Dodgers 0 Giants 2: No Ninth Inning Heroics
By Alex Campos
The Dodgers left all the runners on base and dropped game two.
The Dodgers failed to capitalize on momentum in game two against the Giants. The Giants’ bullpen was extremely effective tonight, and that made all the difference in their 2-0 win.
Rich Hill cruised through the first inning, but needed some help from his defense in the second.
Brandon Crawford hit a two-out single in the second, and Brandon Belt followed it up with a single of his own. Crawford tried going first-to-third, but Andrew Toles threw him out from left field. Even more costly than the out was that Crawford dislocated his pinky on the slide and was removed from the game.
Hill worked out of another jam in the fourth. Buster Posey and Hunter Pence hit back-to-back singles, and Joe Panik drew a walk to load the bases with two outs. This time, Hill didn’t need his defense as he struck out Belt to escape trouble.
The Giants cracked Hill in the fifth, as Eduardo Nunez hit a two-out solo homer to left. It was originally ruled a triple, but instant replay clearly showed the ball hit off a security-camera like thing past the left field wall.
Hill finished the fifth and was pulled for a pinch hitter. His spot was due up first in the lineup (and Hill is legit one of the worst hitting pitchers I’ve ever seen), so Roberts brought in a pinch hitter. It was a peculiar call and Hill probably had at least another inning or two in him, but that ended Hill’s night.
The Giants hit Hill pretty well tonight, as they had six hits in five innings. Hill also walked a batter, but he struck out seven and held the Giants to the one run.
The Dodgers had Johnny Cueto in trouble all night, but couldn’t crack him.
They had at least one baserunner on in each of the first five innings, but had nothing to show for it. LA had a runner in scoring position in the first, second, third and fifth innings, but some untimely hitting kept them off the board. It’s not often a team registers eight hits and a walk against Cueto through five innings, but the Dodgers managed to do that and not score. Impressive, really.
The Dodgers caught a pair of breaks in the sixth inning. The first came on a routine grounder to short by Josh Reddick. With Crawford injured, Ehire Adrianza was playing short (not his normal position) and booted a grounder. The second break came in the form of an awkward landing on a pitch by Cueto to Toles. Cueto appeared to pull something, but he stayed in the game long enough to walk Toles. After the walk, he motioned to Bruce Bochy that he couldn’t continue, and the Giants were forced to go to the bullpen after only 86 pitches by Cueto.
The Giants brought in lefty Steven Okert, so the Dodgers countered by pinch hitting Yasiel Puig for Joc Pederson. Puig struck out, and Enrique Hernandez pinch hit and did the same.
Okert also got the eighth, and while he allowed a single he got five outs without allowing a run, something this Giants team desperately needed.
The Giants went to another lefty, Will Smith, in the eighth. He followed Okert’s lead and picked up two strikeouts in a perfect inning. They sent in Sergio Romo with a two-run lead in the ninth. Romo retired the side in order to preserve the shutout.
Pedro Baez was first out of the bullpen for the Dodgers. Posey gave him a hard time and singled to right, but Baez got a foul out and strikeout. Roberts played the percentages and brought Luis Avilan to face the left-handed Panik, and Avilan needed three pitches to strike him out.
Adam Liberatore got the seventh and needed 17 pitches to get three outs. He didn’t allow a baserunner, so while he’s struggled since returning from the DL, his last few outings have been much better.
Josh Fields got the eighth and allowed a one-out single. Posey hit a deep sac fly to advance the runner to second, which allowed Fields to intentionally walk Pence. The Giants brought Angel Pagan into the game to pinch hit, and he grounded out to end the threat.
Grant Dayton came on in the ninth and allowed a solo shot to Brandon Belt for an insurance run. That’s the first run Dayton’s allowed in his last 14 outings and the fourth he’s allowed in 24.2 innings. Dayton was pulled after another single for Louis Coleman, who allowed a single but got two deep flyouts to end the inning.
The loss means the magic number remains at seven and the division lead shrinks to five games. It was a miserable game, but isn’t all that unexpected with Cueto on the hill. Pitching faired well, but the Dodgers just couldn’t get that key hit to bring in any of the 10 they left on base.
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The Dodgers fall back under 20 games above .500 and are now 85-66. A seven-game lead would be nice, but five up with 12 left to play is still reasonably safe.
Life doesn’t get much easier for the Dodgers tomorrow, as the Giants will send a lefty to the mound. Matt Moore will take on Kenta Maeda.