Giants erupt in ninth, stun Dodgers in series opener

Giants erupt in ninth, stun Dodgers in series opener


LOS ANGELES — There was nothing new about what Clayton Kershaw did Monday night, but there was a twist at Dodger Stadium.

Kershaw dominated through eight innings but the Dodgers could not hand the ball to Kenley Janson, who is on the DL with a heart issue. The Giants took full advantage, scoring four in the top of the ninth for a stunning 5-2 win in the first game of an important series. 

Nick Hundley’s single with two outs and the bases loaded flipped the lead and the Giants kept tacking on, once on a Gorkys Hernandez single, once on a Dodgers error. When they were done, they were back to .500 at 60-60, and just four back of the Dodgers. They are five games behind the Diamondbacks. 

Here’s what you need to know from a wild night at Dodger Stadium … 

--- Kershaw allowed just one run, but Dave Roberts turned to Scott Alexander in the ninth. With one out, the Giants got singles from Chase d'Arnaud and Buster Posey. Two batters later, Austin Slater was drilled, loading the bases. That's when Hundley came through. 

--- Brandon Crawford was removed in the fifth, a few minutes after a nasty collision with Gorkys Hernandez. The two ran into each other while chasing a Kershaw pop-up that went for a double. Crawford hit in the top of the next inning, but didn’t take the field after that. He appeared to hit his head when he ran into Hernandez. 

--- Madison Bumgarner did his part to make this matchup a solid one. In six innings, he allowed two earned on seven hits, repeatedly working out of traffic. Bumgarner struck out four and walked two. One of the runs scored on a bloop with two outs, the other on a Justin Turner homer. 

--- Steven Duggar wasn’t all that impressed with Kershaw, apparently. The rookie had an infield single in his first at-bat and smoked a single to right his second time up, coming around to score two batters later. He struck out the third time up. 

--- Ray Black’s first appearance against the Dodgers was a dominant one. He got Joc Pederson to ground out and then blew Chris Taylor and Yasiel Puig away. 

--- It’s a small thing, but Kershaw runs out grounders harder than half the position players in the National League.

MLB free agency debate: Where will Nathan Eovaldi sign this offseason?

MLB free agency debate: Where will Nathan Eovaldi sign this offseason?

Editor's note: Each day this week, Giants insider Alex Pavlovic and A's reporter Ben Ross will debate where one of the top five free agents might land this offseason. Thursday's free agent to discuss is Nathan Eovaldi, a veteran right-hander with World Series heroics but just decent regular-season numbers.

ALEX: Ben, I'm fascinated by Nathan Eovaldi. He pulled a Yusmeiro Petit, except he did it while throwing 100 mph during a World Series game.

The Madison Bumgarner comparisons -- in terms of doing whatever it takes to help your team get to that final World Series win -- are there, too. In an age of guys babying their arms, it was so impressive to see a starter go out there and just let it all hang out even though he knew he'd hit free agency just a few days later. You hope that his arm is OK, and that someone will reward him for that effort.

BEN: I don’t think any free agent earned himself more money during the playoffs than Eovaldi did. He had a decent regular season (3.81 ERA and 1.13 WHIP), but his postseason was legendary. He earned $2 million in each of the last two seasons but now is looking at around $15 million per year.

I thought the A’s would have interest, but his postseason probably priced them out of contention. I have to think Boston is the front-runner to re-sign him. Where else could he land?

ALEX: I've got some thoughts, but first I want to go back to your team. Have they indicated what their price range is? I agree that Eovaldi probably is out at this point, but was he in range before the postseason? It's amazing what they did with castoffs last year, but they have to get a couple more dependable arms in that rotation at some point.

BEN: Agreed. Even Billy Beane acknowledged that last month. The A’s haven’t indicated a specific price range, but it's not their MO to spend big money on free agents, especially when a lot of their current roster will be getting pay raises next year. To me, Eovaldi would’ve been a realistic target at around $8 million per year, but he's not at $15 million.

ALEX: He could be a fit for the Giants, and he's certainly the type that Farhan Zaidi might have targeted in Los Angeles. But I think others will be more aggressive after Eovaldi's postseason. MLB Trade Rumors listed half the league, practically, as potential fits: Red Sox, Astros, Yankees, Rangers, Braves, Phillies, Nationals, Dodgers, Angels, Giants.

BEN: He has certainly become a hot commodity. I think the Yankees and Astros make a lot of sense, as do the Giants. But ultimately, I think he'll stay in Boston. The Red Sox know how valuable he was to their World Series. What’s your pick?

ALEX: I'm going off the board a bit, to a team that really needs some frontline starting pitching. The Angels -- for four years and $64 million -- are my pick for one of the stars of the postseason.

BEN: Interesting. The Angels definitely make sense with their lack of starting pitching. But I’ll say Eovaldi gets four years, $60 million from the Red Sox.

Editor's note: This week across the NBC Sports Regional Networks, we'll be taking an in-depth look at some of the top free agents in baseball. Thursday is dedicated to free agent pitcher Nathan Eovaldi.
Will the Phillies be in the Eovaldi mix?
How Eovaldi set himself up for big payday
How does Eovaldi fit the White Sox?

Farhan Zaidi says it's 'not absolutely necessary' for Giants to hire GM

Farhan Zaidi says it's 'not absolutely necessary' for Giants to hire GM

Farhan Zaidi knows what makes a great GM in Major League Baseball. He might not be looking at a mirror and asking, "Who in this land is fairest of all?" but it could be close. 

The Giants have their new man in charge with Zaidi as the president of baseball operations, yet as the hot stove heats up, the team still is without a GM. It doesn't sound like they're in a rush, either. 

"That process is on-going," Zaidi said Thursday morning on KNBR. "Obviously, it's tricky getting permission for top front-office talent. We're working on a number of fronts on that. And we want to make sure we find the right person. ... We're taking our time, we're vetting candidates, and again, the permission process isn't always straightforward." 

[PAVLOVIC: Will Giants take shot at Nathan Eovaldi, another risky starting pitcher?]

As the Giants take their time searching for the right candidate, the team might be without a GM for the near future and beyond. Though he's new to the organization, Zaidi is putting his trust in the structure of San Francisco's front office. 

"At the end of the day, it's a position obviously we'd really like fill," Zaidi said. "But there's a very competent, skilled front office in place. So, it's not absolutely necessary if we don't feel like have the right person."

[PAVLOVIC: Manny Machado doesn't fit with Giants even if they clear infield space]

Zaidi spent the past four seasons as Dodgers GM. The team won the NL West all four years and made the World Series twice. While it would be ideal having a pairing of Zaidi in the higher position with a GM working with him, he's the right man to handle duel duties for now.