It's said that people never get a second chance to make a first impression, but Madison Bumgarner might be an exception.
Bumgarner's Opening Night start at Arizona last Monday was virtually a non-event. He lasted only four innings, and though he allowed four runs in the fourth inning, all of the scoring was unearned due to a couple of fielding errors.
Thus, Bumgarner emerged from his truncated outing with a 0.00 ERA, though he achieved that feat while being scored upon.
"It wasn't quite the way I drew it up, but however we get the win, we'll take it," said Bumgarner, who will face the Dodgers on Saturday.
Bumgarner, who allowed six hits and walked two, partially attributed his fluctuating command to his environs.
"Arizona is not the easiest place to pitch," he said, referring to the dry air and hitter-friendly conditions at Chase Field.
By contrast, Bumgarner has found a comfort zone against the Dodgers. He's 8-3 with a 2.58 ERA against them, including 3-1, 1.93 last year.
The same can't be said of Dodgers starter Paul Maholm, who's 2-3 with a 4.06 ERA in 10 lifetime appearances against San Francisco.
"We need him to get off to a good start, we need to win a game," Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis said. Referring to Bumgarner, Ellis added, "It's a tough matchup against one of the best pitchers in all of baseball and he always pitches great against us."
Dodgers: Bullpen excels vs. Giants
After Hyun-Jin Ryu lasted only two innings Friday, four Dodgers relievers threw a seven-inning no-hitter.
Jose Dominguez, Brandon League and Chris Withrow pitched two innings each with a combined 10 strikeouts out of 21 batters faced. Jamey Wright pitched a perfect ninth.
"The bullpen was really good today," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly after the 8-4 loss. "That game could have blown up our bullpen. It's a little silver lining."
Giants: Huff gets keener taste of rivalry
David Huff grew up near Los Angeles in Huntington Beach, so he knows all about the Giants-Dodgers rivalry.
"It kind of reminded me of the New York-Boston rivalry," said Huff, who pitched for the Yankees last year. "I kind of think they go hand in hand. The crowd is into it."
Friday, Huff got to experience Giants-Dodgers up close and personal. It almost got a little too personal.
"When I was warming up, it was ruthless," Huff said, describing the notoriously vocal fans who sit near the visitors' bullpen at Dodger Stadium. "It was awesome. It kind of got those competitive juices flowing."
Huff made the mistake of dropping a throw from the bullpen catcher. The fans howled.
"They were all over me," said Huff, who understood their behavior.
"I used to be one of them," he said. "I used to be the guy heckling the opposing pitcher."
• The fifth-inning homers Friday by Adrian Gonzalez and Andre Ethier were Los Angeles' first back-to-back home runs this season and first since Sept. 9 when Ethier and Juan Uribe connected consecutively.
• Dodgers second baseman Dee Gordon has hit safely in four of five games. After going 9-for-9 in stolen-base attempts during spring exhibitions, Gordon has been successful in all three of his stolen-base tries in the regular season.
• Reserve infielder Brandon Hicks, who started at second base for the Giants, tied personal single-game career highs by stroking two hits and scoring twice. He previously had two hits on July 27, 2012, at Baltimore and scored twice on July 18, 2012, at Texas and on the aforementioned July 27. He delivered those performances with the A's.
• The Giants' six-run first inning Friday was their most prolific opening frame since they had six on June 2, 2008, against the Mets. It also was their best first inning on the road since they amassed eight runs on July 2, 2002, at Colorado.