Sep 24, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Brian Wilson (00) pitches the ball against the San Francisco Giants during the eighth inning at AT&T.
Hyun-Jin Ryu pitched seven innings of shutout ball and red-hot Adrian Gonzalez went two for four, knocking in the deciding run with a single, as the Los Angeles Dodgers salvaged one of the three games of the series, 2-1, over the San Francisco Giants. It was the seventh consecutive one-run game, but this one ended up in the Dodgers’ favor.
Madison Bumgarner pitched four and a third innings, giving up two runs on six hits, with six strikeouts and three walks. Bumgarner’s body language strongly suggested that he was extremely frustrated with new home umpire Seth Buckminster, whose unwillingness to call strikes on the outside corner contributed to Bumgarner’s downfall. I watched again and again as Buster Posey’s glove never moved and Bumgarner repeatedly nailed it. Yusmeiro Petit came in with one on and one out in the fifth to relieve Bumgarner and threw one pitch, inducing a double play ball from Matt Kemp, and went on to pitch an uneventful sixth and seventh.
I have never been one to snivel about the umpiring, even when it’s obvious that all of the pitchers are adversely affected. That’s part of baseball. The fact remains though, that Bumgarner was completely taken out of his game because pitches that were normally called strikes, were being called balls today. Asking him to not react is fine if he can just go ahead and pitch his game; in this case, he couldn’t even do that.
The Giants were fortunate to be able to snag two of the three games, based on their hitting with runners in scoring position. By the end of today’s game, the Giants had collectively gone 4 for 40 with runners in that situation. That’s a .100 average, some serious slippage from last week. Of the Giants’ six hits, Ehire Adrianza had three and he didn’t even come into the game until the bottom of the fifth. He knocked in the only run of the game for the Giants in the ninth, bringing San Francisco to within one run.
Hunter Pence swinging hard on 9.21.13. Photo by Denise Walos
Pitching generally ruled the game. Ryu was strong, allowing base runners in every inning from the first through the fifth, but slamming the door in the sixth and seventh. Brian Wilson came on in the eighth, allowing his prerequisite two base runners, before Posey ended things by flying out to Matt Kemp to end the threat. Hanley Jansen pitched the ninth and ultimately got the save, but not before giving up the Giants’ only run.
The spotlight for the Giants has to be the bullpen, which only allowed two runs in 33 and one-third innings on the current homestand. The bullpen took a 1.89 ERA into Wednesday’s game, the second lowest in the major leagues. Petit and Jeremy Affeldt, who pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth, pitched very well in closing out the game for Bumgarner. One other bright spot is the continuing emergence of Hunter Pence, who had two hits and a walk in today’s loss.
The Giants had the right guys up, with runners in scoring position in the eighth and ninth innings, and that’s all you can ask for. The team took two out of three from the Dodgers, and now head down to San Diego, where they continue their extended saga against the National League West. The Giants have won four of the six meetings with the Dodgers this year and that is what matters more than anything else. Well, that and the fact that they are tied for first place.
Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig (66) went one for four today at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: ©Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports