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García, Doval, Star relieved as the Giants beat the Dodgers 3-2 in the Pride Day game

Saturday’s Pride Day at Oracle Park was fun, festive and featured all sorts of nifty pitches, and at least the San Francisco Giants fans went home happy.

The lively, sold-out crowd included nearly as much Dodgers support as Giants, with a healthy touch of rainbow throughout, and Los Angeles had Clayton Kershaw on the mound after missing more than a month with back problems. The Giants scored twice against Kershaw in the second game, Thairo Estrada slammed a solo homer, and they tied up a lot of bullpen play in the 3-2 win over the Dodgers, when first Jarlín García and then Camilo Doval took center stage.

“One of the things that struck me out there was how calm both Jarlín and Doval were,” said coach Gabe Kapler, crediting Spanish-speaking coach Nick Ortiz with helping him deal effectively with the two throughout the game to communicate. “They knew these were big moments in the game that felt a lot like playoff vibes, but they could settle down and deliver strikes — big ones.”

The Giants have won the first two games of the three-game series against the NL West league leaders after losing two games at Dodger Stadium earlier in the season.

“I think this is the right moment to show them that we also have talent, that we are competitive,” said García, with Erwin Higueros interpreting. “With two wins at the moment I think it was just a perfect message for her.”

Sam Long started and worked three innings and allowed three hits, but Saturday’s most stunning relief came from García, who got in in the seventh after the Dodgers loaded bases against Zack Littell with no outs. García went 3-1 with Freddie Freeman before knocking him out, leading Trea Turner to bat into a double play.

García didn’t have quite as much success in game eight, but the Giants’ sloppy defense had something to do with it. After a one-out single from Will Smith, Estrada couldn’t handle a hard grounder from Justin Turner, sending men to the corners, and Smith scored with Cody Bellinger’s ground-rule double.

Doval, who had his ups and downs in his first full season in the Big League, came in and walked Chris Taylor before defeating Gavin Lux and taking on Mookie Betts in the most intense moment of the game.

“I wasn’t worried at all,” García said of the difficult situation Doval was in. “I know he’s a kid who has a lot of talent and, most importantly, is able to control his emotions. He will achieve great things here.”

Doval went 3-2 to Mookie Betts and when the fans were on their feet and roaring he couldn’t hear Curt Casali giving the signal over the PitchCom and had to dismount and wait a second before making Betts follow to hit a slider.

“The adrenaline is very different, I like that,” said Doval, with Higueros interpreting. “Just seeing the fans go crazy.”

The Giants got an eighth-place run from a wild Craig Kimbrel, who gave Joc Pederson a leadoff single, took him wild to second, walked Wilmer Flores and Estrada, and allowed a run on another wild. That run turned out to be huge when Freeman hammered a leading homer by José Álvarez in ninth place. Álvarez hadn’t allowed a homer to a left-hander since 2019 until Tuesday, when Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon caught him; Freeman managed two in one week.

Another left-hander, Turner, got a base hit, then Álvarez hit Max Muncy and nearly got a double-play ball from Smith if it wasn’t for Estrada’s first throw. After an infield single from Hanser Alberto, Estrada made a nice play to his left for a Bellinger grounder, initially causing him to close the game.

The Dodgers had 13 hits but stranded 14 runners on Saturday.

For the first time in major league history, both teams wore Pride colors integrated into their caps’ logos, with no holdouts on either side. Before the game, Elton John’s Greatest Hits was the soundtrack of choice at the Giants’ clubhouse; Former umpire Dale Scott, who is gay, attended the lineup change; and trans advocate and multiple Jeopardy! Winner Amy Schneider threw out the first pitch.

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