Alex Wood and the Dodgers offense got off to hot starts on Saturday night but both ended up with nothing to show for it. The Giants pulled ahead, then poured it on against an increasingly leaky Dodgers bullpen in an 8-3 San Francisco triumph in the second game of a doubleheader at AT&T Park.
Just like the first game of the doubleheader, the Dodgers jumped on the Giants starter in the nightcap. Chris Taylor greeted Johnny Cueto with a double, followed by a Corey Seager home run, and just seven pitches into the game Los Angeles held a 2-0 advantage.
Yasmani Grandal followed with a single, giving the Dodgers three straight hits to start a game after piling up 15 runs on 20 hits in the day game. But then the faucet stopped.
Cueto settled in, retiring 18 of his next 20 batters faced, with no more hits to be found. The only Dodgers to reach base after the first against Cueto were Alex Verdugo and Kyle Farmer, who drew back-to-back walks to open the fifth. They were stranded.
The lack of insurance runs became especially relevant in the bottom of the fifth, when the Giants strung together three straight singles with one out to load the bases. Wood laid a changeup right down broadway and Austin Jackson made him pay with a three-run double into left field, turning the game around.
Wood faced the minimum through four, and his only hit allowed in those early frames was erased on a double play. A leadoff walk to Andrew McCutchen in the sixth proved costly when Brandon Belt singled him home with two outs, doubling the San Francisco lead.
After cruising through the first four innings in 35 pitches, Wood needed 50 pitches for his final two frames.
Once Cueto left the game the Dodgers got new life, thanks in large part to the wildness of Reyes Moronta, who loaded the bases with two walks and a single with nobody out. His first-pitch ball to pinch-hitter Austin Barnes brought the mid-batter hook for Moronta, who only threw five of his 15 pitches for strikes.
Barnes was ahead 2-0 against new pitcher Sam Dyson but then grounded into a double play to bring home one run. Taylor followed by getting called out on strikes with the tying run 90 feet away, Taylor’s MLB-leading 18th strikeout looking this season.
As if to taunt the Dodgers in the bottom of the seventh, the Giants waited until there were two outs to load the bases, after a pair of walks by Daniel Hudson. Evan Longoria made him pay with a two-out double, then Kelby Tomlinson followed with a two-run single against JT Chargois to put the game away.
The Dodgers bullpen has been a nightmare of late, with seemingly every option struggling in some form or another, as manager Dave Roberts described earlier Saturday, per Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register:
“There is something to the comfort of knowing what you’re going to get – when a position player takes the field or when a pitcher takes the mound,” Roberts said. “When you don’t have that, that’s a little disconcerting. So if you look at guys we’ve had or guys around the league, in any capacity, that makes a manager feel good, irrespective of results. You can’t predict those. But if a guy is not going to come in and throw strikes or doing things, that’s kind of a very uneasy feeling.”
In the first three games of this series alone Dodgers relievers have allowed 12 runs on 14 hits in 8⅓ innings, with nearly as many walks (eight) as strikeouts (nine).
The Dodgers and Giants finish off their four-game weekend series on Sunday afternoon with a 2:05 p.m. PT start, an hour later than usual. Kenta Maeda starts the series finale, facing left-hander Ty Blach.
Saturday Game 2 particulars
Home run: Corey Seager (2)
WP - Johnny Cueto (3-0): 6 IP, 3 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts
LP - Alex Wood (0-3): 6 IP, 6 hits, 4 runs, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts