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Dodgers make it interesting, then finish the job against the Giants

The Dodgers win the opener of the series against the Giants

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

This Dodgers-Giants game was worthy of the national spotlight, on ESPN. From a surprising start, to a crazy back and forth towards the end, and all the drama you could possibly ask for in a baseball game, ending with a 9-6 victory for the home team.

It’s not often you see a pitching matchup heading into a game with such a disadvantage for the Los Angeles Dodgers. The team with the best rotation in baseball in 2022 will almost always enter a game at least somewhat leveled with its opponents in terms of the starting pitch.

Nevertheless, to start things off after the All-Star break, the Dodgers sent out the young right-hander Mitch White, who is having a fine campaign in his own right, but in a completely different tier than Giants ace and strikeout artist Carlos Ródon.

A top-10 starter in baseball going up against the clear fifth man in the rotation, filling in for the injured Andrew Heaney. That pitching matchup resulted in a clear discrepancy between the two starts, but not in the way it could’ve been expected.

It was Ródon who in a night where he wasn’t at his best also fell victim to his defense’s shortcomings and would go on to allow five earned runs for only the second time this season over five frames.

The Giants’ southpaw allowed a two-out bomb to the scorching hot Freddie Freeman, in the top of the first, and then saw this defensive miscue by Luiz González turn a routine Justin Turner flyout into a two-run double.

White held the Giants hitless through five innings and left after allowing a single to lead off the sixth . Leading by five with the Giants not exactly showing signs of life, the Dodgers went to Caleb Ferguson and Phil Bickford as the first names out of the ‘pen, the latter which scuffled allowing a solo shot and leaving the game with two runners on and two outs.

Alex Vesia came into a tough situation at a game that felt well in hand only moments prior, and he proceeded to have a typical Vesia outing in the 2022 season. The Dodgers lefty hit the first batter he faced to load the bases, and when it felt like he was going to get out of it following a strikeout of Yermin Mercedes, he allowed a game-tying grand slam to Darin Ruf.

To call the eighth inning eventful would be an understatement. Evan Phillips came in at a tied game and struggled with command, allowing his first earned run in 19 appearances dating back to May 26th, but Phillips battled and managed to get out of a bases-loaded situation with only one out.

In the bottom of the inning, just when it felt like the game was over, the Dodgers managed to rally. Gavin Lux hit a double down the left-field line, and Trayce Thompson drove him with a triple to straightaway center.

Gabe Kapler brought in Jarlin Garcia to face Cody Bellinger with two outs and a runner on third, and the Giants reliever simply couldn’t find the zone walking Bellinger on his bobblehead night, and Mookie Betts came up with two outs and hit a go-ahead three-run shot to deep left-field.

A Dodgers-Giants game that had it all after a lukewarm start, it showed some of the weaknesses that need to be addressed with this team’s bullpen, and also the resiliency to remain focused after blowing a 5-0 lead.

The Dodgers take home the opener of the series, but there are three more to go against the Giants in Dodgers Stadium.

Thursday particulars

Home runs: Freddie Freeman (14), Mookie Betts (21); Evan Longoria (9), Darin Ruf (10)

WP — Evan Phillips (4-3): 1 IP, 1 hit, 1 run, 3 walks, 1 strikeout

LP — Dominic Leone (3-2): ⅔ IP, 2 hits, 2 runs, 1 strikeouts

Sv — Craig Kimbrel (16): 1 IP, 1 hit, 1 strikeout

Up next

Tyler Anderson takes the ball for the Dodgers against Logan Webb on Friday night (7:10 p.m.; SportsNet LA, MLB Network).