LOS ANGELES (AP) – After a forgettable April, the San Francisco Giants have begun a possible turnaround in just the right place – at the home of their biggest division rival.
Brandon Belt and Gorkys Hernandez each singled in a run in the 11th inning after Jeff Samardzija’s excellent start, and the Giants beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-1 on Wednesday night to take two of three in the series.
San Francisco went 9-17 in April and remains in last place in the NL West.
“This has to be a better month,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “This pushes us in the right direction and gives us a boost of confidence.”
Hunter Pence also had a sacrifice fly in the 11th. Joe Panik, whose earlier error led to the Dodgers’ run in the sixth, started the rally against Grant Dayton (1-1) with a single.
Samardzija held Los Angeles to an unearned run in eight innings. He gave up only three hits, struck out 11 and did not walk a batter.
“He was just on top of his game tonight,” Bochy said. “He had a great look about him.”
Steven Okert (1-0) threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings to earn the victory. Mark Melancon pitched the 11th for his sixth save. Okert also threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings against the Dodgers on Monday.
“What a great job by him,” Bochy said. “He just got into the right rhythm in L.A.”
Samardzija had retired 14 consecutive Dodgers when slumping Yasiel Puig (one extra-base hit in his last 56 at-bats) led off the sixth with a pop-up, and Panik sprinted from second base toward the right field line and had the ball land in his glove just before he took a step out of play – only for it to bounce out of his glove for an error.
Puig, watching the play develop, broke into a gallop. When the ball dropped, he ran past second and into third, just ahead of the throw. Pinch hitter Chris Taylor got just enough of Samardzija’s slider to lace it down the first base line for a single to score Puig.
The Giants tied it in the eighth when Pence singled, moved two bases on a wild pitch from Ross Stripling and scored on Buster Posey’s groundout.
“They’re having a tough time scoring runs a little bit right now so you’d like to keep them that way,” Stripling said. “To give up a run in the eighth obviously stinks.”
Giants: Infielder Aaron Hill (forearm strain) left for Arizona to continue his rehab. Outfielder Denard Span (sternoclavicular joint strain) is scheduled to join him Thursday. Bochy said both are taking longer to recover than anticipated.
Dodgers: Outfielder Joc Pederson (groin) is expected to join the Dodgers in San Diego on Friday, but manager Dave Roberts said infielder Logan Forsythe (fractured big right toe) will not be ready to join him as expected. He was pulled early from is rehab start Wednesday with hamstring tightness.
Left-hander Julio Urias made his second start of the season for the Dodgers, throwing five scoreless innings, allowing four hits and four walks, with a strikeout. Said Roberts: “The line was good, five scoreless but pitched behind a lot. Just thought the command wasn’t as sharp as we’ve seen it.”
During the sixth, cameras caught the 20-year-old getting a lesson in the dugout from ace Clayton Kershaw.
Before the game, Los Angeles inducted longtime broadcaster Vin Scully into the team’s ring of honor. Rather than retire a number for Scully, the Dodgers hung a sign with a microphone and Scully’s name.
Giants: Are off Thursday. RHP Matt Cain (2-0, 2.30 ERA) is scheduled to open their three-game series Friday in Cincinnati. Cain was supposed to be the rotation’s biggest question mark, but so far has been their best starter.
Dodgers: Are also off Thursday. RHP Kenta Maeda (2-2, 6.58 ERA) will try to build on his best start of the year (two runs, five hits, five strikeouts in seven innings vs. Phillies) in what otherwise has been a difficult start.
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