SAN FRANCISCO -- May 19 is far too early to take a meaningful look at the standings. But when you lost eight straight games at one point, fell six games under .500, and have spent seven weeks chasing the richest team in pro sports, there’s never truly a bad time to appreciate how far you’ve come.
After a 2-0 win over the rival Dodgers at AT&T Park on Tuesday, the Giants are just 3 1/2 games out of first place. They haven’t been closer than that since April 23, but after Tuesday’s win, they have every right to figure they can further close the gap this week. The Giants have won four straight over the Dodgers on the shores of McCovey Cove, and 11 of their last 14 overall at home.
They stranded two in the first when Hunter Pence struck out and Brandon Belt hit a grounder into the shift, but they got a run on the board two innings later when Buster Posey singled with two on. After Belt walked to load the bases, Carlos Frias buckled down and whiffed Pence for a second time.
The Dodgers got Tim Hudson out of the game in the seventh when Alex Guerrero hit a one-out single. Two batters and two pitching changes later, Joc Pederson drew a walk after a series of close pitches from Javier Lopez. After a walk of Jimmy Rollins, manager Bruce Bochy called for right-hander Sergio Romo, who got Howie Kendrick to ground back to the mound and end the threat.
Romo got four outs for just the third time in the last two seasons, carrying the Giants through the eighth. An insurance run was tacked on on a Dodgers error and wild pitch, and Santiago Casilla closed it out.
Starting pitching report: Hudson had allowed at least three earned runs in each of his six previous starts, and he gave up six runs and 15 hits in his last start at AT&T Park. He was much better Tuesday, allowing just five hits in 6 1/3 shutout innings.
Bullpen report: In his eighth season, Romo is as good against righties as he has ever been. He got Kendrick in the seventh and then forced a fielder’s choice from Scott Van Slyke in the eighth. Righties are just 4 for 33 against Romo this season.
At the plate: Posey’s third-inning single extended his hitting streak to 11 games and gave him 20 straight games in which he has safely reached base. The other half of the battery, Hudson, took a full hack in the fourth and gently dropped a ball into left field after it hit far down on the bat. Hudson has two hits this season; Madison Bumgarner has one. Think that’ll come up in the clubhouse?
In the field: All that time on the disabled list didn’t cause Hunter Pence to forget the nooks and crannies of AT&T Park. Pence went deep into Triples Alley to grab Adrian Gonzalez’s smash that came down between the seventh and eighth archways in the sixth inning.
Attendance: The Giants announced a crowd of 41,392 People Who Were Checking Their Phones Constantly For Warriors Updates.
Up next: The undercard of Thursday’s Bumgarner-Kershaw III matchup is Tim Lincecum (3-2, 2.43 ERA) vs. Brett Anderson (2-1, 3.50). Lincecum has given up five earned in 10 innings against the Dodgers this season. Anderson is pretty funny on Twitter.