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Giants crushed by Dodgers bats as home advantage shifts south

One night after a magical start to the postseason, the Giants ran into the reality of the dangerous Dodgers offense in a 9-2 Game 2 loss at Oracle Park that evened up the NLDS at one game apiece. 

Photos by Scot Tucker/SFBay.ca

Less than 24 hours after Logan Webb wowed the Dodgers and the baseball world, the team that finished one game back of the Giants for the best record in baseball turned the momentum of the series around, putting the pressure on San Francisco to win on the road.

The Dodgers broke the game open in the sixth inning with four runs after Giants starter Kevin Gausman was removed when the first two batters reached, extending a 2-1 lead. With the bases loaded and one out, the struggling Cody Bellinger went after the first pitch from Dominic Leone and drilled a two-run double to left-center. The next batter, AJ Pollock, also hit the first pitch, hooking it down the left field line for another two-run double. 

This story has been updated with quotes and post-game material from the Giants clubhouse at Oracle Park.

Manager Gabe Kapler said:

It wasn’t our best effort tonight. The Dodgers just swung the bats better than us, made more pitches than us, made more plays than us.”

He added:

So as we’ve done all season long, we’ll turn the pageand get ready for an off-day of preparation, and get ready for Game 3.”

The Giants offense couldn’t generate much off Julio Urias (W, 1-0, 1.80 ERA), who allowed one run in five innings. Brandon Crawford knocked in the Giants second run in the sixth off Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly, but Wilmer Flores was thrown out by a rocket from right fielder Mookie Betts trying to go from first to third, ending the inning. 

Flores said after the game that he thought the ball was deeper in the corner, and that he would “100 percent” take the decision back. Kapler agreed:

If Wilmer was sitting here, he would tell you that it’s really difficult to make an out like that on the bases and take that sort of risk when you have a little bit of momentum.”

Instead of having two runners on base and a chance to chip away at the deficit, the Giants went back to the dugout deflated after an RBI hit — and they would not threaten again.

Gausman (L, 0-1, 6.75 ERA) settled down in the middle innings after a shaky start and wound up with seven strikeouts, but not before the Dodgers attacked Gausman’s splitter for two runs in the second inning. With runners on first and second and two outs, the pitcher Urias got a hanging splitter from Gausman and lined an RBI single to right field. Mookie Betts followed with a hit to left on another splitter to give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead. 

Gausman said he found his “zone” after the second inning, but regretted not getting through the sixth. He called the decision to intentionally walk AJ Pollock to get to Urias in the second inning one of the differences in the game. Gausman thought he should’ve been more aggressive with the splitter instead of trying to throw it for a strike:

I mean, obviously, we’re trying to face the pitcher. We’re not thinking he’s going to get a hit right there.”

Kapler, who had pinch-hitters on deck for Gausman twice before calling them back when there was no one on base, said he was fine with Gausman pitching the sixth inning because the righty was starting to find his rhythm, retiring 10 straight batters up to that point:

That’s probably the biggest decision point in the game, from my perspective.”

Oftentimes, managerial decisions can win or lose a playoff game, especially bullpen management in the National League. For Kapler, his decisions didn’t pay off on Saturday. And against the Dodgers, a team that doesn’t need extra help from the opponent for their bats to wake up, pounced immediately.

After the first two Los Angeles runs, chants of “Let’s go Dodgers” permeated Oracle Park for the first time in the series. Those chants will only grow louder on Monday when the series — now a best of three —shifts to Los Angeles.

Flores said:

We’re still feeling good about ourselves. It’s a tough team, obviously, and we just got to go out there and get ’em. I mean, we lost one game. We got two more in Los Angeles.”

Up Next

Alex Wood will start Game 3 for the Giants against Max Scherzer of the host Dodgers Monday at 6:37 p.m. The Giants went 12-2 in Wood’s starts during the regular season after a team loss. Game 4 will follow Tuesday in Los Angeles at 6:07 p.m., and any possible Game 5 would return to Oracle Park Thursday.’

Photos by Scot Tucker/SFBay.ca

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