Walks burn Dodgers in loss to Giants

USA Today Sports

The Dodgers have lost five of seven games against the Giants this season.

LOS ANGELES -- J.P. Howell and Jamey Wright walked three batters in the 10th inning and two of them scored, giving the Giants a 3-1 win over the Dodgers on Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series at Dodger Stadium.

With the bases loaded, pinch hitter Hector Sanchez hit a fly ball to the warning track in right field off Jamey Wright for the go-ahead sacrifice fly, then Brandon Belt singled home Hunter Pence for an insurance run.

"Those guys were the right guys, but when you walk three guys in an inning, it's hard to keep them from scoring," manager Don Mattingly said.

The Dodgers fell to 3-6 in extra-inning games this season and 6-10 at home.

Josh Beckett came into the game with just three walks in his last three starts, so it was a bit of a surprise to see him walk three of his first seven batters on Thursday. But he was able to keep those three from scoring and once he settled in retired 15 of 18 batters at one point.

"I had to battle through the first few innings. I felt fine, but just didn't have a feel for my curveball," Beckett explained. "But the good thing was I didn't abandon it, kept throwing it, and finally got a feel for it."

Beckett did allow a leadoff double to his counterpart Ryan Vogelsong in the fifth inning, but got through the top of the San Francisco order with three ground balls. Beckett pitched scoreless ball into the seventh until allowing a solo home run to second baseman Brandon Hicks, tying the game at 1-1.

Beckett left the game having allowed just a run in 6⅔ innings, with four strikeouts. The right-hander has a 2.80 ERA to go with 34 strikeouts and 12 walks, but is winless in six starts thanks in part to the Dodgers scoring just eight total runs with him in the game.

"He was efficient. He threw a lot of strikes with a lot of his pitches. He changes speeds, front and back and side to side," said catcher Drew Butera. "He made some pitches when he had to."

Vogelsong retired the first 10 batters he faced before Yasiel Puig hit a smash off the glove of shortstop Brandon Crawford that was ruled a base hit in the fourth inning. Puig advanced to second base and might have scored but for Crawford, playing behind second base on an infield shift, robbing Adrian Gonzalez of a would-be RBI single with a stellar diving grab.

The Dodgers' only run against Vogelsong came in the fifth inning when Matt Kemp singled, advanced to second on a walk, then advanced home on a pair of fly ball outs, including a sacrifice fly by Drew Butera.

The Dodgers threatened for an insurance run in the sixth when Dee Gordon singled, stole second and advanced to third on a fly ball, but Crawford was again positioned perfectly to nab a ground ball up the middle by Gonzalez, turning it into an inning-ending double play.

"Adrian hits pretty much everything on the nose tonight, and with any of luck at all - one time Crawford's on one side of the base and the next time he's on the other side. If you switch those two, he's got two ribbies," Mattingly said."These are the type of games we seem to play with the Giants. It's that one pitch, that one out, a key hit changes the game."

The Dodgers brought the tying run to the plate against closer Sergio Romo but didn't score in the 10th inning.

Notes

Juan Uribe left the game after eight innings with mild soreness in his right hamstring.

The nine extra-inning games by the Dodgers this season tie their most through 36 team games, dating back to 1914. The 1919, 1920, and 1967 squads also played nine extra-inning games in their first 36 contests.

Gordon leads the majors with 21 stolen bases, but also has more steals than 12 different teams.

Chris Withrow, he of the two true outcomes, faced four batters on Thursday night. He walked one, and struck out two.

Puig extended his hitting streak to eight games, hitting .424 (14-for-33).

Crawford was 1-for-3 with a walk, extending his hitting streak to six games, hitting .550 (11-for-20) during the streak. He has reached base at least twice in four straight games.

Vogelsong pitched into the eighth allowing just one run. The Giants right-hander has allowed two runs in 20⅓ innings over his last three starts.

Thursday particulars

Home run: Brandon Hicks (6)

WP - Santiago Casilla (1-0): 1⅓ IP, 2 strikeouts

LP - J.P. Howell (1-3): ⅓ IP, 1 run, 1 walk

Sv - Sergio Romo (11): 1 IP, 1 HBP

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