After back-to-back losses at home to the Giants, Sunday afternoon’s game didn’t exactly start off the way anyone would have hoped.
A pair of singles put two aboard against Clayton Kershaw, and after he started to work his way out of the inning with minimal damage, Mauricio Dubon sent a ball off the left-field foul pole for a 3-0 lead.
Pocket that 🗡@Mauriciodubon10 goes off the foul pole and the @SFGiants are off to a quick start against the World Champs. 👀 pic.twitter.com/W2GUyWCd6R— MLB (@MLB) May 30, 2021
Austin Slater then opened the 3rd with a homer of his own, Kevin Gausman completely shut down the Dodgers’ offense (and drove in what wound up as the game-winning run) during his 6 innings and old friend Jake McGee ended the hopes of a comeback just as soon as he allowed them to begin with the Giants winning 5-4.
Gausman, who has been very good this season, continued to be very, very good in this game before exiting early as a precaution.
Just three Dodgers reached base through the first 4 innings, a double by Gavin Lux, an error by Dubon at short to let Kershaw on and a single by Matt Beaty. None of the three moved from there while Gausman struck out 5, including Muncy and Bellinger twice, through those first 4 innings.
Gausman closed out the second time through the order with a 1-2-3 5th inning, and then retired Chris Taylor, Max Muncy and Beaty in the 6th to hit nine straight batters retired. However, a weird step by Gausman as he came off the mound to field Beaty’s groundout concluded his day at just 6 IP and 72 pitches.
Jarlin García entered in Gausman’s place to start the 7th, with Bellinger immediately earning the Dodgers’ first walk of the day. However, once again, the runner never advanced past first with Albert Pujols only taking over at 1st thanks to a bobble by Evan Longoria.
Austin Barnes became the first Dodger to reach 3rd, as he doubled off of Zack Littell to open the 8th and moved up on a balk, and finally broke the shut out. After Justin Turner struck out off the bench and Taylor went down on strikes for the second time in the game, Muncy hammered a fastball for a 421-foot homer to right center for his 100th career dong (5th in these past 7 games against the Giants).
The aforementioned McGee closed it out in the 9th, allowing Bellinger to reach on his own error before Pujols unloaded on a fastball to make it 5-4.
Unfortunately, the Dodgers ran out of two-run homers. A strikeout looking by Will Smith and a harmless flyout by Barnes ended the comeback attempt.
Similar to Julio Urias yesterday, Kershaw (obviously) did not pitch as well this afternoon as he did in his last time out. The first inning took 24 pitches after he needed just 81 pitches to get through 7 2/3 innings.
A 1-2-3 2nd inning needed just 11 pitches and included strikeouts against Curt Casali and well, Gausman, before Slater made it 4-0 with a solo shot to right-center to open the 3rd. Two more reached to start the 4th, but a great play by Muncy at 2nd temporarily helped avoid any more runs coming home. Then, of course, Gausman sent fastball (three of which he had seen in his first at-bat and struck out swinging against) that jammed him the opposite way through the hole for an RBI single and a 5-0 lead.
Kershaw would get through the 5th without any more damage, though Muncy made yet another pretty strong play at 2nd on a ball with a .910 xBA and Taylor wandered along the wall to make a catch at the track. A walk to Dubon opened the 6th and Kershaw battled through the inning to wrap up his day. A fielder’s choice, strikeout and walk set up Gausman with runners at 1st and 2nd with two away, and Kershaw escaped any further trouble by getting the pitcher looking at a slider low in the zone.
Eric did the research before I could and pointed out where this ranked for Kershaw against the Giants.
With Kershaw’s day done at 104 pitches through 6 IP, allowing 7 hits and 3 walks to 6 Ks, Joe Kelly entered and immediately walked Mike Yastrzemski and Donovan Solano on 13 pitches.
LaMonte Wade Jr. singled after a 7-pitch at-bat to load the bases before Kelly really just started firing fastballs to strike out Longoria and Dubon. That brought in Victor Gonzalez to face Steven Duggar, who he also struck out, needing 4 pitches to close out the inning with a slider.
Gonzalez allowed only a hit batter in the 8th with Alex Vesia entering for the 9th, who retired the side in order with 8 pitches.
The Dodgers stay at home for three more games as they host the Cardinals who are coming off a 3-1 series in Arizona. Monday’s game is set for a 6:10 p.m. PST first pitch.