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Panik gets best of Kershaw with rare homer

Giants second baseman notches third career long ball vs. a southpaw
MLB.com @sfgiantsbeat

LOS ANGELES -- It took a rarity for the Giants to break a scoreless tie in their 1-0, season-opening victory Thursday against the Dodgers, as Joe Panik wrapped a two-out, fifth-inning homer around the right-field foul pole off Clayton Kershaw.

It was only the third career home run in 509 plate appearances off a left-handed pitcher by the left-handed-batting Panik, who hit 10 overall last year and now has 30 as a Major Leaguer.

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LOS ANGELES -- It took a rarity for the Giants to break a scoreless tie in their 1-0, season-opening victory Thursday against the Dodgers, as Joe Panik wrapped a two-out, fifth-inning homer around the right-field foul pole off Clayton Kershaw.

It was only the third career home run in 509 plate appearances off a left-handed pitcher by the left-handed-batting Panik, who hit 10 overall last year and now has 30 as a Major Leaguer.

View Full Game Coverage

Panik described the fateful 2-2 slider that Kershaw threw with a sidearmed motion as being a good pitch. Panik said his swing was "more of a reaction. The ball was running in on my hands."

Video: Bochy, Panik discuss Opening Day win, strong start

Panik, who joined the Giants during their most recent World Series-winning season, 2014, considered this an especially satisfying triumph, due to the collaborative effort that was required from the defense and bullpen.

"We need all 25 guys to step up," he said.

Panik also singled in the first inning, helping him improve his career batting average off Kershaw to .281 (9-for-32). Predictably enough, this was Panik's first extra-base hit off Kershaw, who entered the game having yielded 33 homers to lefties in 1,552 plate appearances.

Panik has hit safely in six of his last eight games at Dodger Stadium, batting .313 (10-for-32) in that stretch.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

San Francisco Giants, Joe Panik