Yasiel Puig lined Tim Hudson’s first pitch softly into center field and, as he rounded first base, did not stop running. Rather, Puig put his head down and sprinted for second, diving headfirst into the bag just ahead of the throw from a surprised Angel Pagan, and as he got to his feet clapped emphatically toward the Dodgers’ dugout.
In the wake of the Giants’ 9-0 win in the series opener, Puig’s aggressiveness seemed part defiant, part calculated to ignite his team. If so, it worked. Just as the Giants seized control Friday night with a four-run first inning, the Dodgers scored four times on six first-inning hits off Hudson, and that was only the beginning of a 17-0 rout that ensured they will leave San Francisco still in sole possession of first place.
“Two different games,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “They punched back. We got knocked out early. Not much to really say about it. Our pitching was off tonight, and we couldn’t get a ball hit at somebody in that first inning.”
The Dodgers set AT&T Park single-game records for runs by an opponent and hits in a game (24), and recorded their largest margin of victory against the Giants since the teams moved West in 1958. The Giants managed just five hits, and by the time their 10-game home winning streak officially ended, very little of an announced crowd of 41,533 remained to see it.
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The Dodgers entered with their division lead whittled down to one game for the first time since Aug. 4, a span in which a struggling Puig had just three extra-base hits in 30 games. Hudson followed Puig’s one-out double in the first by retiring Adrian Gonzalez on a groundout, but then allowed five consecutive hits, including RBI doubles by Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez and RBI singles by Carl Crawford and A.J. Ellis.
By the time he struck out opposing pitcher Zack Greinke to end the inning, Hudson had thrown 32 pitches. He returned for the second, but after allowing singles to Dee Gordon and Puig was replaced by Tim Lincecum, marking the shortest start of Hudson’s 16-year major-league career.
Hudson has not won since Aug. 22 and in three September starts has allowed 14 earned runs in 12 innings. But he said he felt “all right” physically Saturday, and attributed his September numbers to “a little bit of tough luck, and not making good enough pitches at times. That’s pretty much what it boils down to.”
Lincecum, making just his second appearance since Aug. 31, didn’t fare much better. Of the 18 hitters Lincecum faced, nine reached base on seven hits, a walk and an inside pitch that grazed Puig. After relieving Hudson, Lincecum allowed three consecutive RBI hits before recording his first out on a Crawford sacrifice fly – at which point Giants pitchers had allowed 11 hits and recorded four outs in an 8-0 game.
While holding the Giants scoreless for six innings, Greinke also came within a foot of a home run on a fourth-inning double off Lincecum – then did clear the wall in his next at-bat, connecting against Michael Kickham for a two-run homer into the left-field seats. It gave the Dodgers a season-high 13 runs in the sixth inning, and they eclipsed their previous high of 19 hits later in the inning on a single by Ramirez.
Perhaps the brightest spot of the night for the Giants occurred after a bases-loaded infield single by Crawford made it a 14-0 game in the sixth. Bochy came to the mound to relieve Kickham and summoned from the bullpen his son, Brett, for the latter’s major-league debut. It was the first time in major-league history that a manager brought his son in to pitch – and it came with the bases full of Dodgers.
“When he came out there, I said, ‘Hey, I’m sorry to put you in this situation,’ ” said Bruce Bochy. “But he’s a tough kid.”
Brett Bochy walked his first hitter, Uribe, to force in a run before inducing a pop-up by Ellis to bring the Dodgers’ third four-run inning of the night to an end. The 27-year-old right-hander said it was “awesome just to be out there, and it was special that (the elder Bochy) was there for it. My adrenaline was rushing.”
“I was proud,” Bruce Bochy said. “I was. He did fine. He hadn’t pitched in quite a while and this was a tough game to pitch in – they had their hitting shoes on over there. But a very, very proud moment for me, and I was glad to get him out there.”