Cueto Stumbles, Then Stands Tall to Beat Dodgers

By Ben Leonard

As the Giants showed on Sunday, no lead is too big for them to come back from. Even when Johnny Cueto was knocked around for a five-spot in the first inning, the Giants didn’t back down, rallying behind Cueto to take the series from the Dodgers 9-6.

The team that fell behind first in every game this series won, which probably says something about this rivalry more than anything else. Sunday, the comeback was behind three home runs that brought the Giants back, which gave them eight in the four game series.

After two RBI singles from Brandon Belt and Matt Duffy in the first inning, Buster Posey hit a solo shot in the third inning, followed by a Belt two-run shot to tie up the game. The Dodgers would score one more run on a Corey Seager RBI single in the fourth, but after that, the Giants kept it rolling and never looked back. In the bottom of the fourth, Angel Pagan hit his first home run as a right-handed hitter since 2014 to tie the game, and Joe Panik hit a 2 RBI double deep into the gap in left center to break the tie.

Cueto really struggled with control in the first, walking two and giving up five hits, but really settled in after that. Pence and Pagan came up to him after that inning and told him to “keep the game at 5-0 and we’ll do the rest.”

Clearly, he listened, doing well to gut through seven innings, giving up just five hits and one walk in the remaining six innings, somehow pulling out the win. Cueto was remarkably efficient, needing only 104 pitches to get through those seven innings while striking out eight.

Next up, the Giants will travel to Coors Field for a three-game set, with Jeff Samardzija taking the hill in the series opener. They’re not making it easy on him to make a good second impression.