Giants dunk Dodgers, slice lead to one

AT&T PARK — Not even two months ago, the Los Angeles Dodgers swept the San Francisco Giants in a three-game series at AT&T Park that put the Dodgers atop the NL West.

The series featured a Clayton Kershaw shutout, a come-from-behind win, and a meager four runs total tallied by San Francisco’s offense.

But September’s Giants have a bit more swagger going into this series. Friday night, the Giants scored that many runs in the first inning alone en route to a 9-0 shutdown of their division rival; San Francisco is now just one game shy of taking back first place.

To re-take first place this weekend, Bruce Bochy‘s crew have to go through the Dodgers’ big three: Hyun-Jin Ryu, Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw.

Photos by Godofredo Vasquez/SFBay

 

In July, Dodgers’ starter Ryu (L, 14-7, 3.38 ERA) allowed six hits and three runs over six innings. Friday, he gave up five hits and four runs in one inning prompting his early departure due to shoulder irritation.

The Giants leapt on Ryu’s inside breaking balls for a long offensive burst that started with a double from two-spot hitter Joe Panik and ended with eight-spotter Brandon Crawford‘s RBI single.

Ryu faced the entire lineup and gave up four runs, three doubles, two singles, a walk and a couple wild pitches — a clear indication that something was up with the star lefty.

But the Giants didn’t let up after Ryu’s departure. A two-run homer from Brandon Crawford in the fifth and a three-run shot from pinch hitter Travis Ishikawa in the seventh — the 67th splash hit by a Giant and first for Ishikawa — were an extra punch of defeat.

Ishikawa — who has been on and off the bench and in and out of the minors for years — was relieved to get the splash hit:

“Took me eight years to finally do it. I remember a kid asking me if I’d ever done one and I could only say I’d done it in BP…I think when I first got up here it was down in the 30s so, it’s in the 60s now, finally able to get one at least.”

Crawford’s home run was his ninth on the season; He hadn’t hit one since mid-July.

They didn’t even need the breathing room, though, as Madison Bumgarner (W, 18-9, 2.91 ERA) and the bullpen pitched shutout baseball against a Dodgers offense that ranks third in the Majors in on-base percentage (.329).

Los Angeles mustered three hits against Bumgarner, who tallied nine strikeouts in seven innings. One of them, against former Giant Juan Uribe in the seventh inning, was his 207th on the season, surpassing Ray Sadecki (with 206) in the ranks as one of five Giants lefties (Cy Seymour, Rube Marquard and Jonathan Sanchez are the others) to record more than 200 strikeouts in a single season.

Bumgarner said he didn’t even know about the record:

“I didn’t know until I saw it on the board. … It’s a nice accomplishment, this teams been around for a while. It’s hard to believe really.”

Later, he deferred attention away from his performance to the bats:

“Offense did an unbelievable job, just kept scoring runs and that takes a bit of pressure off. You’re able to challenge (batters) a bit more. If you get behind in the count you’re not afraid to leave one up in the middle.”

The win also marks the Giants’ 10th straight home win, the longest since 2003 and, even so, surprising considering the team’s recent struggle to even string together two in a row at AT&T.

Bochy said the offense, combined with the consistent pitching, is bringing them to a new level at this stage in the season:

We had our struggles, we had some pretty good starts during that tough time too. I don’t know how many quality starts we had, there were quite a few in there and the bats just got quiet. Now the guys have the confidence. … this is where we’ve had a lot of success.”

The Giants are now only one game behind the Dodgers in the West, but face Greinke and Kershaw to finish the series this weekend.