LOS ANGELES — After a blowout loss Wednesday, a voice echoed out of a back hallway in the visiting clubhouse at Dodger Stadium.
“Shark tomorrow,” a player said. “If he beats them it’s still a good series.”
Jeff Samardzija did his part, throwing eight brilliant innings, and about an hour later the lineup finally broke through. Gorkys Hernandez drove in the go-ahead run in the top of the 11th and the Giants kept piling on. When it was over, they had a 4-1 win and a series victory over the Dodgers.
The victory was the 1,800th of Bruce Bochy’s career. The other eight managers with 1,800 wins and three World Series titles are in the Hall of Fame.
On a night that started quietly, Joe Panik’s hustle out of the box kept Yasiel Puig from adding to his highlight reel in the fifth. Panik scorched ball off the wall in right-center and Puig came up with a rocket that missed getting the out at second by an inch. After two outs, walks of Gorkys Hernandez and Brandon Belt loaded the bases. With his final pitch of a 19-minute inning, Julio Urias got Hunter Pence to fly out to right.
Puig and Panik were linked again in the sixth and this time it went the Dodgers’ way. Panik dropped a high pop-up down the first-base line and as it rolled a few feet away, Puig took off. He beat the throw to third and scored two batters later when Chris Taylor poked a slider into right. That was just the second hit off Samardzija, who had retired 14 straight entering the inning.
The Giants tied it up on an oddly fitting way. Pence led off the top of the eighth with a single and went to third on a wild pitch that skipped around behind the plate. Buster Posey’s grounder to second knotted the night.
Samardzija was done after 101 pitches. He gave up three hits and one unearned run, walked none, and struck out 11. He never pitched with the lead, and the Giants failed to take one in the 10th despite loading the bases. Phil Nevin held Belt at third on Posey’s single. Christian Arroyo then struck out and Eduardo Nuñez flied out.
An inning later, the Giants broke through. With two on and one out, Hernandez ripped a double into the left field corner. Belt’s single made it 3-1 and Pence tacked on an insurance run with a sacrifice fly.
Mark Melancon made it interesting in the bottom of the inning, but held on.
Starting pitching report: The double-digit strikeout game was the 10th of Samardzija’s career and his second as a Giant.
Bullpen report: Steven Okert got a double play to end the ninth and cruised through the 10th. He recorded 10 outs in the series and picked up his first career win.
At the plate: Belt had a career-high 104 walks last season. With three against Urias and one by Josh Fields on Wednesday, he's on pace for 123.
In the field: Belt and Samardzija teamed up for one of the plays of the year in the eighth. Belt went a healthy distance into foul territory for a weird grounder and made a quick throw back to the bag. Samardzija made a leaping grab and got a foot down before Puig could slide into first.
Attendance: The Dodgers announced a crowd of 50,215 human beings who missed out on the frightening televised shot of Clayton Kershaw teaching Urias pitch grips in the dugout.
Up next: A day off! (In Cincinnati, though.) The Giants will face Bronson Arroyo, Amir Garrett and Scott Feldman at Great American Ball Park.