Stephen Ellison

Giants Overcome Injuries to Crawford, Cueto to Beat Dodgers

LOS ANGELES — The Giants lost Brandon Crawford to a hand injury in the second inning. They lost Johnny Cueto to a leg injury in the sixth.

For once, they did not lose the lead in the ninth.

Cueto got 17 outs before turning the ball over to a shuffled bullpen. Lefties Steven Okert and Will Smith combined for eight outs and Sergio Romo took the ninth in a 2-0 win. The Giants inched a game closer in the National League West and moved into a three-way tie with the Mets and Cardinals atop the wild card standings.

Cueto and Rich Hill weaved around plenty of traffic in the first four innings. The Dodgers had six hits and a walk through four but did not score. The Giants were blanked on five hits and a walk.

Eduardo Nuñez, who scored the lone Giants run Monday night, ended the dueling shutouts with a high homer to left in the fifth inning. Hill would face just one more batter, but Cueto worked on in steamy conditions.

He took a shutout into the sixth before straining his left groin. He called for a trainer and tried to continue. After a walk, he was pulled. George Kontos started running out of the bullpen, but in an odd move, Bochy waved him back and called for Okert. The rookie was a revelation.

Okert struck out pinch-hitters Yasiel Puig and Enrique Hernandez to strand a pair of runners in the sixth. After his first career at-bat, Okert came back out for a seventh inning punctuated by a strikeout of Adrian Gonzalez.

Smith, who entered with a run of 13 consecutive scoreless appearances, cruised through the eighth and Brandon Belt pushed the lead to 2-0 with a solo shot. Romo had a perfect ninth.

Starting pitching report: After an up-and-down August, Cueto has put together a very strong September. He scattered eight hits in 5 2/3 innings before departing with the injury. In four September starts, Cueto has allowed five total runs.

Bullpen report: Okert’s only blemish this month is a homer he gave up to the Padres in what was a tough spot for a rookie. Other than that, he has pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings since a call-up.

At the plate: Nuñez hit his fourth homer with the Giants and 16th overall. Belt soon tied him at 16.

In the field: Some nifty defensive work helped Cueto have a quick fourth inning. After Josh Reddick hit a leadoff single, Cueto spun on his heels for a lightning-fast pickoff move. Belt put down a good tag. A batter later, Hunter Pence made a sliding catch in right.

Attendance: The Dodgers announced a crowd of 53,621 human beings who loudly booed the Giants as they ran off the field following batting practice. Will Smith sarcastically waved.

Up next: Matt Moore will take another crack at no-hitting the Dodgers. He’ll face Kenta Maeda.

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