Unfortunately the Dodgers can’t play 162 games in San Diego, and they finally lost their first game of the season 12-6 to the Giants at AT&T Park on Thursday afternoon.
The euphoric feelings of the three-game shutout sweep of the the Padres quickly evaporated after the Giants stunned the Dodgers with a 12-run offensive slaughter.
Alex Wood, who was tagged with the loss, may draw complaints, but there were some positive signs from his start. His velocity was up from last year due to his improved mechanics and higher arm slot. Wood averaged 91-92 MPH which was up from 89.3 MPH last season. Although it is only one game, if Wood continues to work on his command, he could be a solid fourth starter for the Dodgers. The Giants’ lineup is not exactly a cake walk.
Wood’s line was: 5 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 2 BB, 3 K, 85 pitches, 57 strikes.
The Dodgers scored two runs in the bottom of the second inning after Adrian Gonzalez led off with a booming 411-foot double off the center field wall, which was mere inches from going out. With one out, Joc Pederson, Enrique Hernandez, and Austin Barnes hit three consecutive singles to load the bases. The Dodgers then took a 2-0 lead off Jake Peavy after replays showed that Joe Panik came off the bag early after taking a throw from Brandon Crawford on what originally was called an inning-ending double-play grounder by Wood with the bases loaded. Austin Barnes was ruled safe, and a run scored with Pederson on the fielder’s choice. This is the first year that the neighborhood play is reviewable.
Both first baseman came within inches of hitting home runs, but Brandon Belt‘s double in the top of the second inning wasn’t cashed in thanks to some excellent pitching by Alex Wood and pitch-framing by Austin Barnes to strike out Brandon Crawford.
In the third, the Dodgers added a third run on a hard hit single by Puig and another big double from butter and egg man Gonzalez.
Scott Van Slyke hit yet another double off the AT&T Park wall in the top of the fifth. Chase Utley, who singled earlier in the inning, plated the fourth run of the game for the Dodgers.
The Dodgers’ historic scoreless inning streak to begin the season ended at 31 innings when the wheels came off in the fifth. The dreaded lead off walk to Crawford began the rally for San Francisco. The infield grass helped pinch-hitter Kelby Tomlinson‘s bunt single stall, and Span’s groundout allowed Crawford to score. Panik tripled and Buster Posey doubled to bring the Giants within a run of the lead.
We also had the first questionable in-game decision by Roberts in the sixth.
Dave Roberts officially just another manager now. Press box questioning his decision to let Alex Wood bat in 6th with #Dodgers up 4-3
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) April 7, 2016
Dave Roberts then went to Yimi Garcia with two on and nobody out in the sixth. Angel Pagan‘s RBI single flipped the lead, 5-4, in favor of the Giants. Back-to-back singles from Panik and Posey gave the Giants a three-run lead.
Joc Pederson’s two-run home run off Sergio Romo in the eighth was not only a great sign that Pederson’s new batting mechanics are working, but it also brought the Dodgers within a run of the lead.
Four consecutive singles off J.P. Howell in the bottom of the eighth gave the Giants a two-run lead. Pedro Baez was thrown into the fire with the bases loaded, and let’s just say Hunter Pence did not hit one of those soft singles that are so frustratingly common off the bats off the Giants’ hitters. His grand slam blew the game open 12-6.
Dodgers-Giants games are always heated contests, and this game was no exception. Even though the game goes down as a loss, it wasn’t all doom and gloom. Luis Coleman pitched 1 1/3 innings of scoreless ball. Puig is hitting the ball hard. Gonzalez and Pederson are hitting the ball far. The season isn’t over.
The Dodgers are now 3-1 on the season after the loss. Ross Stripling makes his MLB debut on Friday night against Matt Cain. First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. Pacific time.