Clayton Kershaw pitched eight strong innings, allowing just two runs, but it wasn't enough. The Dodgers offense could only manage one run in their 2-1 loss to the Giants Tuesday night, as the Dodgers' demise was hastened by a pair of ill-fated bunts.
Down one run, the Dodgers threatened in the bottom of the seventh inning off Ryan Vogelsong when Juan Rivera and James Loney opened the frame with singles, but a Juan Uribe sacrifice bunt attempt turned into a 2-5-3 double play that effectively neutered the rally. Uribe has one successful sacrifice bunt attempt in the last three seasons.
Then in the eighth inning the Dodgers again put the first two guys on. But with Matt Kemp on deck, Mark Ellis sacrificed the runners to second and third, knowing full well that would take the bat out of the hands of the Dodgers' best hitter. Predictably, the Giants intentionally walked Kemp and brought in left-hander Javier Lopez to face Andre Ethier, a career .245/.305/.364 hitter against southpaws entering tonight's game.
Ethier, who had improved to .292/.358/.458 in 53 plate appearances against lefties this season, grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Buster Posey led off the second inning with a first-pitch single and Brett Pill followed by depositing a Kershaw fastball into the left field pavilion for a 2-0 Giants lead. It was just the fourth career home run Kershaw has allowed to the Giants, in 87 career innings. Pill joins an exclusive club that includes Chris Stewart, Bengie Molina, and Juan Uribe.
But after the home run and a brief second inning rally by San Francisco that ultimately fizzled, Kershaw recovered to retire 20 of the final 22 hitters he faced. He ended his night with seven strikeouts, allowing just five hits and one walk, and those two runs.
The Dodgers got on the board in the bottom of the second inning thanks to a pair of doubles. Ethier led off with a two-bagger, and one out later was driven home when James Loney drove a pitch to the gap in left center field.
Before the game, manager Don Mattingly said of Loney's production, "You've got to throw some numbers out there somehow, some way. It's that simple," and Loney responded with a 2-for-4 night.
Loney caught the Giants napping in the top of the fourth inning. With Pill on first base after a strikeout and passed ball, Joaquin Arias lofted a soft looper to first base. Loney alertly let the ball drop, then tagged Pill and beat Arias to first base for the unassisted double play.
Home Runs: Brett Pill (2)
WP - Ryan Vogelsong (1-2): 7 1/3 IP, 8 hits, 1 run, 3 walks, 1 strikeout
LP - Clayton Kershaw (2-1): 8 IP, 5 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts
Sv - Santiago Casilla (6): 1 up, 1 down