LOS ANGELES — In his first start against the Dodgers, Matt Moore very nearly left a mark Giants fans would never forget. Instead, his first Giants win simply went down as one of the most dominant performances ever in this rivalry.
Moore lost a no-hitter with two outs in the ninth when Corey Seager blooped a single into shallow right. The first hit came on Moore’s 133rd pitch, 13 more than his previous career-high, and the lefty was immediately replaced. Santiago Casilla got the final out of a 4-0 win the Giants hope will vault them back towards a division title.
Moore was one out away from becoming the first Giant in 101 years to no-hit the Dodgers. Bruce Bochy let him go out for the ninth and Denard Span kicked things off with a sliding catch in center. Howie Kendrick grounded out to third, but Seager — on his bobblehead night — singled just in front of right fielder Gorkys Hernandez. Catcher Buster Posey crumpled on home plate as Dodger Stadium roared.
Through two innings, this looked like just another night of the second-half Giants. Angel Pagan was stranded in the first and Brandon Crawford didn’t move after a leadoff double in the second. Eduardo Nuñez had an ugly strikeout and Brandon Belt popped up.
The offense came to life in the fourth. Crawford again got a leadoff hit and this time Belt came through with an RBI single. Joe Panik followed with a soaring homer to right that sent a jolt through the dugout. Panik clapped his hands and yelled as he rounded first. A Justin Turner error would lead to a fourth run in the sixth.
That was plenty for Moore, who cruised through the first six innings on just 73 pitches, the lone baserunner being a Yasmani Grandal walk. Span robbed Adrian Gonzalez of a double in the second and Brandon Crawford made a nice play in the hole to end the fifth. Hernandez, replacing an apparently injured Hunter Pence, made a running catch to open the sixth. After a strikeout of Joc Pederson, Moore got Enrique Hernandez to pop up softly.
The seventh inning was a lengthy one, but Moore emerged with his no-hitter intact and 95 pitches on his ledger. He walked Seager, but got two groundouts and a strikeout of Justin Turner, who had an 11-pitch at-bat his first time up.
Moore started the eighth with a four-pitch walk of Grandal, and he had trouble putting pinch-hitter Chase Utley away. On the 10th pitch of the at-bat and 109th of Moore’s night, Utley swung through a changeup. As Sergio Romo and Javier Lopez started warming up in the bullpen, Moore got former Giant Charlie Culberson to ground into a fielder’s choice.
On Moore’s 119th pitch, Pederson lined a shot to center that hung up long enough for Span. The lefty was one pitch away from his career-high, set before his 2014 Tommy John surgery, and when he want back to the dugout he entered on the stairwell furthest from Bochy. If he was avoiding his manager, it worked. Moore took his shot at history and came up a few feet short.