LOS ANGELES -- Rich Hill outdueled Ty Blach and the sizzling Dodgers didn't even need to come from behind Saturday to beat the Giants, 2-1, running their latest win streak to seven and extending their MLB record for consecutive games won when leading at some point to 51.Hill, battling a
LOS ANGELES -- Rich Hill outdueled Ty Blach and the sizzling Dodgers didn't even need to come from behind Saturday to beat the Giants, 2-1, running their latest win streak to seven and extending their MLB record for consecutive games won when leading at some point to 51.
Hill, battling a cold for the second week, is 8-4 this year and 4-0 with a 1.45 ERA in July. Although Hill said he lacked fastball command early, he had a perfect game through 3 2/3 innings when Hunter Pence homered, cutting in half a Dodgers lead provided by a double from Corey Seager followed by an RBI single from Cody Bellinger in the first inning, then a repeat by Seager and Bellinger of the double/single in the third inning.
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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts removed Hill with two out in the sixth inning with Pence coming up and agreed that the comfortable division lead and deep bullpen allows him to manage differently.
"Outside of the mistake to Pence, we pushed him a lot and where he's at, I like the matchup with Petey [Pedro Baez] right there," Roberts said. "Where we're at right now, the next month and a half, we have to be aware of pitcher usage and make sure they're fresh. Right now it doesn't make a lot of sense to push him."
Hill allowed two hits and Kenley Jansen earned his 27th save, saved from allowing three baserunners by a double-play grounder from Pence.
"I totally understand, there's a lot of season left," said Hill, who allowed only two hits. "It would have been great but overall we played extremely great today."
The win put the Dodgers 13 1/2 games in front of Arizona, 42 games above .500 for the first time since 1974 and 38-6 most recently, the best 44-game stretch in franchise history and best in MLB since the 1942 Cardinals. They've won 18 of their last 20 and a win Sunday would give the Dodgers their 14th series sweep of the season, the most since the 1976 club had 15 sweeps.
Blach (6-7) kept the score close while yielding both Dodgers runs and eight hits in seven innings. He was able to fool enough hitters despite facing Los Angeles for the fifth time in 42 big league appearances.
"I think we've been able to mix in all four of my pitches, throw different pitches to different guys," Blach said. "Just give them a different look every time."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Easy as 1-2-3: The Dodgers could have buried Blach in the first inning with one run in, one out and the bases loaded. But after falling behind Yasiel Puig in the count, 2-0, Blach got Puig to bounce a 3-2 pitch back to the box for a 1-2-3 inning-ending double play.
"You're another fielder out there," Blach said. "It's good to be able to make plays when they hit it to you."
Puig atonement: After the double-play grounder, Puig took his position and immediately made the defensive play of the game -- a running, sliding catch on the foul line of a Buster Posey liner, with Puig plowing into the side wall but hanging on to the ball.
"Yasi's catch was great out there," said Hill.
"His mix is very simple, but when he's attacking, he's in a good place." -- Roberts, on Hill
Giants: Switching places with Player Page for Matt Cain in the starting rotation, Madison Bumgarner instead will get the call in Sunday's series finale against Los Angeles, which begins at 5:05 p.m. PT. Bumgarner's coming off his first victory of the season, a five-inning effort last Tuesday against Pittsburgh.
Dodgers:Hyun-Jin Ryu starts the homestand finale Sunday with a 5:05 p.m. PT first pitch. Ryu returned from the disabled list (foot contusion) with a decent start against the Twins, allowing two runs in five innings. In his only start against the Giants this year, he allowed one run over six innings in a 2-1 loss.
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Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001.
Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.