Giants Upend Dodgers 5-2
In the first game of a three-game series between the Dodgers and San Francisco Giants, there was a lot of thumbing through the rule book. However it was the Giants on the winning side of the ledger with a 5-2 win extending the Dodgers’ losing streak to five games.
“It was strange,” manager Joe Torre admitted. “You’ve got a couple of timing plays in the same game, then the swing and the miss and the hit-in-the-foot, and all of that stuff. There was a lot of weird stuff that went on.”
The first timing play was in the sixth inning with the Dodgers trailing 4-0. After Rafael Furcal led off inning with a homer that landed in the Dodger bullpen 415 feet away for the first Dodger run, Jamey Carroll singled and James Loney walked ending Giants’ starter Madison Bumgarner’s night. Former Dodger reliever Guillermo Mota, after throwing a pickoff play to second base into shallow center field allowing Carroll to go to third and Loney to second, got Kemp to ground to a fielder’s choice at third base. However third baseman Sandoval opted to tag Loney out after Carroll had crossed home plate allowing the Dodgers to score a run and cut into the Giants lead 4-2.
What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, or what’s good for the Dodgers is good for the Giants. In the eighth inning Freddy Sanchez hit a sacrifice line out double play - no kidding. With the bases loaded with one out Sanchez lined out to Ethier. Ishikawa tagged up on third and scored before the Dodgers were able to double off Torres on first giving the Giants a 5-2 lead.
The swing and the miss and the hit-in-the-foot was in the eighth inning with Kemp on first and two outs. Ronnie Belliard swung and missed on the third strike that went bouncing into the seats behind home plate sending him to first base. However after home plate umpire Mike Everitt called a conference with the other three umpires, it was determined the ball hit Belliard as he swung rendering him out on the spot and ending the inning.
“They did the right thing,” Torre said about the conference. “Mike Everitt didn’t see it, and he checked with the other guys. I think [Giants’ catcher Buster] Posey brought it to their attention.”
Dodgers’ starter James McDonald (0-1) making his first appearance with the Dodgers since October 4, 2009 struggled through his five innings of work.
In the first inning McDonald retired the side in order on 15 pitches while only making five pitches outside the strike zone.
Unfortunately a first inning does not a game make, and things just went down the drain for McDonald.
The second inning was more indicative of what was to come. After giving up a leadoff walk to Buster Posey, McDonald gave up back-to-back singles by Pablo Sandoval and Juan Uribe which loaded the bases with no outs.
Fortunately he managed to slither his way out of the inning with the bottom-of-the-order guys: a three-pitch strikeout of Travis Ishikawa; infield fly to second base by Nate Schierholtz; slow grounder by Madison Bumgarner.
In the third inning, the rest of the lineup had their way with McDonald. With Torres on second after a leadoff double and two outs, Posey singled him home and Sandoval doubled Posey home for the Giants 2-0 lead.
And the bottom of the order got their revenge in the fourth inning. After a leadoff single by Ishikawa, Shierholtz hit a homer that just cleared the right field wall over the scoreboard for the 4-0 lead.
“I thought he had good stuff,” Torre said of McDonald’s start. “For the most part I thought he threw the ball well. I was impressed with the way he threw the ball.”
Torre further elaborated, “Throwing the ball good isn’t good enough if you don’t locate it. I thought his stuff was good. I thought he had good off-speed stuff. His slider, which is a new pitch for him, I thought he used that effectively.
“But there were a couple of counts where he got ahead and probably made the pitches a little too fat.”
While Torre was noncommittal about giving McDonald another start, he added, “He certainly didn’t disappoint.”
McDonald himself felt good after his first start.
“I felt decent, okay,” McDonald said. “I’ve got to tip my hat to them. They put some good swings on the ball on good pitches. They’re swinging the bat real well right now.”
Unfortunately the same can’t be said for the Dodgers offense in the first five innings. They were just about as effective as McDonald mustering only four singles - two by Matt Kemp and two by Russell Martin. Base running goofs didn’t help things any. In the first inning a ball Andre Ethier hit that he thought was foul was actually ruled in play. As Ethier stood in the batter’s box he was tagged out by the catcher Posey. In the second inning after hitting a two-out single, Kemp was caught too far out from first base getting run out of inning.
A big problem for the Dodgers in this game was leaving 11 runners on base.
“We’ve left a lot of men on base lately,” Torre said. “I think it’s getting our head now because some of the opportunities I think we’re probably squeezing the sawdust out of the bats a little bit.”
A video tribute before the second inning of Dodger coaches and players sprinkled in with Yankees players and manager Joe Girardi wishing Joe Torre a happy 70th birthday was played. Torre received a standing ovation as he took a curtain call. Derek Jeter received a nice round of booing.