Home runs off the bats of Evan Longoria and Donovan Solano plus another trying effort on the mound from Alex Wood weren’t enough to contain the bitter-rival Dodgers, who stacked up three home runs to hold onto a 4-3 victory Thursday night.
After a two-game series sweep of Arizona, the Giants (30-20) strolled into Dodger Stadium with a chip on their shoulder and boosted confidence to face a Los Angeles team (31-19) that had aggressively beat up on them for a three-game sweep at Oracle Park last weekend.
In his second straight start against the Dodgers, Wood (L, 5-2, 2.44 ERA) was on point with fastball command through the first two innings, but later ran into trouble giving up a two-run home run to Justin Turner in the third plus solo shots to D.J. Peters in the fifth and Max Muncy in the sixth. Wood finished six innings and allowed six hits, four earned runs, and struck out eight –– all swinging.
The Giants faced former American League Cy Young Award winner David Price, who made his second start and 11th appearance of the season. The 35-year-old left-hander doesn’t have his same electric stuff, but Price carried enough fuel to cruise through 2-2/3 perfect frames, recording five strikeouts. Since Price hasn’t thrown more than two innings this season, it was predetermined that Los Angeles would turn to their bullpen early in the game and play matchups the rest of the way.
Kapler discussed the lack of offense against the Dodgers and philosophy to use their bullpen for the first game of the series:
“I just don’t think this is, ‘let’s try harder against the Dodgers.’ I think we have a good game plan right now and it’s nothing we’re gonna turn on and then win these baseball games. It’s a matter of us being at our best because in order for us to beat the best, we’re going to have to be playing our A game.”
In the third inning, Wood struck out Peters and lefty reliever Alex Vesia before allowing a triple to Mookie Betts that bounced off the wall in center field. The next batter was Turner, who followed up by crushing a high-fastball for his ninth home run of the year traveling 402 feet over the left-center fence. In the fifth, Peters lined his first big league home run to extend the lead to 3-1.
Wood, who usually has a mix of three pitches, said he felt too many fastballs were used against the strong Dodgers offense. He threw his slider just 27 percent of the time and used his changeup 11 percent of the time. He missed bats, but Wood said only a few mistakes cost him:
“I thought they had a good game plan, forcing me to stay in the zone, and I just didn’t execute a couple pitches and they put some good swings on it. Tip your hat. I felt pretty good overall. I felt I completed well and gave us a chance to win. Just one too many mistakes tonight.”
The Giants notched their first hit of the night when Longoria launched a hanging curveball from Joe Kelly to left field for his seventh homer of the season. The blast had an exit velocity of 103.9 mph and traveled an estimated 397 feet.
Longoria entered Thursday with an MLB-best 60.8 percent hard-hit rate and an average exit velocity of 96.2 mph, which ranks second only behind Yankees slugger Aaron Judge. Longoria is now hitting .391 with five runs, three home runs, a double and eight RBIs in his last six games.
Down two runs in the sixth, Solano –– who had been slumping since being activated off the injured list –– launched a two-run homer off Victor Gonzalez (W, 2-0, 2.65 ERA) to knot the game at 3-3. It was Solano’s first home run since Sept. 6, 2020. In the bottom of the inning, Muncy took Wood deep to right-center for his third home run against the Giants this season to give Los Angeles a 4-3 lead.
The Giants bullpen limited the damage by tossing two scoreless innings after Wood’s departure. Righty Zack Littell pitched the seventh and southpaw Jarlin García pitched the eighth. After Price left the game, the Dodgers used four relievers to combine for 5-1/3 innings, enough to cement a victory. Kenley Jansen set down the Giants in order in the ninth, notching his 12th save of the season, placing him third in baseball for that category.
With 30 wins at the 50-game mark, Kapler continues to look ahead to the remaining games on the schedule against Los Angeles:
“I think we’ve gotten off to a good start, we’ve got a ways to go, we’ve done some good work, and obviously we need to play better against the Dodgers.”
Anthony DeSclafani (4-2, 3.54 ERA) takes the mound Friday looking to rebound from his last start on May 23, when he allowed 10 earned runs in 2-2/3 innings against Los Angeles. Walker Buehler (3-0, 2.78 ERA) will take the ball for the Dodgers after dominating last Saturday against the Giants, tossing seven innings while allowing just one earned run allowed and striking out five. First pitch is set for 7:40 p.m.
The Giants (30-20) have now dropped six straight games to the Dodgers dating back to 2020. … The Giants are now 8-8 in one-run games this season. … The Giants placed Darin Ruf on the 10-day injured list with a right hamstring strain and recalled outfielder LaMonte Wade Jr. from Triple-A Sacramento. Kapler said Ruf underwent an MRI on his hamstring before the game and was awaiting further results from team doctors. … Right-hander Matt Wisler was reinstated from the bereavement list and lefty Sam Selman was optioned to Sacramento. … Reliever John Brebbia threw a perfect inning in Triple-A Sacramento on Thursday night, throwing 15 pitches and nine strikes. Brebbia is recovering from Tommy John Surgery that he underwent in June of last year. … Wilmer Flores has been on the 10-day injured list with a right hamstring strain since May 19 and the Giants say a Saturday return is “on the table” for the veteran infielder. … Joey Bart –– San Francisco’s second best prospect according to MLB.com –– has been dealing with a groin injury and has not appeared in a game for the Sacramento River Cats since last Thursday. Kapler estimates Bart is only a few days away from a return.