Stults hurls shutout as Dodgers top Giants
Eric Stults turned in his second career shutout. Center fielder Matt Kemp helped out with three outstanding defensive plays. Juan Pierre finished with three RBIs.
There were plenty of stars in the Los Angeles Dodgers' first win since Manny Ramirez was suspended.
Stults pitched a four-hitter and Pierre had three hits to help the Dodgers beat the San Francisco Giants 8-0 on Saturday.
"Obviously, shutouts are special - and for me, it's like a no-hitter," Stults said. "I think I owe Matt Kemp some dinner. He ran down some balls today and made some great plays, especially in key situations with runners on base."
Juan Castro had three hits and drove in two runs for the defending NL champions, who are 1-2 since Ramirez was banished for 50 games by Major League Baseball after testing positive for a banned drug.
Stults, who was recalled from Triple-A on April 11 to replace the injured Hiroki Kuroda in the rotation, threw 123 pitches while striking out five and walking none in his third start against the Giants this season. The 29-year-old left-hander also had an RBI single during the Dodgers' three-run eighth.
"I really wasn't thinking about pitch count. I was just trying to get outs,"' Stults said. "I didn't do that very well last time I faced them, so I was just trying to get contact early so I could work deeper into the game. You definitely know what their strengths and weakness are after facing them a couple of times."
Stults (4-1) gave the Dodgers their first complete game of the season, going the distance for the second time in 20 career starts. His other complete game came on June 25, when he beat the Chicago White Sox 5-0 at Dodger Stadium with a four-hitter and threw 116 pitches.
"We were going to get him after eight innings because we figured that was enough, but we just gave him the option," manager Joe Torre said. "We were going to send him out there one man at a time, then we tagged on a few more runs and decided we were going to just shoot for the shutout."
Stults gave up a leadoff double to Edgar Renteria in the ninth. One out later, cleanup hitter Bengie Molina drove a ball to right-center and Kemp caught it on the dead run before his momentum sent him crashing to the ground.
"He's a highlight film," Torre said. "When I watched him last year, I thought right field was his best position - and it may still be. But he's improved so much in center field, getting jumps off the ball."
Stults was forced to work out of another jam in the sixth, after three-time Gold Glove second baseman Orlando Hudson misplayed a throw from third baseman Casey Blake on an attempted force play with two out. But Kemp raced toward the warning track to grab Randy Winn's flyball.
In the first inning, Kemp took an extra-base hit away from Winn before colliding with the fence.
"I just couldn't keep the ball away from Kemp," Winn said. "That guy's got all the tools in the world. I hit two balls good and got nothing for it."
Stults retired his first 13 batters before giving up a first-pitch double to left-center by Aaron Rowand, who had only one hit in his previous 27 at-bats and no extra-base hits in his previous 60 at-bats. Rowand was stranded at third on a tapper toward the mound by Juan Uribe, who is 0 for 12 this season with runners in scoring position.
Pierre had two doubles and recorded his first three RBIs since taking over in left field for Ramirez.
"Juan Pierre is a good player. I mean, he's not Manny, but he does a lot of things offensively that are going to help you win ballgames," Winn said. "People talk bad about him, but I saw up on the message board that he's a career .300 hitter. He's got a lot of hits and at-bats under his belt. And if you put him in the top of any lineup, he creates havoc. He gets on base, he works the count and he steals bases."
Jonathan Sanchez (1-3) gave up five runs and six hits, walked four and struck out four in five innings. The left-hander is 0-2 with a 5.19 ERA in five starts against Los Angeles.
The shutout was the third for the Dodgers' pitching staff. ... Pierre batted leadoff in place of SS Rafael Furcal, who had the day off. Castro made his fourth start at SS since returning to the Dodgers. ... Uribe is the only player to bat against Stults in both of his shutouts. He was a pinch hitter in the first one, fouling out to first.