LOS ANGELES — Splitting the opening series at Dodger Stadium was always going to be viewed as a success.
Splitting the opening series at Dodger Stadium after being destroyed, 17-2, over the first two games will be studied by priests concerning whether the Los Angeles cutouts on hand witnessed a miracle.
Just for good measure, the Giants did it in shocking fashion: a go-ahead single from a player who entered the game 0-for-10 with five strikeouts and, in the year 2020, by manufacturing another run.
Mauricio Dubon’s sixth-inning single put the Giants ahead, some rarely seen wheels from Darin Ruf helped add a cushion and the San Francisco pitching was superb in beating Los Angeles 3-1 on Sunday and somehow leaving Dodger Stadium with a 2-2 record.
The Giants were obliterated Thursday and Friday against righty starters, their lefty lineup an obvious weak spot in the early going. The righties have fared much better, though, and the struggling Dubon singled home Donovan Solano off reliever Adam Kolarek to snap a 1-1 tie to put the Giants ahead for good.
Ruf walked in the seventh and somehow stole second — catcher Will Smith double-clutched, possibly because he was watching the 33-year-old with one career MLB steal going — and then threw late. Solano singled the big first baseman and (today) left fielder in for insurance.
It made an excellent start from Drew Smyly and a series of impressive bullpen arms stand up. Smyly, who threw a clean inning Thursday, lasted 3 1/3 innings and 64 pitches, his only run coming via a Cody Bellinger third-inning single. With two on and two outs though, Chris Taylor flew out — a solidly hit shot that Mike Yastrzemski tracked down in right field — and Smyly was trusted for just one more batter in the fourth.
In his wake came power arm after power arm. Shaun Anderson was most impressive, getting three outs, two of which on strikeouts, which pushes his season total to two innings, five strikeouts.
Wandy Peralta, Rico Garcia, Sam Coonrod, Tyler Rogers and Trevor Gott followed, only Rogers getting into major trouble.
In the eighth, Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger stacked a couple singles against Rogers, who then hit Corey Seager to load the bases. But the submariner, who made a couple nice plays covering first in the inning, induced a ground ball from Kike Hernandez to escape.
An inning later Gott allowed a leadoff double to AJ Pollock — the first extra-base hit of the game — but Gott bounced back and survived a long Mookie Betts flyball.
The strangest moment came in the sixth, when Corey Seager lined to deep left, where curiously Ruf was playing and not Alex Dickerson. But Ruf’s first look this year in the outfield was a good one, ranging back and catching it against the wall — which opened. Someone left the gate to the bullpen unlocked.
Bit of a… Ruf moment 😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/llI9hVeISz
— SFGiants (@SFGiants) July 27, 2020
It was an eventful day for Ruf, whose steal was the Giants’ second of the year — of course Tyler Heineman got the first earlier in the game.
And it was a near miraculous few days for the Giants, who were outscored 22-8 in the series but return to Tuesday’s Oracle Park home opener against the Padres a .500 ballclub in a season that will have 16 playoff teams.