Aaron Rowand's seventh-inning leadoff triple proved to be the difference, as the Dodgers lost to the Giants, 5-4, in the second game of a three-game set at AT&T Park. The Dodgers offense showed signs of life, but weren't able to take full advantage of their opportunities on a cold night in San Francisco.
The Dodgers were able to knock out Tim Lincecum in the sixth inning, but had a chance to really do some damage. The Dodgers were patient all night against Lincecum, running up his pitch count, and finally got on the scoreboard with three runs on four hits in the fourth inning.
That 3-0 lead didn't last long, as the Giants scored two runs in both the fourth and fifth innings to claim the lead. Chad Billingsley had a lot of movement on his pitches, which at times was great, as he struck out six batters in five innings. However, sometimes he had too much movement, specifically on two pitches to Buster Posey, who capitalized with RBI singles in both the fourth and fifth innings. Billingsley also allowed a double to Pablo Sandoval on a pitch that nearly bounced. Billingsley, like Lincecum, left early, throwing 99 pitches in his five innings.
Billingsley has allowed 12 runs and 24 baserunners in 14 innings through three games, but he has also allowed a .356 batting average on balls in play. He didn't sound worried. "It's just one of those days. Overall I felt pretty good out there. I had good command of all my pitches," Billingsley said after the game. "Some balls found holes."
Andre Ethier opened the sixth inning with a grounder just behind the mound that looked to be in no man's land, but Lincecum made a magnificent play on the ball, turned and fired to first just ahead of Ethier. That out proved to be a big play, as the next three batters reached base, on singled by Matt Kemp and James Loney, and Lincecum hitting Uribe with a pitch for the second time this season. Uribe was displeased with the final pitch of the night from Lincecum, as Uribe could clearly be seen on the broadcast saying "Wow" while looking visibly annoyed, but it seems obvious that there was nothing intentional about that HBP.
Guillermo Mota came into the game with the bases loaded and one out, a chance for the Dodgers to reclaim the lead. But instead they got nothing, as Rod Barajas struck out and Aaron Miles popped out to end the threat. The Dodgers weren't dead yet though, as Marcus Thames hit his first home run as a Dodger one inning later, a pinch-hit to tie the game off southpaw reliever and part-time peacekeeper Jeremy Affeldt.
However, the Giants got the lead right back in the bottom of the seventh inning, as Rowand opened the inning with a shot to triples alley in right center field off Blake Hawksworth. Three pitches later, Hawksworth uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Rowand to score the go-ahead run.
San Francisco relievers retired the final seven Dodgers, including the final four by strikeout. When he's not busy purchasing men's hair coloring products, Giants' closer Brian Wilson has some pretty nasty stuff on the mound. Wilson overmatched Xavier Paul, Tony Gwynn, and Jamey Carroll to end the game for his first save of the season, as Ethier and Kemp waited for another chance that never came.
- Matt Kemp had another stellar night tonight, with a double, a single, and two walks. Kemp has reached base in 17 of his last 23 plate appearances.
- Kemp was also caught stealing tonight, for the first time this season.
- Ethier had two more hits, including a double, and has a nine-game hitting streak. If it's possible to hit .381/.447/.476 quietly, Ethier is doing it.
- Vin Scully chimed in on Giants' reliever Sergio Romo in the eighth inning: "Romo checks in at 5'11", 185...without the beard.
- Ted Lilly and Jonathan Sanchez do battle Wednesday night in the rubber game of the series.
WP - Jeremy Affeldt (1-0): 1 IP, 2 hits, 1 run, 1 walk
LP - Blake Hawksworth (1-1): 2 IP, 2 hits, 1 run, 1 walk
Sv - Brian Wilson (1): 1 IP, 3 strikeouts