Austin Slater and the San Francisco Giants were able to do something they haven't done often, which is turn the tables on Clayton Kershaw.
Slater became one of a select few to homer twice in a game off the Los Angeles Dodgers' left-hander as San Francisco held on for a 5-4 win Saturday night.
The Giants' outfielder hit solo shots over the wall in center in the third and fifth innings. He is only the seventh player to hit two homers in the same game off the Dodgers’ ace.
“In the moment it felt great and I think this will go down as a career highlight so far He’s a pitcher who has been the most dominant over the last 12 years,” Slater said about the first multi-homer game of his career.
Manager Gabe Kapler said Slater showed why he is at the top of the lineup when facing lefties.
“We want him up in tough spots,” Kapler said. “Taking Kershaw deep twice is an impressive feat. he is arguably the best pitcher of the last 10 years.”
It was a tough night for Kershaw (1-1), who has traditionally dominated the Giants. He came into the game with a 23-12 record and 1.74 ERA against San Francisco, but allowed four runs and six hits in 4 1/3 innings with a walk and six strikeouts. It is the second-shortest start of Kershaw’s career against the Giants and the first time he has allowed three home runs in a game to them in 49 starts.
“I just had a couple rough innings there,” Kershaw said. “I left some over the middle a little bit. My command wasn’t quite as good tonight.”
While Kershaw was struggling, Giants' starter Johnny Cueto was dominant most of the night and carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning before hitting a wall. The no-hitter was broken up when Kiké Hernández led off the inning with a triple to left that Hunter Pence lost track of in the Dodger Stadium twilight
Cueto's only mistake was a hanging curveball to Justin Turner that resulted in a three-run homer to bring the Dodgers within a run.
“Johnny had the magic and everything working. To spoil that feels absolutely awful. He deserves better,” Pence said.
Cueto (1-0) only allowed a third-inning walk to Chris Taylor in the first five innings before hitting a wall in the sixth. He went 5 2/3 innings, marking his second straight outing where he was gone at least five innings. The right-hander allowed four runs on two hits with three walks and three strikeouts.
Cueto developed a blister on his right big toe and said it started to bother him in the fourth inning. Kapler and a trainer came to check on him in the sixth, but Cueto remained in the game.
“All my pitches were working fine and I felt comfortable,” said Cueto, who became the eighth pitcher born in the Dominican Republic to make 300 starts. “I think the most frustrating thing was the ball that was lost. If that is caught the game changes and maybe I pitch out of the inning. I didn’t throw a lot of pitches. It's hard to tell how far I could have gone.”
Mike Yastrzemski also homered in the third to extend San Francisco’s lead to 2-0. His drive to right marked the third time in Kershaw’s last seven regular-season starts that he has allowed multiple HR’s in the same inning.
Yastrzemski chased Kershaw with an RBI double to right-center to give the Giants a 4-0 lead in the fourth. They added a run in the sixth when Mauricio Dubón’ s sacrifice fly plated Hunter Pence.
Hernández scored on Austin Barnes’ ground out. Cueto walked two of the next three Dodger batters before his night ended when Justin Turner hit a drive halfway up the bleachers in left to bring LA within 5-4.
Trevor Gott worked a scoreless ninth for his fourth save.
HELD IN CHECK
The Dodgers had only two hits against the Giants, which is only the ninth time San Francisco has held them to two hits or fewer at Dodger Stadium.
“Through five innings, Cueto could have shut anyone out in my opinion. The stuff kept us off balance and everything was at the hollow of the knee," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "We didn’t hit a ball hard all night outside of the homer from Justin.”
Donovan Solano had three hits and upped his batting average to .462, which leads the majors.
The Giants second baseman extended his hitting streak to a MLB-high 13 games with a first-inning single to left. It also marks the longest of his career, surpassing the 12-game streak he had with the Miami Marlins in 2012.
It is also the longest hitting streak by a Giants' player since Andrew McCutchen had a 13-game run in 2018.
Giants: RHP Jeff Samardjiza was placed on the 10-day injured list after an MRI revealed rotator cuff inflammation in his right shoulder. He won't throw for at least seven days. ... RHP Trevor Cahill (fingernail) threw three innings during an intrasquad game on Friday but still hasn't built up enough innings yet to rejoin the rotation.
Dodgers: SS Corey Seager got a clean MRI scan on his back and is feeling less pain. Seager left Friday's game after feeling discomfort in his lower back.
Dodgers' right-hander Walker Buehler (0-0, 5.19 ERA) is 4-0 in six games against the Giants, with four being starts. Righty Kevin Gausman (0-1, 5.27 ERA) is still looking for his first win in a San Francisco uniform after signing during the offseason.