Strong starting pitching was on full display in the first two games between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants, with Clayton Kershaw shining on Friday night, and Johnny Cueto on Saturday. The rubber match pitted a pair of offseason signings against one another in Kenta Maeda and Jeff Samardzija.
In atypical fashion, Maeda struggled with his command in the first inning as he issued two walks. Entering the start, the Japanese native had walked just one batter over 12 innings pitched. He worked his way out of trouble to keep the Giants off the board.
After the Dodgers offense went down quietly in the bottom of the first, Maeda retired the side in order in the second inning, which included a strikeout of Samardzija. Yasmani Grandal lined a two-out single to right-center field in the bottom half of the inning, though nothing came of it.
Maeda retired the first two batters faced in the third and was one strike away from another scoreless inning before giving up a home run to Joe Panik. The solo shot ended Maeda’s streak of consecutive scoreless innings to begin his career at 14.2.
Samardzija protected the 1-0 lead by retiring Joc Pederson, Maeda and Chase Utley in order. Maeda was the victim of some bad luck in the fourth as Hunter Pence reached on an infield single, and Brandon Belt on a shattered-bat base hit to center.
With two on and no outs, Maeda got a much needed double play ball. Samardzija struck out swinging for the third out after Brandon Crawford was intentionally walked.
CONTINUE READING: Joc Pederson hits go-ahead home run, Yasiel Puig wreaks havoc on bases