LOS ANGELES -- The Giants absorbed a frustrating, but not particularly critical, defeat Wednesday night, as James Dozier's 12th-inning sacrifice fly drove in the winning run and gave the Dodgers a 4-3 victory at Dodger Stadium.
Giants right-hander Casey Kelly gave up a double to Yasmani Grandal leading off the bottom of the 12th. Player Page for Max Muncy singled Grandal to third. Then came Dozier, whose fly ball to left-center field scored Grandal easily.
All was not lost for the Giants. They captured the first two games of the three-game series, perpetuating their dreams of securing a postseason berth. Capturing a National League Wild Card spot could be difficult for the Giants, given the plethora of contenders. But winning the NL West remains a realistic goal for San Francisco, though many games will become a must-win situation.
The Giants overcame deficits in the eighth inning or later in all three games against the Dodgers.
"It shows that we just don't quit, that we have to finish," said right fielder Andrew McCutchen, whose three-run, eighth-inning homer tied the game and forced extra innings. "Regardless of what the score is, regardless of what inning it is, at any given moment we can come alive and score some runs."
The schedule illustrates why the Giants should maintain hope. Their next three series are against sub-.500 teams: the Reds, Mets and Rangers. Then comes a three-game showdown at home against the D-backs, the NL West leader.
First comes the rest of the Giants' three-city, 10-game road trip, which takes them to Cincinnati and New York.
"This is a big road trip," said Giants starter Derek Holland, who pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings but exited after throwing 93 pitches. "We have to take advantage of where we are in this situation. We have to try to push and get all the wins we can."
The Giants likely need to seize this opportunity, because September looms as a challenging month. Following a Labor Day weekend series at home against the Mets, San Francisco will play 12 consecutive games against teams that currently own winning records: two series against Colorado, which sandwich confrontations against Milwaukee and Atlanta.
The Giants are 27-35 on the road this season. However, they've won six of their last nine road games.
McCutchen gave the Giants exactly what they needed in the eighth. San Francisco trailed, 3-0, when Hunter Pence singled and Chase d'Arnaud walked to open the inning against Caleb Ferguson, the Dodgers' second reliever after starter Hyun-Jin Ryu limited the Giants to three hits in six innings.
Ferguson struck out Nick Hundley before McCutchen belted an 0-1 curveball over the center-field wall for his 14th homer of the season, tying him with Brandon Belt for the team lead.
The Dodgers snapped a scoreless tie in the sixth against Reyes Moronta. Yasiel Puig doubled, advanced on Grandal's long flyout and scored on Joc Pederson's sacrifice fly.
Los Angeles added a pair of runs in the seventh off right-hander Ray Black, who courted trouble by walking Justin Turner. Manny Machado's double scored Turner before Matt Kemp lashed an RBI single
"It was a heck of a series, a hard-fought series," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's good to see the fight in these guys. Every game, they fought and scratched and clawed. We just couldn't figure out a way to get one more run."
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Maybe Giants center fielder Gorkys Hernandez should try pitching when he's not busy playing outfield, his primary position. Hernandez scooped up Kemp's fifth-inning single and unleashed a throw that traveled at a velocity of 94.9 mph and carried 233 feet into catcher Buster Posey's glove, according to Statcast™.
Hernandez's throw home retired Dozier, who appeared to have scored with a head-first slide. But the Giants immediately called for a replay review, which overturned the call.
"I know I'm supposed to hit the cutoff man," said Hernandez, who went on to explain that throwing home to Posey was probably the only way to secure the out.
"What a great play Gorkys made," Bochy said. "Great play by Buster, too, to keep it a tight ballgame."
Following a day off -- which happens to begin a stretch of six of seven Thursdays when the club will be idle -- the Giants open a three-game series at Cincinnati on Friday at 4:10 p.m. PT. San Francisco will start right-hander Dereck Rodriguez (6-1, 2.25 ERA), their strongest NL Rookie of the Year Award candidate since Posey won the award in 2010. Rodriguez has recorded eight consecutive quality starts. He'll be opposed by Reds right-hander Anthony DeSclafani (6-3, 4.46).