The ninth matchup between left-handers Madison Bumgarner and Clayton Kershaw Friday night turned into a 7-3 upset for the San Francisco Giants as the Los Angeles Dodgers unleashed a powerful weapon: Kike Hernandez.
Hernandez lifted the Dodgers (7-4) right off the bat. On Bumgarner’s first pitch at Dodger Stadium, a fastball, Hernandez whacked a home run. In the third inning, the left-hander served up another fastball, and again, Hernandez hit a homer. And in the fourth inning, Hernandez doubled to the left to put the Dodgers up 6-1.
Bumgarner (L, 1-1, 4.50 ERA) said of Hernandez:
“He is just seeing the ball really good.”
The southpaw, who allowed seven runs in five innings before sitting, added:
“Well, I mean personally I could’ve made better pitches.”
The Giants’ fall in the first of three games against their rivals in Los Angeles also marked Bumgarner’s first loss to Kershaw on Dodgers turf.
Bumgarner downplayed the matchup with Kershaw:
“I’m looking forward to going out there every fifth day and it’s not any different. I know that’s not a very fun answer, but I like going out there and pitching and not necessarily any more because Kershaw is pitching.”
Kershaw (W, 2-0, 1.64 ERA), arguably the best pitcher in the game, didn’t have his best night either.
Bumgarner and Angel Pagan scored on wild pitches and Hunter Pence knocked in Joe Panik to bring the Giants (6-5) within 6-3 in the sixth inning, but Los Angeles’ A.J. Ellis scored on a single by Charlie Culberson to bring the Dodgers (7-4) back up 7-3.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Kershaw:
“He had a couple of wild pitches that helped out but the other guys had some decent at-bats. Like I said we created some pretty good chances there, and just couldn’t get another hit there to keep it a little bit closer.”
With Brandon Crawford sitting out Friday with a sore hip flexor, Giants infielder Kelby Tomlinson struggled in his place. Hitless in three at-bats, Tomlinson also bungled two plays at short, including a botched double play in the fourth that opened the door for Hernandez’s two-run double.
Los Angeles’ victory carries them into first place in the NL West, while the Giants (6-5) dropped to third.
On a lighter note for San Francisco, Derek Law in the seventh inning made his major league debut, throwing a curveball to strike out Adrian Gonzalez. The Dodgers’ Justin Turner got a triple, but soon after, Law struck out Howie Kendrick and Trayce Thompson.
Newbie Law said:
“I mean strike one I think in any play is important … I didn’t really put much thought into anybody – I’m just going to try and treat them all the same regardless of what level they’re in.”
The NL West rivals play the second in the series in Los Angeles on Saturday, with Johnny Cueto starting for the first time for the Giants and Scott Kazmir starting for the Dodgers. First pitch is at 6:10 p.m.