Giants Bullpen Backs Injured Johnny Cueto To Shut Out Dodgers
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers struggled to capitalize on their opportunities against Johnny Cueto, and the San Francisco Giants bullpen responded to blowing a late lead in the series opener.

Rich Hill allowed a base hit to Eduardo Nunez on the first pitch of the game, but soon after picked him off first base. Hill then proceeded to retire Gorkys Hernandez and Buster Posey to complete a scoreless inning on just seven pitches.

Chase Utley jumped on the first pitch he saw from Cueto, beating the shift with a leadoff single to left field. Corey Seager followed with a base hit to put runners on first and second with nobody out.

Despite the early trouble, Cueto worked his way out of trouble by inducing a double play and groundout. Cueto somehow threw just six pitches in the inning. Hill started the second with back-to-back strikeouts.

Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt them combined for consecutive singles, but Crawford was thrown out at third base by Andrew Toles to end the inning. Crawford suffered a dislocated left pinkie on his head-first slide and was removed from the game.

Yasmani Grandal and Josh Reddick led off the bottom of the second with base hits to put two on with nobody out. Cueto again worked his way out of trouble, retiring Toles, Joc Pederson and Hill, to keep the game scoreless.

Hill bookended a 1-2-3 third inning with strikeouts. The Dodgers again put men on base, beginning with a Seager one-out double. Adrian Gonzalez kept the bottom of the third alive by drawing a walk, but Grandal grounded into the shift.

The Dodgers at that point had two runners reach in each of the first three innings, but were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position. Posey and Hunter Pence both singled with one out in the fourth, and Mac Williamson walked with two outs to load the bases.

Hill worked his way out of the jam by catching Belt looking. Nunez broke the scoreless tie with a two-out, solo home run in the fifth inning. Nunez’s hit was initially ruled a triple, but it was reviewed and overturned.

Howie Kendrick pinch-hit for Hill to start the bottom of the fifth and struck out on a check-swing. Seager and Turner singled with two outs, only to be stranded by Gonzalez. Pedro Baez recorded two outs after giving up a leadoff single in the sixth. Luis Avilan struck out Joe Panik to end the inning.

After walking Toles to put two on with one out in the bottom of the sixth, Cueto was removed with a left groin strain. Steven Okert came on and struck out pinch-hitters Yasiel Puig and Kiké Hernandez to preserve the Giants’ 1-0 lead.

Okert remained on the mound in the seventh and worked around Turner’s two-out base hit to give San Francisco much-needed quality work out of the bullpen. Belt clubbed a solo home run off Grant Dayton in the ninth, and Sergio Romo shut the door in San Francisco’s 2-0 victory.

The save was Romo’s first since July 2015, and it kept the Giants in a three-way tie with the New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals for the National League Wild Card.