LOS ANGELES — With the West slowly slipping away, the Giants had their ace on the mound Tuesday night. Unfortunately for them, the Dodgers countered with a guy who has been historically great.
Zack Greinke edged Madison Bumgarner and the Dodgers edged the Giants 2-1, extending their lead in the division to 5 1/2 games. Bumgarner was sharp, but Greinke allowed just one run in 7 1/3 innings, lowering his ERA to 1.59.
Bumgarner gave up two singles in the second but escaped when Matt Duffy made a diving stop of Greinke’s liner that would have gone down the left-field line for an RBI double. Two more Dodgers reached with two outs in the third, and this time they brought a run home. Adrian Gonzalez got a first-pitch fastball down the pipe and served it into left and speedy rookie Jose Peraza raced home ahead of Alejandro De Aza’s throw.
Greinke is almost certainly going to win the Cy Young Award and he cruised early. The Giants got an infield single from Buster Posey in the second but didn’t get their second base hit until Brandon Belt’s hard single in the seventh. Greinke retired 13 straight after Peraza dropped a pop-up in the second.
Posey drew a walk immediately following Belt’s single and both advanced on Marlon Byrd’s grounder that led to a bang-bang play at first and a review that upheld the out. De Aza struck out looking on a changeup that was a couple inches off the plate and Kelby Tomlinson flied out to right to end the inning. Bruce Bochy came out to argue the De Aza call after the inning and was ejected.
Joc Pederson was an All-Star after the first half but has had such a rough time over the last month that he was moved to ninth in the order on Tuesday. Pederson broke through in the seventh, hitting a laser shot over the wall in right-center to add to the lead.
The Giants got a run back in the eighth and put two on for Belt, who hit a hopper up the middle. Peraza gloved it and glove-flipped it to Jimmy Rollins, who threw to first to complete the double play.
Starting pitching report: Bumgarner gave up two runs over seven innings and struck out eight to get to 200 for the season. According to Christopher Kamka of CSN Chicago, Bumgarner is the first left-handed pitcher in MLB history to strike out 200 and hit five homers in a season.
Bullpen report: Tim Hudson came on for Bumgarner and made the second relief appearance of his career. The timing was … odd. Hudson hadn’t faced big league hitters since July but he was called on in the eighth inning of a one-run game. He gave up a double and then got a groundout.
At the plate: Opposing pitchers entered the night 0-for-85 against Bumgarner and Greinke, the two best-hitting pitchers in the league. Neither had a hit.
In the field: Duffy, as he showed with the diving catch, has turned into an above-average defensive third baseman. Not bad for a guy who didn’t play the position until this spring.
Attendance: The Dodgers announced a crowd of 48,060 human beings. Marlins Man was here Monday night but didn’t attend Bumgarner-Greinke. He’s slipping.
Up next: After squaring off against Gerrit Cole in Pittsburgh last month, Mike Leake said he always enjoys facing the game’s top pitchers. Well, they don’t get any better than Clayton Kershaw. It’s Kershaw vs. Leake in the series finale.