LOS ANGELES (AP) — Joe Panik homered off Clayton Kershaw in the fifth inning and the San Francisco Giants beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 1-0 on Thursday, dealing the three-time NL Cy Young Award winner his first loss in his franchise-record eighth consecutive opening day start.
It was the first run allowed this year by Kershaw, including spring training. The seven hits given up by the left-hander are the most off him on opening day, when he is 5-1.
Kershaw struck out seven and walked two in six innings.
Andrew McCutchen, acquired from Pittsburgh during the offseason, was 1 for 4 with a double in his Giants debut. Evan Longoria, obtained by San Francisco from Tampa Bay, was 0 for 4 with three strikeouts.
San Francisco’s pitching stood out against the defending NL champions, with replacements in the starting and closing roles.
Ty Blach opened in place of injured ace Madison Bumgarner, who is on the disabled list along with fellow starter Jeff Samardzija and closer Mark Melancon. Blach allowed three hits in five innings, struck out three and walked three in his first opening-day start after 26 career starts in the majors, second-fewest of any Giants opening day starter since 1958.
Hunter Strickland gave up a leadoff single to Matt Kemp in the ninth before retiring three straight batters for the save.
Kershaw had his hands full from the start against the NL West’s worst team last year, giving up hits in every inning but the third when he retired the side.
The five-time NL West champion Dodgers had the potential tying run on third in the seventh. Yasmani Grandal singled and took third on pinch-hitter Chase Utley’s two-out single. But leadoff hitter Chris Taylor was out on a called third strike from Cory Gearrin.
After Kershaw departed, J.T. Chargois, Josh Fields and Tony Cingrani combined to toss three scoreless innings, but the Dodgers couldn’t generate any offense beyond three singles.
Giants: Melancon has a right elbow flexor strain.
Dodgers: They began the season with three players on the DL: 3B Justin Turner (broken wrist), RHP Tom Koehler (shoulder) and LHP Julio Urias (shoulder surgery).
The Giants start RHP Johnny Cueto against the Dodgers’ LHP Alex Wood, a 16-game winner last year, on Friday in the second game of the four-game series.
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