For Ricky Nolasco the third time was not the charm on Wednesday night. He struggled again, and old friend Tony Abreu knocked in four runs to lead the Giants over the Dodgers 6-4 in the middle game of a three-game series at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
After a pinch double by Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez came to the plate with two outs in the ninth inning representing the tying run. But Ramirez, who was 2-for-4 with two home runs as a Dodger against Giants closer Sergio Romo, was robbed of a base hit by a diving play by Nick Noonan at third base to end the game.
The Giants loaded the bases against Nolasco with nobody out in the second inning. After Brandon Crawford struck out, former Dodgers infielder Tony Abreu tripled off the glove of Yasiel Puig in right field for a 3-0 Giants lead.
Barry Zito retired the first nine Dodgers on the night, but before the name Billy Chapel could be heard Zito had trouble with the second time through the order. After Puig and Carl Crawford singled to open the fourth inning, Matt Kemp lined a ball off the top of the left field wall. He just missed a game-tying three-run home run but settled for an RBI double.
Jerry Hairston grounded a ball under the glove of shortstop Brandon Crawford to give the Dodgers one of those runs, but Kemp was stranded and the Dodgers trailed 3-2.
San Francisco answered back in the bottom of the fourth, when Buster Posey singled and Pablo Sandoval followed with a fly ball to left field that, unlike Kemp's ball, found its way over the fence. The opposite-field two-run home run put the Dodgers behind 5-2.
Abreu later added a pop fly double in the sixth inning to drive in a run, another ball Puig nearly caught, this time on a diving attempt. Abreu not only drove in a career-high four runs, but he has homered, tripled and doubled so far in the two-game series. Abreu has at least one extra-base hit in three straight games, his longest streak since four straight games in 2007 with the Dodgers, in his second week in the majors.
The start was the third consecutive bad start for Nolasco, who allowed six runs in his 5⅔ innings, though he did strikeout seven with just one walk. Nolasco has allowed 17 earned runs in 12 innings in his last three starts, after allowing 17 earned runs in 74 innings in his first 12 starts as a Dodger.
- Kemp drove in two runs and was 3-for-4 on Thursday. Since is activation from the disabled list Kemp is 11-for-28 (.393) with three doubles and a home run in nine games.
- Crawford was 2-for-4 with two runs scored, his second straight multi-hit game. One of Crawford's hits was a double, giving him a fourth season with 30 or more doubles.
- J.P. Howell struck out just three of his previous 29 batters entering Wednesday night, over eight innings. But he struck out all three batters he faced in the seventh inning, giving him 54 in 61⅓ innings this season.
- Dodgers pitchers struck out 12 on the night, giving them 41 games with double-digit strikeouts this season, third-most in the National League.
- For those interested in handicapping the NLDS roster, Dee Gordon pinch hit for Hairston (0-for-19 slump) to lead off the ninth inning. Gordon popped out to catcher.
The Dodgers go for the series win on Thursday night with Edinson Volquez on the mound. Tim Lincecum starts the series finale for the Giants.
Home run: Pablo Sandoval (14)
WP - Barry Zito (5-11): 5 IP, 4 hits, 2 runs (1 earned), 1 strikeout
LP - Ricky Nolasco (13-11): 5⅔ IP, 8 hits, 6 runs, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts
Sv - Sergio Romo (37): 1 IP, 1 hit