By Janie Mccauley Associated Press
SAN FRANCISCO — Buster Posey hit a game-ending home run into the left-field seats leading off the bottom of the ninth, and the San Francisco Giants beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-1 on Friday night.
Sergio Romo (2-2) struck out two in the top of the inning and survived Matt Kemp’s nine-pitch single for the victory.
Posey connected for his first career game-winning RBI of any kind on a 3-2 pitch from Ronald Belisario (2-3), who hadn’t allowed a run in his previous four appearances over six innings.
Clayton Kershaw came off the bereavement list to pitch seven impressive innings for the Dodgers only five days after the death of his father, Christopher, and 56 hours following the funeral in Texas. Kershaw allowed one run and three hits, struck out five and walked three in a 104-pitch outing.
Angel Pagan drew a leadoff walk in the fourth for the Giants first baserunner against Kershaw, who then retired Marco Scutaro on a shallow fly to left and Pablo Sandoval on a grounder. Pagan advanced to third on a passed ball with Posey at the plate, so he was intentionally walked. Hunter Pence struck out swinging to end the threat.
Kershaw, who homered against the Giants in the April 1 season opener at Dodger Stadium, doubled to lead off the fifth.
Kershaw’s outing is on turn and regular rest after he was away from the club this week following the death of his father last Sunday — the same day he threw eight scoreless innings and struck out 12 in a 2-0 win against Milwaukee.
Marco Scutaro’s one-out triple to the gap in right-center broke up the no-hit bid, then Posey’s double to the wall in right two batters later tied the game.
Posey was thrown out at the plate trying to score on Hunter Pence’s single. Posey, the NL MVP, slid with his right leg leading and collided hard with catcher Ellis — bringing back memories of when Posey was on the other end of a devastating collision with Scott Cousins, as the Giants catcher suffered season-ending left leg and ankle injuries nearly two years ago, on May 25, 2011.
Right fielder Andre Ethier made the catch of the night. With Andres Torres aboard on a one-out walk, Ethier chased down a high fly ball by Brandon Belt for a pretty running catch on the warning track in the deepest part of the ballpark in front of the 421-foot sign in right-center.
Barry Zito allowed the leadoff hitter to reach base in each of the first five innings, but twice avoided trouble with double plays turned by the defense. He induced an inning-ending double play by Kemp in the fifth after the Dodgers took the lead.
Zito extended his scoreless streak at AT&T Park to 25 innings before the Dodgers got to him in the fifth. It’s the longest home streak at the start of a season by a San Francisco pitcher since Ryan Jensen put together a 27-inning stretch in 2002, according to information provided by the team from Elias.
Zito left with a second straight no-decision after giving up a leadoff walk to Hanley Ramirez in the sixth. Zito walked four and struck out one.
Then, Los Angeles lost shortstop Ramirez.
Ramirez, aboard on a leadoff walk, grabbed the back of his left leg just above the knee after getting thrown out sliding into third as he tried to go first to third on A.J. Ellis’ single. Replays showed he might have hurt his hamstring rounding second base. He was helped off the field by the athletic trainers.
As San Francisco celebrated “Metallica Night” at the waterfront ballpark, lead singer and guitarist James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett played the national anthem to roaring cheers from the sellout crowd of 42,113. Hetfield led cheers of “Let’s go Giants!” before first pitch, and drummer Lars Ulrich threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Giants closer Romo.
On the main scoreboard in center field, Giants players’ photos were shown with Metallica-like hairdos when they batted.
Dodgers first baseman and cleanup hitter Adrian Gonzalez was a late scratch because of neck pain. He collided with the umpire on Wednesday.