Perhaps recalling the last time the Dodgers visited AT&T Park, Giants manager Bruce Bochy made an early move Friday night, indicating he expected runs to be at a premium. Three batters into the first inning, Bochy challenged a call on which Yasiel Puig dived back into second base following a lineout – a close play, but with no conclusive angle showing Joaquin Arias’ throw had beaten Puig – and he lost.
Runs ultimately did prove hard to come by – on one side. After Madison Bumgarner got Matt Kemp to ground out to end the inning, the Giants batted around in the bottom of the first against Dodgers left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu, scoring as many runs – four – as they had in all 27 innings of the Dodgers’ three-game sweep at AT&T Park on July 25-27.
And with Bumgarner hurling seven shutout innings, the Giants ran away with the opener of this National League West showdown 9-0 to pull within one game of the first-place Dodgers for the first time since Aug. 4.
“It’s a great start,” Bochy said. “It’s a big series, so I think anytime you can jump ahead, that’s huge for the club. It’s going to be an intense series and it takes a little pressure off, I’m sure, when you can come out and get four runs..
Ryu had allowed eight first-inning earned runs in his first 25 starts combined this season, six of them in an April 4 start against the Giants in Los Angeles. The Giants jumped him again Friday night with five first-inning hits, including RBI doubles by Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford and RBI singles from Hunter Pence and Arias.
That got the “Beat L.A.” chants going early and loud from an announced crowd of 41,147 that saw the Giants record their 13th win in their last 16 games and 10th in a row at home. Ryu did not return for the second inning for the first time in his major-league career, with the Dodgers announcing the left-hander had left the game with irritation in his pitching shoulder.
That left what had looked in advance to be an intriguing pitchers’ duel entirely one-sided. Bumgarner notched his 18th win, tied for the major-league lead, while scattering three hits and striking out nine. The Giants’ recent success at home has been fueled largely by their starting pitching – in their last 11 games at AT&T Park, the starters have combined for a 0.91 ERA in 79 innings.
Bumgarner’s first strikeout, of Scott Van Slyke in the second inning, was his 200th of the season, making him just the fifth left-hander in Giants history to reach that number. His ninth – coming on a 94-mph fastball to Joc Pederson for his final pitch of the night – gave him 208, the most by any Giants left-hander in the San Francisco era. Cy Seymour, who had 239 strikeouts in 1898, holds the franchise record for a southpaw.
“I did not know that,” Bumgarner said of setting the San Francisco mark. “I saw it on the board when it happened.
“That’s a nice accomplishment. This team’s been around for a long time and had a lot of really good players and talent come through. It’s hard to believe, really.
The Dodgers’ best scoring chance against Bumgarner came in the fifth, when they loaded the bases with two outs, only to see Adrian Gonzalez fly out to end the inning. The Giants then began padding their lead in the bottom of the inning. Gregor Blanco drew a one-out walk, and Crawford – one pitch after hitting a liner down the right-field line that landed foul by inches – homered off Carlos Frias over the right-field wall.
That gave Crawford three runs batted in from the No. 8 spot. Blanco, meanwhile, reached safely in his first four plate appearances from the seventh spot. Both were on base in the seventh, when Travis Ishikawa pinch hit for Bumgarner and crushed Kevin Correia’s first pitch into McCovey Cove for a three-run homer and the 67th “Splash Hit” by a Giants player at AT&T Park.
“I’ve been wanting to do that for a long time,” said Ishikawa, in his second tour with the team that he debuted for in 2006. “I was telling somebody in the dugout, it took me eight years to finally do it.
The Giants totaled 12 hits, showing the kind of offensive balance they did not display in their last meeting with the Dodgers, when they strung together multiple hits in just four innings over the three-game series.
“I think that’s a big reason why we’ve been winning games,” Crawford said. “We’ve been consistent throughout the lineup, and even guys coming off the bench have done outstanding. That’s a big key for us.
Friday, it helped the Giants match their largest shutout win at home against the Dodgers in the San Francisco era, putting them in position to pull even with their rivals atop the division with another win this evening.
“We need ’em. We’d like to have all of them from here on out,” Bumgarner said. “So they’re all big games, but it’s not hard to get up for the Dodgers series, especially with the circumstances right now. I think everybody came out ready.”