito started – four times on walks – but Kershaw was the only one to score. Zito afterward said he "didn't have my command at all."
"He had a tough time with the leadoff hitter but made some great pitches when he had to," Bochy said. "And the guys did a great job with the double plays. That saved us."
Notes – Before the game, the Giants optioned catcher Hector Sanchez to Triple-A Fresno and recalled outfielder Francisco Peguero. The Giants also reinstated Jeremy Affeldt from the disabled list; reliever Sandy Rosario was optioned Wednesday to clear a roster spot for Affeldt.
"Sanchez needs to play," Bochy said. "He missed quite a bit in spring training and hasn't been playing much here so we want to get him going, get him some at-bats down there."
Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez, in his fourth game back from the disabled list, was removed from the game in the sixth inning after he injured his left hamstring running the bases.
About This BlogMatt Kawahara has covered baseball for The Sacramento Bee for three years. Kawahara, a McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley graduate, joined The Bee in 2010. Before joining Sports, he was a general assignment news reporter. Reach Kawahara at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @matthewkawahara.
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