AT&T PARK — In front of a raucous orange and blue crowd, Los Angeles outfielder Yasiel Puig cemented his place as public enemy No. 1 in this fierce divisional rivalry.
Led by Puig, the Dodgers shelled starter Tim Lincecum (L, 9-7, 3.96 ERA) for six runs on way to a 8-1 thumping in the opener of this three-game series at AT&T Park.
Puig, who was reinstated to the Dodgers lineup today after suffering and injury, went 4-for-5 on the night with three triples — the first player to do so in the majors since Denard Span in 2010.
Starting pitcher Zack Grienke (W, 12-6, 2.74 ERA) backed up Puig’s effort with a strong showing of his own, throwing seven shutout innings, striking out 10 while allowing just four hits.
Photos by Godofredo Vasquez/SFBay
Not wasting anytime in this crucial series, the Dodgers offense struck against Lincecum in the first inning.
After lacing a ball into deep left-center, Yasiel Puig’s bat-flip celebration was spoiled after an official review ruled that the ball would have stayed in the park despite a fan reaching over the wall and interfering with the play, leaving the All-Star at third base.
Manager Bruch Bochy felt interference should have kept Puig at second, and came out to argue the call. After making his case, Bochy questioned the umpires’ judgement following the game:
“If it hits a fan and the ball gets redirected, I don’t know how the guy gets a triple. It’s not like he shot out of the box either. And that’s what I was trying to get reviewed again … I don’t agree with it and I think it’s the wrong call.”
Adrian Gonzalez would then pick his teammate up by sending a two-strike breaking ball into right field for an RBI single, giving Los Angeles an early 1-0 lead.
The run would snap Lincecum’s impressive 27-inning scoreless streak at AT&T Park.
Though Lincecum pitched just three days prior while recording his first save of his career against Philadelphia, Bochy didn’t feel that impromptu outing led to his struggles tonight:
“You never know. Unfortunately in our game, you have to throw a pitcher out of his routing whether it’s moving him up in a start or skip him a start. But I liked the way he was throwing the ball until the fifth inning.”
Puig, who entered the game batting an even .500 against Lincecum, would continue his dominance over the right-hander in the third with a lofting double to center just out of the reach of the diving Gregor Blanco.
Lincecum would escape the jam after forcing Gonzalez to hit a lazy roller to second base to end the inning.
It took the Giants until the bottom of the fourth inning to register a hit against Grienke, when Pablo Sandoval sent a grounder down the line past Juan Uribe, who had robbed Buster Posey of a hit the previous play.
After Morse followed with a single of his own — putting Sandoval in scoring position at second — newcomer Dan Uggla failed to appease his home crowd, grounding out to end the inning.
The wheels would quickly fall off for the Giants in the top of the fifth inning, breaking the game wide open in favor of the Dodgers.
Grienke began the scoring rally for the Dodgers after reaching base on a liner past the head of Lincecum for a single. Leadoff man Dee Gordon would then plate the pitcher after hitting an RBI triple between the right-center gap.
Puig, who had plagued Lincecum all game long, followed suit by hitting a nearly identical ball into the gap for an RBI triple of his own, putting the Dodgers up 3-0.
Things continued to go awry for the Giants as Gonzalez wasted no time in hitting his second RBI single of the game to further the deficit. After Hanley Ramirez followed with another single, Bochy elected to pull the struggling right-hander from the game.
Relief pitcher Juan Gutierrez promptly retired Carl Crawford, who nearly lined into a double play, yet he could not close the door on the inning.
Right fielder Matt Kemp drove a ball deep into triples alley off the face of arcade for the Dodgers’ third triple of the inning, giving Los Angeles a 6-0 advantage.
The triple closed the book on Lincecum’s night, who, despite striking out six throughout the course of the game, looked overpowered by Dodger hitters. Lincecum went 4-1/3 innings, giving up six runs on nine hits while fanning six.
Puig’s night wasn’t finished however. He followed up his previous at bat with his third triple of the night to the same right-center gap.
The shot plated Gordon who, after stealing second base in a 6-0 game, came around to score easily, giving the Dodgers a 7-0 lead.
When asked if he had comments about Puig following the game, Bochy was reserved in his answer:
“I don’t really wanna. He had a good night. We made some mistakes and good hitters take advantage of them.”
The slugger was finally retired in the top of the eighth, but not after yet another flamboyant Puig bat-flip resulted in a loud out to deep center field.
Like Gutierrez, reliever George Kontos also gave up a run during two innings of relief work to pad the Dodgers’ lead at 8-0.
The Giants avoided the shutout with a scoring opportunity in the bottom of the ninth against reliever Paul Malholm.
A walk and a pair of singles to Joe Panik and Brandon Crawford loaded the bases with one out. After Adam Duvall was called out on strikes, Tyler Colvin drove a single into right to plate Joaquin Arias, putting the Giants on the board.
Malholm would retire the following batter, Tony Abreu, on a fly ball to end the game.
The Giants face a daunting task in trying to give themselves a chance to win the series, when Ryan Vogelsong (5-7, 3.99 ERA) will take on ace Clayton Kershaw (11-2, 1.92 ERA) Saturday at 6:05 pm.
Prior to tonight, Tim Lincecum had gone 5-0 with a 1.34 ERA at home since May 23. … Hector Sanchez continues to take an alarming amount of tips off his mask. The catcher has been listed with a mild concussion and will miss some time. … Along with Uggla, the Giants also purchased infielder Tony Abreu’s contract on Friday as well. IF Ehire Adrianza and IF Marco Scutaro were placed on the 15-day disabled list to clear space. … Zack Grienke’s four-strikeout third inning was the first time any MLB pitcher has done that this season. It’s the fifth time a Dodgers pitcher has struck out four in an inning in franchise history. … The Dodgers’ five triples set a new record for the franchise.