Dodgers stretch lead as season grows short

AT&T PARK — Friday and Saturday night’s scoring fiascos between vengeful foes dueling for first place in the West warranted a relaxing Sunday afternoon to simply settle the matter.

The final game and the series went to the Los Angeles Dodgers as they edged out the Giants 4-2 and put San Francisco in worse position than they were before the series began, three games back with 13 to play.

Giants starting pitcher Yusmeiro Petit (L, 5-4, 1.70 ERA) faced two-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw in a pitching matchup that seemed lopsided at a glance.

But Petit rose to the occasion. He didn’t out-pitch Kershaw (W, 19-3, 1.70 ERA), but dealt seven innings giving up three earned runs and striking out eight on the way.

Photos by Godofredo Vasquez/SFBay

Though he allowed eight hits, including a whopping two-run homer to Matt Kemp in the sixth off a hanging slider, Petit was hitting his spots and managed to contain the explosive offense that racked 17 runs against this team yesterday.

Petit was visibly pumped up about his triumphs. He fist pumped and clapped his mitt after his successful innings. Bochy said he had a lot to be proud of, but the bats didn’t help much:

“He threw well. He gave us a chance and we had our chance. … The guys played hard, they fought hard.”

San Francisco’s offense couldn’t get much going against Los Angeles’ pride and joy; not surprising given the complete game, three-hit shutout Kershaw pitched the last time these two teams met.

Against a pitcher like Kershaw, the Giants could only dance on the edge of success against the lefty. The rookies broke though the Kershaw brick wall a bit, but some close calls kept them from putting up a bigger fight.

In the third, Joe Panik helped notch the first run with a bloop single over Dee Gordon‘s glove, putting Petit — who walked after a good at-bat against Kershaw — in scoring position. Posey smacked an RBI single in the following at-bat, but was tagged out in a questionable attempt to test Yasiel Puig‘s arm and stretch it into a double.

Posey didn’t regret his decision:

“I don’t feel like it was a terrible mistake. I think if the throw is offline a little bit I’m safe.”

Bochy said his club was trying to play more aggressively with Kershaw on the mound:

“These guys are doing all they can to help win a ball game. They’re playing aggressive, (Posey) said he lost the ball there. … I’m sure he’d want something like that back but, hey, these guys were going all out, that’s what he was doing.”

Matt Duffy got the second RBI after Andrew Susac and Arias singled in the seventh inning. Angel Pagan had a chance to continue the rally with two outs — the Giants have scored a Major League leading 254 runs with two outs this season — but a potential game-tying hit went foul by no more than an inch. He grounded out instead.

The Giants got a little unlucky this weekend but still hold a three-game lead in the NL Wild Card race. They now travel to Arizona to take on the Diamondbacks for a three-game series.