Cruel sadist Madison Bumgarner kept the Dodgers' bats on ice, and at the plate the Giants ace homered against Clayton Kershaw in a 4-0 San Francisco win and a scoreless sweep at AT&T Park.
The Dodgers were shutout in all three losses to the Giants, the second scoreless sweep in San Francisco in four years, the first since June 25-27, 2012. Three straight shutouts ties the Dodgers record, dating back to 1914, which has been done four other times: 1937, 1962, 1966 and 2007.
The club's offensive futility, which has reached 31 consecutive innings without a run, even made Vin Scully think twice after keeping tabs on the scoreless streak with each passing frame.
"The Dodgers," Scully began, sending the game to commercial in the middle of the third inning, before pausing, "I'm not going to bother doing it anymore. It will only wear you out."
The Dodgers have scored two runs in their last five games, tied for the lowest-scoring five-game stretch in franchise history. The club also scored two runs in five games in 1984, 1992, and twice in 2012, though those two streaks three years ago saw four games overlap.
On Thursday afternoon, the Dodgers' story was the same old song and dance, with the Dodgers giving themselves a few chances. They actually had nine runners reach base against Bumgarner, and ran up his pitch count enough to get pulled with one out in the seventh inning. But the club couldn't cash anyone in.
The Dodgers were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position on Thursday, and were 0-for-17 with runers in scoring position in the series. They are 1-for-32 with RISP at AT&T Park this season, which has coincided with six Dodgers losses in six games.
San Francisco scored the run they needed in the third inning, when 2014 National League Silver Slugger award winner Bumgarner took Kershaw deep to left. Opposing pitchers had hit .093/.141/.105 in 410 career plate appearances against Kershaw entering Thursday, with four doubles as the only extra-base hits.
Clayton Kershaw had faced pitchers 410 times in his career w/out allowing a HR, 3rd-most among active P (Tim Hudson-523, A.J. Burnett-475)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 21, 2015
Kershaw for his part was fine, even including the home run allowed to Bumgarner. Kershaw struck out seven and pitched 7⅓ innings, matching his longest start of the season. He left allowing two runs, but also left runners on first and second base with one out.
Naturally, both scored, giving the Giants a 4-0 lead that might as well have been 20-0.
Kershaw this season has left a total of eight runners on base when departing his starts, and five have scored, with only the bacon-saving Pedro Baez strikeout of Troy Tulowitzki with the bases loaded on May 10 in Colorado not smudging Kershaw's ledger.
In 2014, Kershaw only bequeathed three runners all season, and one scored. He also left a start mid-inning only twice all season, including never in his final 23 regular season starts. This year, Kershaw has left mid-inning in five of his nine starts, including each of the last four starts.
The Dodgers get the hell out of San Francisco and return home for a six-game homestand beginning Friday night against the Padres at Dodger Stadium. Zack Greinke starts the opener for the Dodgers, with Andrew Cashner starting for San Diego.
Home run: Madison Bumgarner (1)
WP - Madison Bumgarner (5-2): 6⅓ IP, 7 hits, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts
LP - Clayton Kershaw (2-3): 7⅓ IP, 7 hits, 4 runs, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts