Programming note: Giants-Dodgers coverage starts tonight at 6:30pm with Giants Pregame Live on CSN Bay Area..
LOS ANGELES -- It wasn't all bad in the losing clubhouse early Tuesday morning. The Giants had just lost a five-hour, 29-minute game to the rival they're chasing in the National League West, but in the corner, Madison Bumgarner pulled on his boots and walked out of the clubhouse knowing his team desperately needs him and he tends to come up big in those spots.
Yes, the Giants will turn to their ace on Tuesday night, looking for a big-time performance to try and get a game back in this West race. They're 4 1/2 games behind the Dodgers after falling 5-4 in 14 innings in a game that started in August and ended Sept. 1, and Bumgarner is just the man to makes things right. The problem? The Dodgers, also exhausted and also coming back on short rest, also have a hell of a card to play.
"They've got Greinke going," manager Bruce Bochy said at 1 a.m. "So I'm sure they're saying the same thing."
Two of the game's best will square off in a Game 2 that almost certainly can't match Game 1, and they'll get to face hitters who will have heavy legs after Monday's marathon. There will be reinforcements, as both teams have Sept. 1 call-ups on the way, but you can expect plenty of stars to come back ready to go Tuesday. This is the biggest series of the season so far, and the Giants wanted to strike the first blow.
"It's just frustrating," Jake Peavy said, hours after he gave up the tying and go-ahead homers. "It's just a frustrating night. I could've made a few more pitches there and maybe we win that game. It's tough."
Peavy had a 3-1 lead but Adrian Gonzalez and Andre Ethier took him deep, putting the Dodgers up 4-3. When a team uses nine pitchers, it seems silly to wonder why the first one wasn't pulled earlier, but there was an argument to pull Peavy as the heart of the Dodgers order came up a third time. He has struggled the third time through orders, but Bochy liked what he was seeing and Peavy has a lot of past success against both left-handers.
"I thought he was still throwing well," he said. "I still thought he had enough in the tank. He just made a mistake there to Adrian."
The Giants got Peavy off the hook in the eighth, and they had to have liked their chances. This Dodgers bullpen has had a brutal year, but Jim Johnson pitched two shutout innings and Chris Hatcher gave them three more despite a series of warning-track outs. Bochy's guys matched the Dodgers zero for zero.
"That's a gutty effort by so many guys," he said. "I'm proud of how hard they were fighting out there to try to get this one."
Bochy had Mike Broadway and Yusmeiro Petit in his bullpen at the end, with Ryan Vogelsong ready in a pinch. He hoped to avoid using Petit, who had thrown 47 pitches on Saturday. Broadway made that impossible when he loaded the bases with no outs. Bochy called on Petit and Gonzalez hit his first pitch into the gap in left, finally ending the game.
"That's a hard-fought game on both sides," Bochy said. "Gutty job by our bullpen. They were fighting. That's just a great game. Unfortunately we didn't win it."