LOS ANGELES -- One time through the rotation, it appears this might be a new era of Giants baseball. They hit, they run, they light up the scoreboard -- and then they hold on for dear life.
The lineup scored every run of an 8-4 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first 12/3 innings. After that, the Giants, who have 31 runs through five games, were no-hit. Ryan Vogelsong allowed just one hit the first time through the order yet didn't complete the five innings required to qualify for what looked like a sure win.
"That was two different games," manager Bruce Bochy said. "It was just one of those days."
The enthusiasm from another early-season offensive outburst was tempered a bit by Vogelsong's line -- four innings, seven hits and four earned runs -- in his first start since signing back as the Giants' fifth starter.
Does Bochy believe better days are ahead?
"I hope so," Bochy said. "Hopefully he learns from this. He's got to find the way to attack the zone a little better at times in that situation."
That situation was a stunning one. After a classy pre-game ceremony that ended with Vin Scully, now in his 65th year with the Dodgers, tossing the ceremonial first pitch to Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax, the Giants quickly set about ruining opening day at Dodger Stadium.
Left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu walked Pablo Sandoval with two outs in the first and Buster Posey's double set the stage for Michael Morse, who had a run-scoring hit for the third straight day. Morse went to second on Matt Kemp's error and scored on Brandon Belt's soft flare to right field. The rally continued when Dee Gordon and Adrian Gonzalez lost Brandon Hicks' pop-up to the right side of the infield. The Dodgers intentionally walked Joaquin Arias to face Vogelsong, who didn't have an at-bat all spring. His first one of the regular season resulted in a two-run bloop single to left.
"I really couldn't call it a (base) knock," Vogelsong said. "It was more like a sand wedge, but you take them any way you can get them."
An Angel Pagan single brought another run home and gave the Giants their first ever six-run first inning at Dodger Stadium. It was the first time since 2002 that the Giants scored six runs in the first inning of a road game.
The Dodgers were reeling on what had already been a nervous day at Chavez Ravine. Enigmatic star Yasiel Puig was late to batting practice and pulled from the lineup in favor of Kemp, who was brought off the disabled list Friday. In the second inning, opening day turned into casual Friday. Hanley Ramirez's lazy throw to first base allowed Posey to reach on an error, and Posey scored when Kemp couldn't haul in a Hicks drive to the warning track. The second rally knocked Ryu out of the game after two innings, which proved to be a blessing for the Dodgers. Four relievers struck out 10 over the next seven innings.
In the meantime, the Dodgers lineup inched back. Vogelsong gave up back-to-back homers in the fourth and was knocked out in a two-run fifth. Vogelsong said he "got loose" with his delivery, leading to a mechanical issue that sapped him of velocity. It's a problem he said he's been fighting since the beginning of last season.
"It's a bad habit I've got," he said. "When I do things right mechanically, the ball comes out like it has forever."
The Giants caught a break in the fifth when Juan Uribe's liner off reliever David Huff found Sandoval's glove instead of left field, costing the Dodgers two runs.
Another rally was cut short by the first challenge victory for Bochy. Ramirez had singled off Juan Gutierriez to lead off the seventh and stole second. But Bochy challenged the call, and Ramirez was correctly ruled out. The air came out of Dodger Stadium, and Gutierriez, Jean Machi and Javier Lopez finished what Huff started. The relievers struck out seven over five scoreless innings.
Twice in five games the Giants have scored at least four runs in the first inning only to be shut down from then on. This time they held the lead. Vogelsong didn't last long enough to get a win, but the lineup and bullpen made sure he didn't pick up a loss on a day when he was searching for consistency.
"It was kind of a 50-50 day for me -- 50 percent good, 50 bad," he said. "But at the end of the day we won. It kind of makes it extra nice that we were kind of able to ruin their opening day here."
Giants (Madison Bumgarner, 0-0) at L.A. Dodgers (Paul Maholm, 0-0), 1:10 p.m. CSNBA, FS1
JAE C. HONG/ASSOCIATED PRESS
The Dodgers' Juan Uribe, right, reacts while being tagged by Giants catcher Buster Posey after he strikes out in the eighth inning.
harry how/getty images
Outfielders Juan Perez, from left, Angel Pagan and Hunter Pence celebrate the Giants' 8-4 victory, spoiling the Dodgers' home opener.