Giants 2, Dodgers 1
Manager Bruce Bochy teases Buster Posey all the time that there is not much more he can accomplish considering how much he has done already at all of age 26 - Rookie of the Year, NL batting champion and MVP, two World Series championships.
Add his first walkoff home run to that remarkable list.
Posey hit a game-ending home run into the left-field seats leading off the bottom of the ninth, and the San Francisco Giants beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-1 on Friday night.
''He's the guy you want up there. He ran a deep count there,'' Bochy said. ''It doesn't come at a better time than when he hit it. That's another great comeback for us.''
Sergio Romo (2-2) struck out two in the top of the inning and survived Matt Kemp's nine-pitch single for the victory.
Posey connected for his first career game-winning RBI of any kind on a 3-2 pitch from Ronald Belisario (2-3), who hadn't allowed a run in his previous four appearances over six innings. Only a few innings earlier, Posey got thrown out at the plate trying to score from second base in the sixth inning.
''Just enjoying the moment, taking in all the excitement,'' Posey said of rounding third. ''It's a good one. It's a good feeling. It was already a long game for a 1-1 game into the ninth. It's a good win.''
Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw pitched seven strong innings five days after the death of his father, Christopher, and 56 hours after the funeral in Texas.
The Dodgers lost shortstop Hanley Ramirez to what manager Don Mattingly considered a significant left hamstring injury - yet further injuries for the club. Ramirez began the season on the disabled list after tearing a ligament in his right thumb in San Francisco's ballpark during the final of the World Baseball Classic for the champion Dominican Republic in March. He had surgery March 22 - and he had just come off the DL from that injury Monday.
''It sounds like he got it pretty good,'' Mattingly said. ''It's usually a pretty good amount of time. It's not like he's going to be back in a couple days.''
Mattingly and GM Ned Colletti met afterward to discuss the team's infield options considering second baseman Mark Ellis still could need a DL stint.
Ramirez, aboard on a leadoff walk, grabbed the back of his left leg just above the knee after getting thrown out sliding into third as he tried to go first to third on A.J. Ellis' single. Replays showed he might have hurt his hamstring rounding second base. He was helped off the field by the athletic trainers.
''We can't keep losing guys at this rate,'' Mattingly said. ''This is going to end. Right now it doesn't look very good. ... I'm not confident about anything at this moment.''
Angel Pagan drew a leadoff walk in the fourth for the Giants first baserunner against Kershaw, who then retired Marco Scutaro on a shallow fly to left and Pablo Sandoval on a grounder. Pagan advanced to third on a passed ball with Posey at the plate, so he was intentionally walked. Hunter Pence struck out swinging to end the threat.
Kershaw, who homered against the Giants in the April 1 season opener at Dodger Stadium, doubled to lead off the fifth.
Marco Scutaro's one-out triple to the gap in right-center broke up the no-hit bid, then Posey's double to the wall in right two batters later tied the game.
Posey was thrown out at the plate trying to score on Hunter Pence's single. Posey, the NL MVP, slid with his right leg leading and collided hard with catcher Ellis - bringing back memories of when Posey was on the other end of a devastating collision with Scott Cousins, as the Giants catcher suffered season-ending left leg and ankle injuries nearly two years ago, on May 25, 2011.
''I've slid into home many times before. You're just trying to get to the plate,'' Posey said. ''I was able to slide right in between his legs so it wasn't too bad.''
Right fielder Andre Ethier made the catch of the night. With Andres Torres aboard on a one-out walk, Ethier chased down a high fly ball by Brandon Belt for a pretty running catch on the warning track in the deepest part of the ballpark in front of the 421-foot sign in right-center.
Barry Zito allowed the leadoff hitter to reach base in each of the first five innings, but twice avoided trouble with double plays turned by the defense. He induced an inning-ending double play by Kemp in the fifth after the Dodgers took the lead.
Zito left with a second straight no-decision after giving up a leadoff walk to Ramirez in the sixth. Zito walked four and struck out one.
He could relate to Kershaw's challenge after losing his mother and helping his father through health scares.
''It's never easy to lose anyone in your family,'' Zito said. ''Going through what I went through personally with my father and also my mother back in the day, baseball became kind of the escape. It seems like he's able to come out here and have fun and be able to enjoy the game for what it is. When you're off the field it's just a real difficult situation.''
Dodgers first baseman and cleanup hitter Adrian Gonzalez was a late scratch because of neck pain. He collided with the umpire on Wednesday.
Notes: Ellis missed his sixth straight game since leaving last Friday's game against Milwaukee with a strained right quadriceps muscle after running out a grounder to the pitcher in the sixth. ... Highlights of the Golden State Warriors were shown after the fourth inning along with a congratulatory message for the NBA franchise headed for the second round of the playoffs.