Dodgers fall short despite Maholm's solid outing
Starter gives up one run in six innings, scores on Gordon's triple
SAN FRANCISCO -- So many things went wrong for the Dodgers on Wednesday night that it took a radiologist to cheer them up.
X-rays on Hanley Ramirez's left hand were negative, so at least there was that on a night when they lost a second consecutive one-run game to the Giants, 2-1.
Paul Maholm, like Josh Beckett before him, did his part, allowing one run over six solid innings, an outing wasted by the suddenly struggling offense after Maholm scored the only run against Ryan Vogelsong. The Dodgers tied the game in the sixth when Maholm, who had walked with two outs, was tripled home by Dee Gordon.
"It's a good sign with Josh and Paul pitching back to back like that," said manager Don Mattingly. "Their guy was a little bit better tonight."
Maholm, a former Opening Day starter, has been the fifth starter for the Dodgers, a part-time job considering their five recent days off. He was starting 11 days after his only other start, with a pair of relief appearances in between. He induced 10 ground-ball outs, including a pair of double plays.
"Not having a routine of every five days, I felt good," Maholm said. "It's tough to work on stuff when you throw an inning and you've got to get hitters out. But I actually felt good tonight."
Maholm turned it over to the Dodgers bullpen after a quality start, a nice rebound from his only other start 11 days earlier when the Giants roughed him up.
But reliever J.P. Howell opened the bottom of the seventh by walking Joaquin Arias, who was bunted to second by pinch-hitter Ehire Adrianza. Angel Pagan struck out, Hunter Pence was walked intentionally and Pablo Sandoval placed a broken-bat single up the middle to score Arias.
"Started off with a walk and that got them momentum, but I've got to tip my hat to Pablo, he hit a tough pitch," said Howell.
Chris Perez got the last out in the seventh inning, and Brandon League, who drew the loss Tuesday night, overcame a leadoff single by Michael Morse with a slick double play turned by Dee Gordon for a scoreless eighth inning.
That added another defensive highlight to Gordon's continuing offensive success. In addition to the RBI triple, he had two singles, one a perfect bunt, and is batting .404.
The Dodgers got off to a shaky start. They wasted a Gordon bunt single with a Ramirez double-play grounder. Center fielder Matt Kemp dropped a routine fly by Brandon Belt after miscommunicating with left fielder Carl Crawford for a two-base error. Adrian Gonzalez was called out for interfering with the catcher on his popup, which Buster Posey caught anyway.
Kemp got picked off first and Mattingly lost a replay challenging the call. Juan Uribe was caught stealing second with Drew Butera taking a strike on a play that looked like somebody missed a sign.
That all happened in the first three innings.
The Giants scored in the bottom of the third on a walk to Pagan and ground singles by Sandoval and Posey, the Giants not hesitating to run on left fielder Crawford.
The Dodgers tied the game in the sixth, and Maholm got it started walking on a 3-2 pitch. Gordon then drilled a 1-1 breaking ball for a triple to right-center with Maholm chugging all the way home without a throw.
"My main goal was that Dee wasn't tapping me on the back when I got to third," joked Maholm.
The Dodgers had a much more promising rally in the seventh when Ramirez was driven from the game by the 90 mph fastball that struck the back of his left hand, although X-rays were negative.
"Obviously I'm not trying to hit him in that situation, put the winning run on base in the seventh inning," said Vogelsong. "I'm trying to run the ball in on him. I went in on him first pitch and everything else had been away. I tried to sneak another one in there and get an out, and it ran in on him."
Gonzalez singled pinch-runner Justin Turner to second. After Kemp struck out, Andre Ethier's infield single loaded the bases, but Uribe bounced into a 1-2-3 rally-killing double play.