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Dodgers thwarted in quest for twin-bill sweep

MLB.com @kengurnick

SAN FRANCISCO -- A doubleheader split against the Giants on Saturday pretty much summed up the Dodgers' season so far.

The satisfaction of a 15-6 win in the day game was tempered by an 8-3 loss in the nightcap, as mounting injuries and continued bullpen struggles kept the Dodgers from gaining traction -- as well as any ground in the National League West-- sliding a season-worst seven games behind first-place Arizona.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- A doubleheader split against the Giants on Saturday pretty much summed up the Dodgers' season so far.

The satisfaction of a 15-6 win in the day game was tempered by an 8-3 loss in the nightcap, as mounting injuries and continued bullpen struggles kept the Dodgers from gaining traction -- as well as any ground in the National League West-- sliding a season-worst seven games behind first-place Arizona.

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"It's a tough month for us," said manager Dave Roberts, whose club is 12-14 and in fourth place. "The solace is, no one's making excuses. It's just not happening right now. It's a Murphy's Law thing this month. This is just a bad stretch. I know with the talent we have, the wins will be there. It's more magnified right now and it's not pretty."

Video: LAD@SF: Roberts on the 8-3 loss to the Giants

Roberts said he's hoping to get Matt Kemp back in the lineup Sunday. Kemp was limited to pinch-hitting Saturday after leaving Friday night's game with a tight quad. Fellow corner outfielder Yasiel Puig played only two of the 18 innings Saturday after suffering bruises of the left hip and ankle, the first running into the wall in the outfield corner, the other fouling off a pitch. X-rays on the ankle were negative, but he will be unavailable Sunday, Roberts said.

Enrique Hernandez was unavailable for both games Saturday because of flu-like symptoms, so his status for Sunday is unknown.

Considering the continued struggles of the bullpen, the Dodgers were fortunate to get the split. Dodgers relievers allowed four runs in each game and have been abused for 18 earned runs in their last 19 1/3 innings. In the second game, newcomer Daniel Hudson was the victim of four earned runs.

"These are our guys," said Roberts. "They're going to keep getting opportunities for them to throw up zeros. We need it. To play games close and lose them late, it's tough. They're in a little bit of a slump right now. You weigh matchups and usage and try to give the guys the best chance of success. The plan is in place and we've just got to execute better."

The second game opened with a Chris Taylor double and a Corey Seager homer off Johnny Cueto, who came into the game with a 0.35 ERA. Meanwhile, Dodgers starter Alex Wood kept his pitch count down while being supported by solid defensive plays from third baseman Kyle Farmer, left fielder Joc Pederson, shortstop Seager and a diving catch from second baseman Chase Utley.

Video: LAD@SF: Utley lays out to make terrific diving catch

But the Giants took the lead in the fifth inning. They loaded the bases with one-out singles by Brandon Belt, Kelby Tomlinson and Brandon Crawford, then cleared the bases on Austin Jackson's three-run double that Pederson bobbled trying to pick it up on the run. The momentary misplay allowed Crawford to score the go-ahead run ahead of Seager's relay home.

"Wish I had that changeup back to Austin," said Wood, an All-Star last year but still winless (0-3) this year.

Video: LAD@SF: Jackson lines double to left, clears bases

Meanwhile, Cueto didn't allow a hit after the 29-pitch first inning, but was removed after six innings and 98 pitches. He did open the fifth inning with back-to-back walks to between-games callup Alex Verdugo and Farmer. Wood bunted the runners over on a disputed play when he was tagged out while still in the batter's box, but Taylor struck out and Seager lined out.

The Dodgers had 20 hits in the first game but only five in the second. Verdugo was the only Dodger with multiple hits.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Dodgers had bases loaded with no outs in the seventh inning, trailing, 4-2, when pinch-hitter Austin Barnes bounced into a double play, cutting the deficit to 4-3. Then Chris Taylor took a called third strike from Sam Dyson to end the inning.

"We had some situational opportunities we didn't cash in and those guys did," said Roberts.

Video: LAD@SF: Pederson crosses the dish on double play

SOUND SMART
The Dodgers haven't swept a doubleheader from the Giants since July 26, 1988, at Candlestick Park.

HE SAID IT
"Johnny did a good job shutting us down after those two runs early. Tip your cap to him after getting off to a slow start." -- Wood on Cueto

UP NEXT
Kenta Maeda takes on Ty Blach in Sunday's 1:15 p.m. PT series finale, which also is the final game of 10 between the two teams in the first four weeks of the season. The next time they meet will be June 15-17 in Los Angeles. The Dodgers won't visit San Francisco again until the last three games of the regular season Sept. 28-30.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Alex Wood