On a night with a bigger cushion in the ninth inning, Dave Roberts stuck with his closer Kenley Jansen. What resulted were two agonizingly close calls that would have meant a series split, but instead turned into a second straight booing Dodger Stadium crowd, stunned by four two-out runs in the ninth inning of a 5-3 Giants win at Dodger Stadium.
“There’s a lot of people that are pissed off, and I’m leading the way,” Roberts said. “We should have won that game.”
The Dodgers held a 3-1 lead entering the ninth on Thursday, and faced a similar decision as Wednesday night.
Blake Treinen retired the final two batters of the eighth inning, having only thrown seven pitches, one night after he threw nine pitches to record three outs in the eighth of a 2-1 game. Treinen has been asked to pitch a second inning after recording three outs four times this season. Twice he allowed a run, and another time he was removed after only one out after allowing a hit in the second inning.
Thursday wasn’t exactly analogous since Treinen only faced two batters in the eighth, and he has recorded five outs twice this season, both scoreless appearances.
Roberts instead opted for Jansen, who threw 27 pitches in blowing the save on Wednesday, retiring only one of his six batters faced.
On Thursday, Jansen’s stuff was better, and he struck out two of his first three batters in the ninth. Then he gave up a double and walk to load the bases.
A fielder’s choice grounder to shortstop Chris Taylor was thrown to a stationary Sheldon Neuse at second base. Originally called the final out of the game at second base, the call was instead overturned on review. Game not over, not by a long shot.
“That play at second base, if we stretch, the game’s over,” Roberts said.
Now 3-2, Jansen still had a chance to escape, but instead ran the count full to Darin Ruf, who checked his swing on the seventh pitch of the bat. First base umpire Ed Hickcox, when asked, said Ruf didn’t swing.
Not a swing, I guess. pic.twitter.com/bZWVUpqYQc— Chad Moriyama (@ChadMoriyama) July 23, 2021
“I definitely thought he went,” said catcher Will Smith.
Roberts was irate at the non-swing call, and was ejected by Hickcox, the second straight ejection for Roberts.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that he went, and the game should have been over,” Roberts said.
More importantly, the game was now tied, and a clearly-gassed Jansen was somehow still in the game at 32 pitches, one night after throwing 27. Jansen would only throw one more pitch on this night, a cutter lined to right field by LaMonte Wade Jr. for a single to bring home the two winning runs.
That’s three blown saves in a row for Jansen since the All-Star break. After getting the second out of the ninth inning on Thursday, he faced five batters and retired none of them.
Roberts said he’s not reconsidering Jansen’s role. “That game should have been over. I don’t think all the blame should be on Kenley,” he said.
That spoiled another stellar night for the rest of the pitching staff. Walker Buehler struck out nine while pitching into the eighth.
Buehler was touched for a run immediately, when Wade doubled, stole third base, and scored on a sacrifice fly. It was just the fifth run in the opening frame allowed by Buehler in 20 starts this season, and the third time in four games San Francisco scored in the first inning this series.
The Giants only got four hits and a walk against Buehler the rest of the way, and no runs. He leads the National League with 128⅔ innings pitched.
Buehler struck out nine on the night, including all three batters faced in the seventh, leading to this smirk on his way back to the dugout. Buehler lowered his ERA on the season to 2.31, including 1.70 over his last nine starts.
The Dodgers got 14⅓ innings out of starters Julio Urías and Buehler over the final two games of the series, after the bullpen needed to pitch 10⅔ innings in the first two games. But no wins to show for it.
On offense, the Dodgers portioned out their six hits against Anthony DeSclafani quite efficiently, including singles from the first three hitters of the game for a first-inning run. The other three hits came in the fourth inning, including a two-run home run by Will Smith.
But those were the only runs they scored on the night. The Dodgers scored eight runs in their lone win of the series, and seven total runs in the three losses. They now trail the National League West by three games.
“We want to win. We want to play well,” Buehler said. “I think we’ve played well both nights. It just hasn’t gone our way.”
- DeSclafani this season has allowed 18 runs in 18⅓ innings in four starts against the Dodgers. Against everyone else, he has a 1.78 ERA in 16 starts.
- Cody Bellinger was 0-for-4 on Thursday, pushing his hitless streak to 25 at-bats. Since returning from the injured list on June 23, Bellinger in 100 plate appearances is hitting .096/.230/.205.
Home run: Will Smith (13)
WP — José Alvarez (4-1): 1⅓ IP, zeroes
LP — Kenley Jansen (1-4): ⅔ IP, 4 hits, 4 runs, 2 walk, 2 strikeouts
Sv — Jake McGee (20): 1 IP, 1 hit, 1 strikeout
The Dodgers welcome the Rockies to town next, with David Price starting the series opener Friday night (7:10 p.m., SportsNet LA), against Chi Chi Gonzalez for Colorado.