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Dodgers offense wastes Max Scherzer gem in 1-0 loss to Giants

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Evan Longoria’s home run was the only run of Game 3

Division Series - San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Three Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

A group effort from the pitching staff and excellent Giants defense negated a strong outing by Max Scherzer, giving San Francisco the NLDS edge with a 1-0 win in Game 3 on Monday night at Dodger Stadium.

San Francisco has two shutouts in three games in the NLDS, the first time the Dodgers have been shut out twice in the same series since the 2013 NLCS.

The Dodgers managed just five total hits against four Giants pitchers. Two of the hits were by Albert Pujols, who got the start at first base against left-hander Alex Wood. Those were the only two hits off Wood in 4⅔ innings.

In only three innings did the Dodgers put runners in scoring position. The best chance at a run came in the seventh with a pair of one-out singles off right-handed submariner Tyler Rogers.

Austin Barnes was summoned to pinch-hit against Rogers, who has reverse splits. Giants manager Gabe Kapler countered with the left-handed Jake McGee. With only left-handed bats — Cody Bellinger, Matt Beaty, Gavin Lux — available off the bench, Dave Roberts stuck with Barnes, who struck out on three pitches for the second out.

Mookie Betts followed with a 100.4-mph line drive that would have likely scored the tying were it not for Brandon Crawford’s excellent leaping catch at shortstop to end the frame.

Per Baseball Savant, Betts’ liner had an .870 expected batting average, following scorched inning-ending outs by the Dodgers in the fifth (Betts ground ball to Crawford, .550 xBA) and sixth (Chris Taylor drive to center, ably tracked down by Steven Duggar, .920 xBA).

Rookie closer Camilo Doval ran through the heart of the Dodgers order in the eighth inning, then finished things off in the ninth for his first career postseason save, retiring all six batters he faced.

Lux’s drive to centerfield for the final out of the game was hit 106.9 mph off the bat, with an expected batting average of .890. On a windy night at Dodger Stadium, it died on the warning track.

“I thought it was out off the bat,” Roberts said. “I think any other night, the CT ball, the Gavin Lux ball would have been home runs.”

Scherzer overcame the mechanical issues that foiled the bulk of his previous three starts, though he still labored through a 25-pitch first inning.

But after two of his first three batters faced reached base, Scherzer allowed only two of his final 22 batters faced to reach base, retiring his final nine. He struck out 10 in seven innings. Scherzer at age 37 is the second-oldest Dodgers pitcher with a double-digit strikeout game, behind only 39-year-old Sal Maglie in Game 1 of the 1956 World Series.

It was exactly the kind of start the Dodgers acquired Scherzer for. The only run he allowed was a solo home run by Evan Longoria in the fifth inning.

That was all the Giants needed.

NLDS Game 3 particulars

Home run: Evan Longoria (1)

WP — Tyler Rogers (1-0): 1⅔ IP, 3 hits

LP — Max Scherzer (0-1): 7 IP, 3 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 10 strikeouts

Sv — Camilo Doval (1): 2 IP, 1 strikeout

Up next

The Dodgers try to stay alive in Game 4 of the NLDS on Tuesday (6:07 p.m., TBS). Starting pitchers for both teams are TBD, but Tony Gonsolin could figure prominently.

“Everything is on the table,” Roberts said of his Game 4 starter on Monday night.

Anthony DeSclafani will start Game 4 for the Giants.