SAN FRANCISCO – The Dodgers and Giants always incite passion when they intersect. Sergio Romo takes a full supply to the mound every time he pitches.
Little wonder that Romo vs. the Dodgers is becoming quite a running drama.
A day after Romo mocked Hanley Ramirez’s “lo viste” gesture, the Dodgers responded with the backs of their hands. Yasiel Puig started the Dodgers’ tiebreaking rally with a leadoff single in the ninth – and found the occasion perfectly appropriate to flip his bat. Then A.J. Ellis lined a bases-clearing double as the Dodgers broke serve and took the series with a 4-1 victory over the Giants at AT&T Park on Sunday.
Chad Gaudin matched Clayton Kershaw for seven innings but it wasn’t enough. The Giants lost their fifth consecutive series and have dropped 10 of their last 12 games.
Starting pitching report
Gaudin was making just his fifth start of the season and the first since June 20, when a line drive off his right forearm knocked him from the game and onto the disabled list.
But Gaudin didn’t miss a step. He mixed sinkers, sliders and cutters to work a succession of quick innings and sidestep around occasional jams. That’s nothing new, since he entered the gaming having held opponents to a 1.56 average (5 for 32) with runners in scoring position.
He scattered four hits over seven innings while holding the Dodgers to one run. His nine strikeouts were two short of matching his career high.
Gaudin had trouble with Ramirez, who quietly has been an even better hitter than Puig over the past few days. Ramirez tripled to start the second inning and scored on Andre Ethier’s single.
Gaudin didn’t yield anything after that. It helped that Guillermo Quiroz threw out Ethier trying to steal in the second inning and also caught the hyperaggressive Puig trying to steal third base in the fourth.
That peg inspired the loudest “Beat LA” chants of the series thus far, especially since it came moments after Dodgers manager Don Mattingly coaxed umpires into reviewing a long drive from Ramirez that clearly was foul.
Ramirez was a threat all game. He doubled off Gaudin in the seventh but the Giants intentionally walked Ethier to get to Juan Uribe, who struck out swinging on Gaudin’s slider.
Gaudin didn’t get a decision but certainly pitched well enough to win. Incidentally, since Gaudin picked up his last win June 9, the Giants’ rotation is 5-11 in 25 games – and Madison Bumgarner owns four of the victories. Matt Cain has the other.
Sandy Rosario and Javier Lopez combined on a scoreless eighth, but Romo ran into immediate trouble when Puig started the ninth with a single to left field – complete with a flip of his bat.
Adrian Gonzalez followed with an infield single that glanced off the glove of first baseman Buster Posey. Posey tried to shovel his pass for the force at second base, but it would’ve been late and the attempt got past Joaquin Arias. Third baseman Pablo Sandoval had to retrieve it in shallow left field, and with nobody left to cover third, Puig took the open base.
Romo (3-4) faced Ramirez, his old nemesis, who homered twice off him last season. This time Romo fell behind 3-0 after missing with a series of close pitches. But Ramirez had the 3-0 green light and hit a tapper back to the mound. Romo checked the lead runners before throwing to first base for an out.
With first base open, Ethier was walked intentionally to load the bases and Romo struck out Uribe, his former World Series teammate. But Ellis hit an 0-1 slider and placed his floating line drive perfectly in left-center to drive in three runs. Romo stood with his hands on his hips as the outfielders gave chase to no avail.
At the plate
Most of the Giants lineup has been in a deep freeze for the better part of two weeks. They weren’t so toasty before that, either. But the numbers seldom matter against Kershaw, who entered 10-4 with a 1.33 ERA in 20 career outings against the Giants.
Quiroz doubled, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on Andres Torres’ sacrifice fly in the third inning. But the Giants didn’t get another hit until Arias hit a two-out double in the seventh. Posey, who had been hit by a pitch, stopped at third base. Cole Gillespie popped up on the first pitch to end the inning.
Hunter Pence, who struck out against Kenley Jansen to end the game, isn’t doing much to move the needle on that final vote ballot. He’s now hitless in his last 22 at-bats and is stuck in a 2-for-37 slump.
Puig made the defensive play of the game, diving in right field to take a hit away from Quiroz to start the eighth.
The Giants announced 41,094 paid – a total that might or might not have included Nicole Vogelsong, Haylee Belt and other Giants wives who “watched” the game from kayaks in McCovey Cove.
A day after facing Kershaw, the Giants tangle with the other top contender to start for Bruce Bochy’s NL All-Star squad. The Mets will send right-hander Matt Harvey (7-2, 2.27 ERA) against Tim Lincecum (4-9, 4.66) as the two clubs begin a three-game series. The Giants have Barry Zito (4-6, 4.44) scheduled to face Mets right-hander Dillon Gee (6-7, 4.45) on Tuesday. Then Mets right-hander Zack Wheeler (2-1, 4.29), whom the Mets acquired from the Giants in the Carlos Beltran trade, will face his former organization on Wednesday. Matt Cain (5-5, 4.85) is scheduled to oppose Wheeler.