Dodgers lack spark in losing series to Giants
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Dodgers' team-wide funk continued Sunday with a 4-2 loss to the Giants that included the midgame benching of Rookie of the Year Cody Bellinger, who had two hits but didn't hustle out of the box on his fifth-inning double.
The Dodgers now trail their next opponent, the D-backs, by seven games, the furthest they've been out of first place after 27 games since 1967.
"We lose three of four to a division foe, we've just got to play better baseball," said manager Dave Roberts.
Starting pitcher Kenta Maeda came up flat, spotting the Giants a first-inning lead on Evan Longoria's three-run homer, and the depleted Dodgers offense could never recover against their personal tormentor, Giants starter Ty Blach.
Blach is 4-2 with a 2.03 ERA against the Dodgers and 7-13 with a 5.14 ERA against the rest of baseball. Blach allowed two runs on six hits over six-plus innings.
This time, however, Roberts was as critical of his offense as he was complimentary to Blach.
"Today, Blach was on the corners, he was down, changing speeds, he pitched well," said Roberts. "With that said, we abandoned our relentlessness to run into deep counts too quickly. There's a little bit of panic in our at-bats where we feel we have to end an at-bat sooner than I think we should. When you can't count on running an at-bat like we should, this is going to happen."
The Dodgers scored in the sixth inning on a one-out double by Chris Taylor and a two-out single by Enrique Hernandez, who missed Saturday's games with flu-like symptoms. Matt Kemp singled Hernandez to third, but Yasmani Grandal struck out to end the threat.
They cut the deficit to 4-2 in the seventh inning. Player Page for Max Muncy, who replaced Bellinger, reached on an infield single, took second on Austin Barnes' bounceout and was singled in by pinch-hitter Joc Pederson.
The Dodgers ran themselves out of one of their few opportunities in the fifth inning when Bellinger, who led off with a double but was slow out of the batter's box, was doubled off second base by shortstop Brandon Crawford after his diving catch of James Farmer's line drive.
Bellinger, who also singled in the second inning, was removed from the game in the bottom of the sixth inning. Afterward, Roberts said he removed Bellinger for not hustling on his fifth-inning double.
Maeda, who came into the game with 31 strikeouts and six walks, walked four with three strikeouts. Two of the four batters that walked came around to score. All four Giants runs scored with two outs.
"I thought Kenta just didn't have fastball command for me," said Roberts. "To go six innings and give up four runs was OK. But he left a slider middle and that was the difference."
The Dodgers' depth, meanwhile, is being tested. Third baseman Justin Turner has been out all season, second baseman John Forsythe is out with a sore shoulder from making the longer throw after replacing Turner at third base and Yasiel Puig joined them on the disabled list Sunday with a hip pointer and bruised foot.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Dodgers had one prime chance to get back in the game with two out in the sixth inning, one run in, runners on the corners, Grandal up and Blach appearing to be on the ropes. But Grandal struck out on three pitches.
HE SAID IT
"I'm going to keep playing the way I do. I don't think anybody can tell me how to play; I always play hard." -- Bellinger
The Dodgers open a four-game series against the first-place D-backs in a 6:40 p.m. PT game Monday at Chase Field, with Thomas Stripling the substitute starter for Rich Hill. It will be Stripling's first start of the season for the Dodgers after 10 relief appearances. Zack Greinke is slated to start for Arizona.