SAN FRANCISCO -- Buster Posey led off the bottom of the ninth inning with a home run to left field, breaking a tie and lifting the San Francisco Giants to a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night in the opener of a three-game series between the California rivals.
Despite getting out-hit 11-4, the Giants survived a start by nemesis Clayton Kershaw, who was making his first appearance since a stint on the bereavement list following the death of his father. Kershaw, who has the best ERA among all active pitchers against the Giants, had shut out San Francisco 4-0 on Opening Day.
Kershaw was long gone, as was Giants starter Barry Zito, before Posey came to the plate in the last of the ninth against the third Dodgers pitcher, Ronald Belisario (2-3). The reigning National League Most Valuable Player, who had driven in San Francisco's first run with a sixth-inning double, took the right-hander to a full count before smacking a liner that easily cleared the fence in left field for his fourth homer of the season.
Sergio Romo (2-2), who pitched a scoreless top of the ninth, was the winning pitcher in the opener of a 10-game Giants homestand.
The Dodgers appear to have lost more than just a game as Hanley Ramirez had to leave the game with what looked to be a serious hamstring injury.
In just his fourth game since returning from the disabled list due to a hand injury, Ramirez was injured attempting to go first-to-third in the sixth inning on an A.J. Ellis single to right field. He grabbed at the back of his left leg in pain immediately after sliding into third -- he was out on the play -- and had to be helped to the Los Angeles dugout.
The Dodgers were already unexpectedly short-handed for the game when slugging first baseman Adrian Gonzalez had to be scratched from starting lineup because of a sore neck. Ramirez moved into Gonzalez's cleanup spot.
Zito was pulled one batter into the sixth inning after having surrendered his fourth walk of the night. The walks, coupled with six hits, had him pitching from the stretch almost all night, but he allowed only the one run, benefiting from three double plays.
The run allowed was the first for Zito this season at AT&T Park after 25 1/3 scoreless innings.
Zito left trailing 1-0, but wound up with no decision after the Giants tied the game in the last of the sixth on Posey's double to right-center, scoring Marco Scutaro, who had belted a one-out triple to the same park of the ballpark. Scutaro's hit ended Kershaw's no-hit bid after 5 1/3 innings.
The Giants nearly took the lead one batter later, but Dodgers centerfielder Matt Kemp gunned down Posey at the plate with an on-the-fly throw to catcher Ellis following Hunter Pence's single.
The single, double and triple off Kershaw in the sixth were the only hits he allowed in seven innings. He left without a decision after the 19th consecutive start in which he allowed three or fewer earned runs.
The Dodgers got the leadoff man on base in each of the first five innings against Zito, and it finally paid off with a run in the fifth, thanks to Kershaw.
The left-handed swinger battled Zito through a nine-pitch at-bat leading off the fifth, fouling off three consecutive fastballs on a 3-2 count before lacing a double just inside the left-field line.
Jerry Hairston Jr. sacrificed Kershaw to third, where he appeared to have every intent upon staying when Nick Punto's groundball between third baseman Pablo Sandoval and shortstop Joaquin Arias eluded a lunging Arias. Kershaw was able to jog home with the game's first run on what was ruled an RBI single.
NOTES: The winner of the opener has gone on to sweep the remaining games in five of the Giants' nine series this season. ... The Dodgers opened the series as the only Giants opponent to have recorded a winning record (60-57) in the history of San Francisco's AT&T Park. ... Dodgers left-hander Ted Lilly, who was originally scheduled to start Saturday's middle game of the series, was placed on the disabled list (retroactive to April 30) because of a strain in his right rib cage. Right-hander Matt Magill will make his second career start, opposing the Giants' Ryan Vogelsong. ... The Giants did some pregame roster shuffling of their own, activating reliever Jeremy Affeldt from the disabled list and promoting outfielder Francisco Peguero from Triple-A Fresno. They created room on the 25-man roster by sending third-string catcher Hector Sanchez and reliever Sandy Rosario to Fresno. ... Giants lefty reliever Jose Mijares is not with the team for the three-game Dodgers series. He's been placed on bereavement list following the death of his grandmother. ... Here's something you'd never have seen in the Sandy Koufax-Juan Marichal days of the Dodgers-Giants rivalry: A three-game weekend series with all night games. The Saturday night starts are a recent addition to the Giants' schedule. The Sunday-nighter is a product of ESPN's national schedule.