Clayton Kershaw jump-started his mastery on Opening Day, but the one run he allowed made all the difference Thursday as the San Francisco Giants kicked off the season with a 1-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Joe Panik’s solo homer in the fifth inning accounted for all of San Francisco’s offense, and Ty Blach combined with four relievers to keep the Dodgers off the scoreboard and spoil Opening Day at Chavez Ravine.
Blach allowed multiple baserunners in two of his five innings, but got out of the jams with a 4-6-3 double play in the second inning and a groundout in the fifth. Despite allowing two hits to Kershaw, Blach kept the top five members of the Dodgers lineup hitless, allowing just one walk to Yasiel Puig.
Leadoff man Chris Taylor struck out twice; Cory Gearrin froze him to get out of a seventh-inning jam when the Dodgers had men on the corners.
Had the pitching staff not held down the fort, the San Francisco offense would have rued numerous missed opportunities. Back-to-back singles by Austin Jackson and Panik to open the game were followed by a double play. The Giants had men on second and third with one out in the second inning, but Kershaw got Brandon Crawford to pop out and struck out Blach. With men on the corners and one out in the fourth, Brandon Belt struck out and Crawford flew out to shallow right field to end the threat.
Belt earned the rare start against the masterful left-hander. His second-inning single was just his fourth career hit against Kershaw, having the entered the day 3-for-51 against the southpaw. Kershaw scattered eight hits and a pair of walks over six innings, striking out seven.
Blach allowed three hits and three walks while striking out three, and the quartet of relievers combined for seven strikeouts. No Dodger put the ball in play against Giants newcomer Tony Watson, who walked one but struck out three in the eighth. Watson was acquired at the trade deadline by Los Angeles last year.
Hunter Strickland notched the save after allowing a leadoff single to Matt Kemp. Evan Longoria went hitless with three strikeouts in his Giants debut, while Andrew McCutchen had a double for his first hit with the club.