Kershaw kills Giants again

AT&T PARK — It was a neck-and-neck rubber match at the yard Sunday, highlighted by pitchers Chad Gaudin and All-Star Clayton Kershaw and a tied score that neither the Giants or Dodgers could bust through.

But a bases clearing double by A.J. Ellis against Sergio Romo in the top of the ninth inning proved disastrous for the Orange and Black, who dropped the series finale 4-1.

Even with the rough late game loss, manager Bruce Bochy wasn’t disappointed with the overall performance of the ballclub:

Giants manager Bruce Bochy

Video: CSN Bay Area

“They came out and played hard today. And that’s not an easy task going up against their guy…You don’t expect to score a lot of runs, we were hoping to get enough to win the ballgame. I thought we just missed a few pitches. A few mistakes there. Overall it was a fairly clean game, because of the effort that our starter gave us.”

The starter being Gaudin, who had nine strikeouts and only one earned run in seven innings. He nearly matched Kershaw, who pitched eight innings giving up one run, striking out three.

Not bad for a guy who was just reactivated from the 15-day disabled list.

Bochy expressed how pleased he was with Gaudin’s outing:

“He was good, he was really good. He gave us what we needed…Impressive outing, especially with the lay off that he’s had. He was really locating well, threw strikes, looked sharp, showed no effects in the arm. Really did a really, really nice job there. Gave us a chance to win.”

Gaudin kicked off his first start since June 20 by retiring the first three Dodgers in order, including a four pitch strikeout to rookie sensation Yasiel Puig. Hunter Pence’s belly-slide catch to rob Adrian Gonzalez of a hit kept the rivals from getting on base in the first inning.

LA took the lead in the top of the second however, which started off with a stand-up triple by Hanley Ramirez. Andre Ethier hit a fly ball to shallow center that fell in front of Andres Torres and gave the speedy Ramirez time to run home and put the Dodgers on the board 1-0.

The Giants retaliated in the third, starting with a leadoff, first pitch double by Guillermo Quiroz. A wild pitch on Torres’ at-bat allowed Quiroz to advance to third. The catcher then challenged the arm of Ethier. Quiroz beat the throw back to home plate by a split-second, tying the game 1-1 on the sac-fly to center.

Gaudin’s most challenging half inning in the game came in the fourth, despite only facing three batters. Puig led off the half inning with a single, then stole second on Adrian Gonzalez’s at-bat. On the next at-bat Ramirez launched the ball just to the left of the left-field foul pole. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly challenged it was a home run, sending the play under review and Giants fans into a fury of jeers. The hit was ruled a foul ball, but Ramirez’s at-bat continued to be long and dramatic, as Mattingly came back out to try to charge Gaudin with a balk on a pick-off throw to second base. After play resumed, Puig attempted to steal third, only to be thrown out by Quiroz. Ramirez struck out and the Giants left the field with the 1-1 tie intact.

The tie held until the top of the ninth inning. Puig singled, and advanced to third on Gonzalez’s infield hit. A fielding error at first base by Buster Posey allowed Puig to advance to third.

When asked about the error by Posey, Bochy simply said:

“That’s not an easy play, trust me.”

With two outs and a Dodger on each base, A.J. Ellis smacked the ball into deep left center, clearing the bases and giving LA the 4-1 lead. Bochy says his team will stay positive:

“It’s a tough group. No question it’s a tough loss. Ninth inning with two outs, tie ballgame and close to getting out of it. But, these guys are resilient. They’re handling this as well as you can.”

The Giants will have to stay tough as their homestand continues Monday with the start of a three-game series against the New York Mets. Matt Harvey (7-2, 2.27) vs. Tim Lincecum (4-9, 4.66). First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.

Notes

Gaudin notched a season-high nine strikeouts. The last time he had nine-or-more strikeouts in a game was with the Padres against the Texas Rangers on June 28, 2009. … Pence is hitless in his last 22 at-bats. … The Dodgers-Giants season-series record is 6-6. … The Giants have dropped their last five series since taking two of three from the Padres on June 18-19. … Ramirez extends his hitting streak to 18-games. … Kershaw improves to 11-4 with a 1.32 E.R.A. (22 earned runs in 150 innings) lifetime against San Francisco.