SAN FRANCISCO The Los Angeles Dodgers have been the pace car in the NL West all season.The Giants sideswiped them off the road Monday night.They battered the Dodgers in a spark shower of hits in the first two innings and Barry Zito did what he usually does when given a double-Chinet helping of run support. He held down the opposition for seven shutout innings and the Giants delivered a crowd-pleasing, 8-0 victory over their archrivals Monday night.Giants manager Bruce Bochy made one statement prior to the game, when he decided not to push Buster Posey and instead gave his cleanup-hitting catcher a day off. It was just a game in June, Bochy said, even though the Dodgers have led the NL West all season.RELATED: Bochy explains Posey's absence vs. Dodgers
The Giants made their own statement while getting within two games of L.A. the closest theyve been to first place in the NL West since April 7, when they were 0-2. Pablo Sandoval made a huge impact with a 3-for-3, three-RBI performance that included two doubles and a sacrifice fly.The sellout crowd proved a point: Even when its painfully obvious, its still fun to chant Beat LA.Starting pitching reportA familiar groan went through the ballpark when Zito walked leadoff hitter Dee Gordon in the first inning, and why not? Zito was coming off three consecutive losses and had his hat handed to him each time.But Zito (6-5) got Elian Herrera to ground into a double play, and once the Giants flooded him with run support, the left-hander got into a groove while throwing quality strikes.Zito didnt walk a batter after the second inning. In one of his best starts of the year, he held the Dodgers to three hits in seven shutout innings and walked off the mound to a standing ovation.It was the third time this season that Zito went at least seven innings without allowing a run. He also improved to 117-7 in his career when receiving at least four runs of support (32-3 as a Giant).And for good measure, Zito also drew a walk and scored a run for the first time since 2010. Hes scored seven runs over his 13-year major league career.Bullpen reportGeorge Kontos and Shane Loux each spun a scoreless inning to record the Giants seventh shutout victory of the season and their first since Matt Cains perfect game June 13.At the plateThe Giants battered young Nate Eovaldi for eight runs on 10 hits in five innings, and after a time, you began to wonder if Dodgers manager Don Mattingly forgot to pack any relievers on this road trip.The Giants four-run first inning included some good karma. After Ryan Theriot and Melky Cabrera singled, Angel Pagan hit a grounder that doinked off the first base bag and caromed into right field for an RBI double.Sandoval followed by roping a double down the right field line that scored a pair. Sandoval later doubled off the bricks as part of a three-hit, three-RBI night his first game with multiple extra-base hits since May 1, when he broke the hamate bone in his left hand.Sandoval also contributed a sacrifice fly as the Giants took a 7-0 lead in a three-run second inning. Zitos leadoff walk began that rally.In fieldZito got 11 outs in the air, and not all of them were routine. Pagan and Cabrera ran everything down with aplomb. Sandoval contributed a nice play at third base, too.There was a scary moment in the ninth when Sanchez took a foul ball to the side of the helmet that appeared to send small pieces of it flying. But he was checked by trainers and stayed in the game.Andre Ethier had his own close call in the sixth inning when he was struck on the shoulder by a Zito curveball. Ethier appeared to glare at the mound before taking his base; he was taken out as part of a double-switch in the sixth inning.AttendanceThe Giants announced 42,164 paid. And zero beach balls. What are the odds?Up nextThe Giants and Dodgers tangle for the second game in their three-game series Tuesday night. Right-hander Ryan Vogelsong (6-3, 2.41) will try to outpitch left-hander Clayton Kershaw (5-3, 2.73) for the second time this season. Back on May 8 at Dodger Stadium, Vogelsong made Brett Pills two-run home run off Kershaw stand up in a 2-1 victory.