Down two runs and facing one of the most dominant closers in the game, the Giants sandwiched an overturned call at second base with some of the biggest hits of the season to erase a ninth-inning Dodgers lead and emerge 5-3 winners Thursday night.
The Giants (61-35) stretched their NL West lead to three games with an improbable rally against Los Angeles closer Kenley Jansen. Greeted loudly with boos from his home crowd, Jansen struck out Mike Yastrzemski on three pitches before giving up a single to Flores. With two outs, Solano doubled to set up pinch-hitter Jason Vosler with a chance to tie or give the Giants the lead.
Vosler walked to load the bases before Estrada hit a soft dribbler to Dodgers shortstop Chris Taylor, who decided to throw to second for the force out. Vosler was called out at second, but a replay review ruled he beat the throw to the bag, allowing Flores to score and trim the Los Angeles lead to 3-2. Jansen then walked Darin Ruf with the bases loaded to tie the game 3-3 before LaMonte Wade Jr. extended the lead with a two-out single to lift the Giants to a 5-3 lead.
Wade told SFBay after the game how he was able to stay focused during a hectic ninth inning after Dave Roberts ran onto the field and was ejected:
“I was just thinking about the at bat and focused on what I needed to do. Luckily I got a pitch to hit.”
Ruf said after the game that this team’s confidence is high after the past two nights:
“I think I was watching Sportscenter last night and saw a stat that we were 0-25 trailing going into the ninth and to do what we did the past two nights against one of the game’s best closers really speaks a lot to the toughness of this team and the always grinding kind of attitude. And just as an offense to really try to have great at bats all nine innings.”
The Giants won their four-game series against their heated division rival Dodgers despite a strong pitching performance from Dodgers starter Walker Buehler.
Both teams jumped out fast, scoring runs in the first inning. Giants first baseman Wade came ready to play, swinging at the first pitch from Buehler for a lead-off double. After Wade stole third base, Buster Posey struck out before Mike Yastrzemski came through with a sacrifice fly to give the Giants a 1-0 lead.
The Dodgers (59-39) responded quickly, starting the game with three straight hits. Taylor led off with a single before Max Muncy followed with another, setting up runners at first and third with no outs. Justin Turner softly hit a ball to right to tie the score at 1-1.
Things could have got really out of hand for Giants starter Anthony DeSclafani in the first but he was able to settle down and strike out Will Smith before getting Matt Beaty to hit into an inning-ending double play.
The Giants squandered a scoring opportunity in the second when left fielder Alex Dickerson led off with an infield single, Donovan Solano hit into a fielder’s choice, and a Steven Duggar base hit set up runners at the corners. But Thairo Estrada and DeSclafani both struck out, unable to drive the runs home.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Dodgers were able to get to DeSclafani again. Turner led off with a single, then Smith did his best Brooks Koepka impression when he went down in the zone and turned on a 94-mph sinker with a golf shot home run to give the Dodgers a 3-1 lead.
DeSclafani didn’t pitch bad outside of a few mistakes, and was able to keep the Dodgers offense off balance. He finished the game with six innings, giving up six hits, three earned runs, seven strikeouts and one walk.
On the other side, opposing pitcher Buehler was even better. He spun 7-1/3 innings of textbook baseball, rarely finding himself in trouble while allowing five hits, one earned run, one walk and nine strikeouts.
Jake McGee was given the ball to close out the game and he did not fail. He got Cody Bellinger and A.J. Pollock to fly out. Billy McKinney doubled but he was stranded after Sheldon Neuse struck out swinging.