SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants erased a five-run first-inning deficit, slugging three homers off Scott Kazmir and beating the Dodgers in Sunday's series finale, 9-6, on Joe Panik's two-run tiebreaking double off J.P. Howell at AT&T Park."You score five runs in the first inning, you expect to win the game,"
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants erased a five-run first-inning deficit, slugging three homers off Scott Kazmir and beating the Dodgers in Sunday's series finale, 9-6, on Joe Panik's two-run tiebreaking double off J.P. Howell at AT&T Park.
"You score five runs in the first inning, you expect to win the game," said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.
Johnny Cueto hung in there for a seven-inning win, despite facing 10 batters in the five-run first. In the bottom of the frame, the Giants scored twice in a 31-pitch inning from Kazmir. By the bottom of the third, the Giants had tied the game on a solo homer from Buster Posey and a two-run shot by Brandon Belt.
"I thought it was important that we answer back," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "The long ball got us in the game. This offense picked us up in this series."
Kazmir, coming off six scoreless innings in his debut, also allowed a home run to Angel Pagan leading off the fourth inning, Kazmir's last, which retied the game after Chase Utley doubled and was singled home by Corey Seager in the top of the fourth.
"No excuses. I just didn't get it done," said Kazmir.
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MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Johnny, wake up! Prized offseason free-agent acquisition Cueto's AT&T Park debut as a Giant started with a nightmare first inning. He hit the game's leadoff hitter with his second pitch, hurt himself briefly while backing up Posey on a throw home and gave up five runs before he notched the game's second out. And yet, he emerged with a win.
Seager everywhere: In addition to hitting a pair of singles, driving in a run and scoring a run, Dodgers rookie shortstop Corey Seager made a barehand grab and threw out Cueto to end a fifth-inning threat with runners on first and second. Seager has a 10-game hitting streak dating to last season, the longest for a Dodgers rookie since Jerry Sands had 14 in 2011.
No reason to Panik here: The Giants managed to make it 6-6 heading into the sixth frame, then put runners on the corners with no outs for Panik, who had been hitless. He smacked a two-run double to left-center, punctuated by Denard Span's precise slide home for the second run, for the game-winning hit.
"I kind of had a feeling that after the kind of at-bat Dernard had, that [Howell] was going to try to work that sinker in, and he did the first couple of pitches," Panik said. "And then he made a mistake out over the plate. Honestly, I was looking for something out over the plate that I could handle, whether it was his curveball that I could kind of drive. I got that pitch and i didn't miss it."
Long-ball rarities: The last Dodgers pitcher to allow three homers to the Giants was Kaz Ishii in 2004 and the last to allow three in San Francisco was Ismael Valdez in 1997.
"We're looking forward to the day off." -- Roberts, with the home opener Tuesday
"These are intense games. I think whoever got the lead first in all four games lost. That just goes to show the character in this clubhouse." -- Panik on the series against the Dodgers
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Posey's third-inning home run gave the Giants seven consecutive games with homers, breaking the franchise record dating back to 1913. The previous streak was six, in 1948 and 2000.
The Dodgers won a challenge in the first inning, when Justin Turner was originally called out at first by umpire John Tumpane on a throw by catcher Posey to first baseman Belt after Turner's RBI single. Turner was ruled safe when the original call was overturned.
Dodgers: In Vin Scully's final home opener, Kenta Maeda makes his first home start for the Dodgers on Tuesday at 1:10 p.m. PT against the D-backs. Yasmani Grandal and Howie Kendrick are expected to be activated off the disabled list for the game.
Giants: San Francisco has a day off before the series opener at 5:40 p.m. PT on Tuesday against Colorado, the first of a seven-day, six-game road trip. Jeff Samardzija takes the mound for his second start as a Giant. He allowed three runs on eight hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings in his debut, a no-decision against the Brewers.
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Willie Bans is a contributor to MLB.com. Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com.