Culberson revels in other side of rivalry

Dodgers utility man hits game-winner vs. Giants, makes great catch in left

April 10th, 2016

SAN FRANCISCO -- The eighth renewal of Clayton Kershaw vs. Madison Bumgarner on Saturday turned into your typical, chaotic, unpredictable, rainy, gooey Dodgers-Giants mess at AT&T Park.

It ended with a 3-2 Dodgers win in 10 innings on back-to-back doubles from shortstops on the opposite end of the spectrum, rookie sensation Corey Seager and former Giants farmhand Charlie Culberson, that pair among the five players in the Dodgers lineup at the finish who spent most of last year in the Minor Leagues.

Culberson, who made the club as a non-roster invitee to Spring Training, started the game at shortstop and had a pair of doubles. Later -- forced into action in left field for the first time since 2013 because of the Dodgers' depleted roster -- Culberson made a spectacular diving catch on Angel Pagan's liner to the gap in the eighth.

"It's always fun playing here, the crowd is always in the game, and at certain points the stadium is like rumbling," Culberson said. "To come back here, playing against them, now I see how intense it is -- Dodgers-Giants. For today to be the sixth game of the year, at certain points -- I've never played in the postseason but it felt like postseason baseball in the sixth game of the year. As a kid, that's what I picture myself being in. A lot of fun."

"I really feel confident in his defense when I want to rest Corey," manager Dave Roberts said of Culberson. "Then to put him in left field and see the diving catch and a game-winning hit, for me, one of the real joys was to tell him he made the club out of Spring Training."

After losing the first two games of this series, the Dodgers won this one by overcoming their own flaws. Kershaw, for example, was taken deep by Bumgarner and Ehire Adrianza, the bottom two batters in the San Francisco order. He still pitched eight innings and allowed only four hits while striking out five and walking one.

"It was pretty rough today," said Kershaw, whose pregame routine was disrupted by miscommunication resulting from a 41-minute rain delay. "I had a lot of lineouts. Guys made pretty good plays. Charlie made an awesome play for me. It could have been worse, for sure."