A five-hour contest of extreme highs and lows ended in the most inevitable fashion possible for the Dodgers. On the day Paco Rodriguez was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque, Brandon League was the losing pitcher, allowing a walk-off single from Hector Sanchez in the 12th inning giving the Giants a 3-2 win in the first game of a three-game series at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
"I'm confident in Brandon. He's one of our guys," manager Don Mattingly said after the game (per the SportsNet LA broadcast). "He's going to have to get some big outs for us, and we're going to keep using him."
Not that is was all the fault of League, the seventh pitcher used by the Dodger on Tuesday night. He allowed a one-out single to to Brandon Crawford, then a would-be double play ball by Brandon Hicks was booted by Juan Uribe at third. The ricochet went directly to Hanley Ramirez, who threw out Hicks at first, but the inning continued for Sanchez's heroics.
It was an otherwise stellar night for Uribe, who had his MLB-best fifth three-hit game of the year, including a home run and a double. He scored both Dodgers runs, and even stabbed an earlier hard grounder by Hicks to start an inning-ending double play in the eighth.
That was when the Dodgers had the lead, at 2-1.
But Kenley Jansen blew a save for the second consecutive Tuesday, allowing a base hit off his leg by Angel Pagan with one out in the ninth, followed by a Brandon Belt double hit inside of third base and down the left field line to score Pagan from first base with the tying run.
The Dodgers looked dead in the 10th inning, with the bases loaded against Jamey Wright and one out. They brought in Andre Ethier from left field to first base, shifting Adrian Gonzalez between first and second for a five-man infield. But Wright somehow recovered to induce a popup by Angel Pagan and a fly out to left by Belt.
The Giants squandered several opportunities of their own, and were 0-for-5 with the bases loaded.
The Dodgers might have had a 3-1 lead when in the top of the ninth when Yasiel Puig tripled with one out, but Andre Ethier struck out and Uribe grounded out to strand Puig at third base.
Both starters only went five innings, each leaving with pitch counts in the 90s. Josh Beckett struck out four but walked five, but escaped without allowing a run. Tim Lincecum allowed a run on five hits while striking out five with no walks (he only has one walk in three starts this season).
Beckett walked Lincecum with one out in the third inning, the second walk issued to a pitcher by the Dodgers this season. Hyun-Jin Ryu walked Josh Collmenter on March 23 in Sydney. In 2013, the Dodgers walked 11 pitchers, tied for sixth-most in the National League.
But the walk did no damage, as Lincecum took off on a line drive to right field and was easily doubled off by Puig to end the frame. Both teams loaded the bases with one out in the fourth inning, and both teams stranded the runners. Lincecum struck out Uribe and Tim Federowicz, while Beckett struck out Mike Morse and got Brandon Crawford to ground out to third base.
Beckett loaded the bases again in the fifth but somehow escaped again, getting Buster Posey to fly out to center to end the inning. Mattingly wasn't about to take a chance on Beckett throwing another inning, so Chris Withrow was brought in for the sixth inning.
Naturally, the Giants scored.
The first run of the year against Withrow came wrapped in a bow thanks to a throwing error by Ramirez and a wild pitch past Federowicz, allowing the Giants to tie the game 1-1 before the go-ahead rally by the Dodgers in the seventh.
- Gonzalez extended his hitting streak to 10 games, but saw his eight-game extra-base hit streak and four-game home run streak end.
- Matt Kemp didn't start the game, but was 2-for-2 after entering the game as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning. The first hit was the first single of the year for Kemp, who had three home runs and a double before Tuesday.
- Chone Figgins struck out as a pinch hitter in the top of the 12th, then stayed in the game to play left field in the bottom of the inning. It was his first time playing the field this season, in his eighth game. Naturally the first ball was hit to Figgins, who caught it.
The Dodgers look to rebound on what is now later today, and will send Paul Maholm to the mound for his first start since losing to the Giants on April 5. San Francisco counters with Ryan Vogelsong.
Home run: Juan Uribe (2)
WP - Yusmeiro Petit (1-1): 1 IP, 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
LP - Brandon League (0-1): ⅔ IP, 2 hits, 1 run