LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers offense complied with Madison Bumgarner’s wishes by not getting a good look at the Giants’ ace on Monday night. But they did get a good look at the San Francisco bullpen and scored two runs in the ninth inning to steal the series opener 2-1 on Monday night at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers’ win gives them a six-game lead in the National League West with 12 games to play, and lowers the magic number to clinch the division to seven.
Four straight hits to open the ninth inning, off three different San Francisco pitchers, erased a 1-0 deficit and ended the Giants’ night with another stunning September save blown. The game-winner was delivered on a double by Adrian Gonzalez off the wall in right field to score Corey Seager.
It was the 30th double of the season for Gonzalez, his seventh straight season with 30 doubles and 10th time in the last 11 years he has accomplished that feat.
The duel between Clayton Kershaw and Bumgarner was certainly as advertised, with the only thing putting and end to the matchup the Dodgers’ need for a run, and Kershaw’s spot in the batting order due up after just 88 pitches and six innings.
It was the longest of three outings since Kershaw’s return from missing 10 weeks with a herniated disc in his back, but he also retired his last seven batters faced.
"I don't think it's a pitch count thing. It's just monitoring him,” manager Dave Roberts said before the game. “He's here to pitch and help us get a win.”
Kershaw certainly pitched well enough to do that, allowing only three hits in his six innings. But with the Dodgers down 1-0, Roberts chose to pinch hit for Kershaw with Rob Segedin.
Bumgarner hit Segedin to lead off the sixth inning, but the Dodgers couldn’t hit Bumgarner, with the next three batters retired in order, two by strikeout.
It was that kind of a night for the Dodgers against Bumgarner, who hit more Dodgers batters (two) than he allowed hits (one). Bumgarner struck out 10 in his seven dominant innings, ending with a relatively harmless ground out up the first base line by Yasiel Puig to end the seventh.
But after Bumgarner celebrated the final out he appeared to be angry at Puig for looking at him, which in turn made Puig angry, and after the shouting, both benches emptied in what was more of an unfriendly get together than a melee or fracas.
But most importantly, after 97 dominant pitches Bumgarner’s night was done.
San Francisco scratched together one measly run against Kershaw in the third inning, with the only ball reaching the outfield coming on an errant throw by catcher Yasmani Grandal.
Eduardo Nunez reached with two outs in the third on an infield single off Kershaw’s glove and into no man’s land behind the mound toward second base. Nunez stole second on a curve ball and advanced to third when Grandal’s offline throw ended up in center field. Two pitches later, Kershaw threw a wild pitch, allowing Nunez to score.
Kershaw also walked Gorkys Hernandez in the fourth, a scoreless frame but one that added 23 pitches to his ledger. It was just the 10th walk of the season for Kershaw, who struck out 157 batters before reaching double digits in walks, a major league record.
Home runs: none
WP - Joe Blanton (6-2): 1 IP, 1 strikeout
LP - Javier Lopez (1-3): 0 IP, 1 hit, 1 run