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In a battle of the bullpens the Dodgers lost 8-4.
After both starting pitchers gave up four runs, the San Francisco bullpen kept the Dodgers scoreless throughout the remainder of the game.
“They pitched better than we did it’s as simple as that,” manager Joe Torre said. “Their bullpen came in and did a heck of a job.”
A total of six Giants relievers pitched a combined 4 2/3 scoreless innings giving up only three hits and two walks while striking out five.
In the first five innings the Giants would strike a lead, but the Dodgers would respond to tie the game.
Things got off to a bang when Giants left fielder Eugenio Velez opened up the game with a solo homer, his fifth of the season. In the game Velez would be a triple short of the cycle.
The Dodgers would respond in the bottom the inning. After right fielder Andre Ethier got plunked in the back with the ball by Jonathan Sanchez, Manny Ramirez tied the game with a double to the left center field gap scoring Ethier.
Pablo Sanchez gave the Giants a 4-1 lead in the third inning with an Earl Weaver.
The Dodgers would come back thanks to a two-run homer by Manny in the fourth inning and a solo shot by Rafael Furcal with one out in the fifth inning.
But the Giants would pull away with back-to-back RBI doubles by Nate Schierholtz and Velez in the sixth inning off of Dodgers reliever Ramon Troncoso.
After Ronald Belisario came into the game with two outs in the sixth, he got the next four Giants hitters out.
Then Chad Billingsley came into the game in his first relief appearance since September 27, 2009 where he went two scoreless innings against the Giants in San Francisco. He would not fare so well tonight.
Billingsley gave up a solo shot to Aaron Rowand off in the eighth inning, and an RBI single to Juan Uribe in the ninth inning to give the Giants an 8-4 advantage.
“It’s frustrating,” Billingsley said of his outing.
“I’m trying to figure something out,” he continued. “That’s all I’m trying to do.”
“He threw a good number of pitches,” Torre said of Billingsley’s outing. “He’ll be on the mound Wednesday. He’s been down this road too often as one of our starters to have giving up a couple of runs affect anything.”
The Dodgers would try to tie the game up in the bottom of the eighth. With Casey Blake and Matt Kemp on first and second base, James Loney flew out to left.
Jim Thome came out to pinch hit giving the Dodger fans something to cheer about. He worked the count to 3-2. Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt threw an 80 mph slider to freeze Thome at the plate much to the crowd’s consternation.
“We had the tying run at the plate,” Torre said, “that’s all you really want.”
The Dodgers are now 7-9 on games after an off day, something Torre is always concerned with.
“My only concern after off days is that you’re ready to play,” Torre said, “and we were ready to play today. We just didn’t pitch well enough.”
Despite the loss Torre is feeling optimistic.
“I feel good about my club,” he said. “As long as they go out and they’re ready to play and they’re not taking anything for granted, I feel very good about my club”
The Dodgers still have their five game lead in the division intact thanks to the Colorado Rockies losing to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Their magic number to clinch the division is 10 and to make the playoffs is eight.
Manny Ramirez has hit safely in 18 of his last 20 games while Matt Kemp has hit safely in 10 consecutive games.