Said catcher Bengie Molina, "I think every series is important. I think [this one] is more important, now that we've lost three in a row."
The atmosphere is always competitive when the longtime rivals meet. They played a spirited season series last year, splitting their 18 games. In typical Giants-Dodgers fashion, eight of those games were decided by one run -- with the Giants winning six -- and three others were settled by two-run margins.
The Giants opened last season at Los Angeles, though they'd prefer to forget that event. They collected five hits in a 5-0 loss to the Dodgers. That launched a skid in which San Francisco dropped six of its first seven games.
At 2-4, the Giants are barely better off this year than last. Establishing some consistency against Los Angeles would not only be timely but also beneficial in the short term. The teams meet again April 27-29 in San Francisco and return to Dodger Stadium May 8-10. Obviously, performing respectably against Los Angeles will be essential to the Giants' hopes of remaining competitive in the National League West as the July 31 Trade Deadline approaches.
SF: LHP Randy Johnson (0-1, 7.20 ERA)
The Big Unit thrived at the outset of his San Francisco regular-season debut Wednesday, striking out two batters in each of the first three innings. Johnson finished with seven strikeouts in five innings, but he also finished with a loss as the opposing pitcher, Milwaukee's Yovani Galllardo, belted a three-run homer. Johnson remains five wins away from becoming the 24th pitcher in history to win 300 games. He has never lost at Dodger Stadium, where he's 7-0 in 11 outings with a 2.04 ERA.
LAD: RHP Chad Billingsley (1-0, 3.00 ERA)
Billingsley showed no negative effects from his playoff debacle against Philly, the broken leg he suffered in the winter or the strained groin from the spring. Five of his six innings against San Diego were scoreless, the only blemish a two-run hitless fifth inning when he suddenly couldn't throw a strike and walked three consecutive batters. He takes the ball for the home opener against the Giants and Johnson. He had a 2.08 ERA against the Giants in four starts last year.
Right fielder Randy Winn and left fielder Fred Lewis still have hit safely in each game. Winn extended his streak Sunday with a sixth-inning infield single, while Lewis needed a ninth-inning double to keep pace. Lewis has reached base safely in 14 of 25 plate appearances, compared with Winn's 12-for-28. Entering Sunday, only Florida's Emilio Bonifacio and St. Louis' Albert Pujols had reached base more than Lewis. ... Despite their losing record, the Giants have outhit opponents, 51-49. ... Center fielder Eugenio Velez's seventh-inning fielding error was the Giants' second of the season and broke a four-game errorless streak.
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Official game notes
KNBR 680, KIQI (Español)
Wednesday: Giants (Matt Cain, 1-0, 1.29) at Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw, 0-0, 1.80), 7:10 p.m. PT
Thursday: Giants (Barry Zito, 0-1, 9.00) at Dodgers (Eric Stults, 1-0, 1.69), 7:10 p.m. PT