The Giants led 2-1 heading into the top of the ninth Saturday, and for once this series, it looked like the team with the lead could escape with a clean win.
The Dodgers (4-2) weren’t going to roll over and let that happen. They wanted their shot at a comeback win, they needed a shift in momentum heading into Game 4 of this rivalry series.
And that they got, pulling ahead in the 10th to secure the 3-2 win over the Giants (4-2) on a soggy Saturday afternoon.
The Opening Week excitement was swinging too far to the Giants, it seems, and the Dodgers had to pull it back a bit, said Bruce Bochy:
“We did it the first two games. It’s been a great series.”
Just as rain began to pour, Santiago Casilla blew the save. He allowed a walk to Chase Utley, gave up a two-strike Yasiel Puig hit and clobbered Justin Turner with a pitch to juice the bases in the top of the ninth with one out.
Adrian Gonzalez came up and slapped a two-strike soft grounder to Kelby Tomlinson, who fumbled it on the potential turn at home while Utley sprinted across the plate to tie the game at 2-2. Tomlinson got the out at first.
The Giants had been nursing a slim one-run lead, that was perhaps was too good to be all for the day, thanks to two bombs off starter Clayton Kershaw.
One, of course, was a Bumgarner Bomb, a second-inning inside fastball that the southpaw pulled to his favorite spot in the park.
Bumgarner and Yovani Gallardo now stand at 12 dingers each, tied for most among active pitchers.
Ehire Adrianza cracked his second career homer in the fifth, his first in 222 at bats. The two homers marked the first time Kershaw has given up two in a game to the eight and nine batters.
Bumgarner now has two career home runs against his southpaw rival; Buster Posey is only other Giant to have as many against Kershaw.
But, like Jake Peavy and Matt Cain the previous two nights, Kershaw kept the game winnable for the Dodgers. And, after last night’s debacle, his offense made sure to return the favor.
The flu bogged down Bumgarner in his last start against the Brewers (5 IP, 5 hits, 3 ER, 5 BB, 2 K), a sluggish transition with his command from an iffy Spring in which he gave up 28 hits and 17 runs in his four starts.
Today, he looked to be headed on the right track. Not in midseason form — no one is, Bumgarner noted — but getting there, said Bochy:
“I look at the game he pitched today, that’s great game. We’re going against the best pitcher in baseball and to lead with your closer out there, that’s all you can ask for.”
He gave up just one earned run despite frequent activity on the bases. He escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first and nicked Scott Van Slyke on the elbow with the bases loaded in the fifth to allow his only earned run.
“I felt pretty good with the results from my end. It would have been nice to pull that one out but, that’s the way it goes. We gotta come back out ready tomorrow to go again.”
Kershaw lasted a bit longer; he was his typical efficient self, throwing 90 pitches in eight innings of work. He only gave up four hits, including of course the two bombs.
Though the rival pitchers both took no-decisions, this one really ended up swinging Kershaw’s way.