Another night, another Giants catcher hits a walk-off home run to beat the Dodgers. Guillermo Quiroz hit a solo home run with one out in the 10th inning off Brandon League to send the Dodgers to a 10-9 defeat in 10 innings at AT&T Park, in what was easily the craziest game of the season.
Matt Magill needed 63 pitches to record just four outs, and allowed five runs in the process, leaving a lot of work for the bullpen. Down 5-0 and then 6-1, this game was really over for the Dodgers before it began.
Only it wasn't over. Not by a long shot.
The Dodgers hadn't scored more than seven runs in a game this season before Saturday night, which meant their seven-run fifth inning was quite a surprise, and a welcome one at that, as it gave them an 8-6 lead over the Dodgers.
It was the biggest single inning for the Dodgers since scoring eight runs in the second inning against the Padres on Aug. 30, 2011.
J.P. Howell was the Dodgers' latest reliever to 'take one for the team,' as he threw a season-high 38 pitches in relief of Magill. But Howell threw 2⅔ innings and got the Dodgers through four innings, which meant he was briefly the pitcher of record as the Dodgers took the lead in the fifth.
Javy Guerra allowed a booming home run to Andres Torres in the fifth, and left with the bases loaded and nobody out in the sixth inning with an 8-7 lead. It was an impossible situation for Paco Rodriguez.
But after Rodriguez struck out Brandons Crawford and Belt, it looked like he just might escape a jam. Until a wild pitch got past A.J. Ellis, allowing the tying run to score.
But the Dodgers bounced right back in the seventh inning, thanks to Dee Gordon. He walked, was sacrificed to second base, stole third base, then scored on an infield ground ball thanks to a fantastic slide at home plate. Gordon, who also tripled home two runs in the Dodgers' big fifth inning, was 2-for-4 with a walk, two stolen bases, and two runs scored in his 2013 debut.
The game was full of ups and downs, including that of Ronald Belisario. The beleagured reliever allowed a double and single to his first two batters faced in the seventh inning, putting the 9-8 lead in jeopardy. The lead was erased when Pablo Sandoval hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game, but that was the first of six straight batters in a row retired by the right-hander, who pitched two innings of relief.
Andre Ethier led off the eighth inning with a walk, one of two bases on balls he had in the game. But with left-hander Jeremy Afeldt in facing A.J. Ellis, manager Don Mattingly had A.J. Ellis bunt, which even had it worked would have had the left-handed hitting Skip Schumaker facing a lefty with runners in scoring position, not an ideal situation. But the move backfired in the worst way possible when Ellis bunted into a double play.
Kenley Jansen pitched in three of the last four days and was likely unavailable on Saturday, given how Mattingly used the bullpen. Mattingly never uses his closer in a tie game on the road unless he absolutely has to, but there was League in the ninth inning in a 9-9 tie.
Two walks and a one-out infield single by Sandoval set up Buster Posey, Friday's hero for San Francisco, with the bases loaded. But the Dodgers found borrowed time when Posey grounded into a double play to end the inning, and the threat.
League went out for a second inning in the 10th and struck out Hunter Pence before Quiroz ended the game.
Jerry Hairston felt tightness in his right groin when scoring in the fifth inning. He stayed in the game to bat again in the fifth inning, and made the last out of the inning. He was removed in a double switch to start the top of the switch. "It was a little something in there. They're telling me he's okay, but I'm not quite sure what that means until tomorrow," Mattingly said, via the Prime Ticket postgame show. "What tightened on him was the groin."
- At four hours, 11 minutes, Saturday was the longest Dodgers game of the season.
- A.J. Ellis went 2-for-5 with his second home run of the season and also walked. Ellis, Gordon and Ethier each reached base three times on Sunday night.
- Nick Punto walked as a pinch hitter in the fifth inning, then batted again in the 13-batter frame, and doubled.
- Luis Cruz didn't start, but ended up playing first base on Saturday, the first time in his major league career he played the position. The only other time Cruz played first base professionally was in 2009, when he played three games at first base for Triple-A Indianapolis.
Hyun-jin Ryu tries to stave off the sweep on Sunday night baseball on ESPN, facing Matt Cain for San Francisco.
Home runs: A.J. Ellis (2): Andres Torres (1); Guillermo Quiroz (1)
WP - Santiago Casilla (3-2): 2 IP, 1 hit, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts
LP - Brandon League (0-1): 1⅓ IP, 2 hits, 1 run, 2 walks, 1 strikeout