After three straight games with lead changes in the ninth inning last week in Los Angeles, the Dodgers and Giants on Tuesday in San Francisco decided things in the eighth inning, with the winning run scoring on the worst throw of the season from Cody Bellinger in a 2-1 loss by Los Angeles.
First base isn’t new to Bellinger, who has played more career games at the position than any particular outfield spot. But this was his first game all year at the position.
Blake Treinen, who escaped a jam to end the seventh, started the eighth with two walks, just his second game of the season with multiple walks. Up next was Darin Ruf, who grounded out to Max Muncy, who didn’t have time to tag Mike Yastrzemski before throwing to first.
One out secured, Bellinger had two potential options. Trying to get Yastrzemski at second base was one, and Bellinger pump faked in that direction, but with Buster Posey straying from third base, Bellinger opted instead to go for the lead runner. Only Bellinger uncorked a throw well over Justin Turner’s head, and into the netting, allowing Posey to jog home with the winning run.
“I pump faked at second to try to get Posey off the base, and when I looked, I say him off the base, enough that a good throw gets him,” Bellinger explained. “It just slipped out of my hand. There’s no excuses. I just threw it too high.”
“It’s one of those plays that surprised everybody,” said manager Dave Roberts.
Would Bellinger make the same decision over again?
“I think a good throw gets him still,” he said. “I saw him turn, he had his momentum toward home. JT was right there, so I think a good throw gets him.
“It was a horrible throw. Horrible throw.”
The Dodgers had a golden opportunity to break the tie in the top of the eighth against frisbee submariner Tyler Rogers, with a Chris Taylor double putting runners at second and third with only one out for the heart of the lineup. But Muncy grounded out and Turner flew out to end the threat.
The Dodgers are 13-18 in one-run games. The Giants are 16-13. San Francisco now leads the National League West by three games.
LA has only scored five runs in its last three games, all one-run affairs, with the Dodgers winning two. But not on Tuesday.
“As an offense, we’ve got to be better at getting baserunners, and when we do get in run-scoring situations, we’ve got to drive them in,” Roberts said. “Our pitching staff has been fantastic at preventing runs, and we’ve got to continue to get better on the offensive side.”
Logan Webb and Julio Urías pitched like they were trying to solve MLB’s pace of play problems all by themselves, getting through six innings in roughly 90 minutes. Both starting pitchers allowed only one run, thanks to a few hits getting bunched together.
Bellinger singled, advanced on a groundout, and scored on Billy McKinney’s single in the fifth. It was the first hit against the Giants in 2021 for Bellinger, who was 0 for his first 28 against them with 12 strikeouts.
Urías allowed only three singles in his first five innings, but the Giants tied things up with three hits of their own in the sixth. The last of those hits, a two-out single by Darin Ruf, put two go-ahead runners on and chased Urías, but Brusdar Graterol escaped the jam when Wilmer Flores’ liner found its way into Bellinger’s glove at first base.
Home runs: none
WP — Tyler Rogers (2-1): 1 IP, 2 hits, 1 strikeout
LP — Blake Treinen (2-5): 1⅓ IP, 1 unearned run, 2 walks, 1 strikeout
Sv — Jake McGee (21): 1 IP, zeroes
Walker Buehler starts for the Dodgers on Friday night (6:45 p.m., SportsNet LA), with right-hander Anthony DeSclafani going for San Francisco.