AT&T PARK — The San Francisco Giants entered Wednesday’s day game on a roll, winners of their last five straight.
Awaiting them was Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, a proven win-streak-stopper.
Kershaw threw seven shutout innings, allowing just three hits and striking out five. He faced the minimum until the sixth.
“It’s typical,” Posey said of Kershaw’s dominance. “He’s pretty good every time out. And I think ‘pretty good’ might be an understatement.”
The Dodgers would go on to win, 6-1, to avoid a sweep by the Giants.
On the other end, Giants starter Johnny Cueto struggled. He had a bad first inning, when Corey Seager and Justin Turner had back-to-back hits. They were both cashed in on a Yasmani Grandal double that the Los Angeles catcher drove to right field despite the pitch being so low it was closer to the dirt than the strike zone.
That play led Cueto to believe the Dodgers were stealing signs — “I’m not going to use that as an excuse, but they were relaying signs,” Cueto would say postgame.
Grandal denied being the beneficiary of ill-gotten information, saying if he knew it was going to be low, he wouldn’t have swung at that pitch.
Grandal: “we’re on good terms now, i guess, so let’s not make it a bigger deal than what it is.” pic.twitter.com/l0RzXfapf5
— jacob c. palmer (@jacobc_palmer) May 17, 2017
In the third, with runners on second and third, Cueto buzzed Grandal with a wild pitch high and inside, allowing Chase Utley to score from third.
The Giants starter told Grandal that it wasn’t his goal to hit him on that pitch.
“I’m glad it wasn’t his intention, but to me in that point in time, it kind of looked a little different,” Grandal said. “Let’s not make it a big deal.”
Yasiel Puig added to the damage in the fifth by knocking an RBI to extend the Dodgers lead to 5-0.
“I don’t think he pitched his sharpest,” Posey said of Cueto.
With that kind of lead, Kershaw had more than enough run support. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Kershaw’s earned run average at AT&T Park (1.29) is the third lowest of any pitcher in a single ballpark with a minimum of 10 starts at that venue.
The Giants (17-25) now embark on a seven-game road trip, starting in St. Louis on Friday. They won five of seven during this homestand.
“It’s a start,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “Just like your losses, you can’t think you’re out of it. Got to keep playing the way we’ve been playing.”
Melancon activated from DL
They didn’t need him, but the Giants activated Mark Melancon before the game.
The closer hasn’t pitched since May 3 and was placed on the disabled list for a forearm strain six days later.
Melancon spent one more day than the minimum 10 days on the DL. He threw a 22-pitch on Monday that apparently went well.
“He’s adamant he’s ready to go,” Bochy said. “He’s our closer, why wouldn’t we go and activate him?”
To make space on the roster, the Giants optioned utility man Kelby Tomlinson to Triple A Sacramento. Tomlinson was hitting .240/.269/.240 in 15 games with the major-league team this season.
Barry Bonds to be put on Wall of Fame
The Giants will honor the greatest hitter of all time and special adviser Barry Bonds with a plaque on the team’s Wall of Fame.
The ceremony will be July 8 before San Francisco plays the Miami Marlins. Bonds was the hitting coach for the Marlins last year.