Errors help shorten Fife's outing in loss to Giants
Rookie charged with three unearned runs; Federowicz slugs homer
SAN FRANCISCO -- With All-Star selections and a trade for pitcher Ricky Nolasco on a busy Saturday, there also was a game to be played for the Dodgers, and that didn't go well as they suffered a sloppy 4-2 loss to the Giants.
Although rookie catcher Tim Federowicz slugged a two-run homer and Hanley Ramirez extended his career-high hitting streak to 17 games with a triple, for the most part the Dodgers were stifled by Giants All-Star starter Madison Bumgarner (9-5), who struck out nine without a walk in seven innings.
Meanwhile, unlucky Dodgers starter Stephen Fife (3-3) went 4 1/3 innings, undermined mostly by three errors that translated into three unearned runs of the four he was charged with.
Not the best timing, for a rookie to make a short start while management is announcing the acquisition of a veteran starter. But if the Dodgers are thinking that Nolasco will replace Fife in the rotation instead of veteran Chris Capuano, you couldn't tell from a semi-non-committal Don Mattingly.
"I think he's pitched really well," the Dodgers manager said of Fife. "He's throwing the ball well. He's made a good impression. He's competitive, his stuff is good, he's consistent, he's kept us in games."
A Dodgers offense that had double figures in hits each of the five preceding games scratched out only four with Matt Kemp resting a sore shoulder. Carl Crawford went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts starting for Kemp and is 0-for-7 since returning from the disabled list.
With ESPN following him everywhere, Yasiel Puig had another career first, but not one to be proud of. He struck out all four times he batted only hours after being named one of five candidates for the All-Star National League Final Vote.
"It seemed he was overaggressive," Mattingly said of Puig, whose average has "dipped" from .440 to .407 as he's gone 2-for-14 in the last four games. "Madison is tough. That cutter in takes off, it's right at the top of the zone. [Puig] was aggressive out of the strike zone, which is what we've seen."
The Dodgers even got a run refunded in the bizarre bottom of the first inning when bench coach Trey Hillman noticed the Giants batting out of the order listed on the official lineup card after it appeared that All-Star catcher Buster Posey doubled home Gregor Blanco from third base with one out.
When the play ended, Mattingly came to home-plate umpire Tony Randazzo armed with the lineup card signed by Giants (and NL All-Star) manager Bruce Bochy, which showed that Pablo Sandoval should have been batting third when Posey hit.
Umpires huddled and quickly upheld Mattingly's objection, sending Blanco back to third base, calling Sandoval out for the second out and making Posey bat (again) in his actual fourth spot. Posey flied out to right to end the inning, the game still scoreless.
"Trey saw it as soon as he stepped in the box," said Mattingly. "It can happen easily when you make up the lineup."
"You feel humble," said Bochy, who explained that the players were going off an inaccurate lineup posted in the clubhouse. "It cost Buster a double, an RBI. There's not a worse feeling. That was a huge game for us. [Winning] does soften the blow."
The last Dodgers opponent caught batting out of order were the Cincinnati Reds on May 21, 1994.
In the second inning, the Giants scored twice before a ball left the infield. With one out, Brandon Belt was hit by a Fife pitch. Andres Torres hit a chopper to first baseman Adrian Gonzalez for an infield single. Second baseman Nick Punto fielded Brandon Crawford's grounder but pulled shortstop Ramirez off second base with an errant throw.
Fife then walked Bumgarner to force in the first run. Punto gloved Blanco's grounder up the middle behind the bag, but while attempting to flip it behind his back to Ramirez, Punto dropped the ball and another run scored. Marco Scutaro made it 3-0 Giants with a sacrifice fly.
In the fourth, Torres grounded another ball that had no business leaving the infield. Ramirez got his glove down too late to catch it, but in time to slow it down as it trickled through his legs. While Ramirez hung his head with hands on knees, Torres stretched it into a two-base error. He took third on Crawford's flyout to right and scored on Bumgarner's sacrifice fly.
"I let him down," Ramirez said of Fife. "We didn't do the job today."
Bumgarner lost his perfect game, no-hitter, shutout and half of his lead in the fifth inning. With two outs, Andre Ethier blooped a single in front of sliding left fielder Torres and Federowicz followed with a two-run homer to left.
"I don't have a history and he was pitching into my strength," said Federowicz. "I like the ball close to me and he throws a lot of fastballs and the cutter is my strong point. It helps that they see my average [.200] and take me lighter than the other guys."
Relievers J.P. Howell, Ronald Belisario and Paco Rodriguez followed Fife with 3 2/3 hitless innings to keep their team close and there was a chance for the Dodgers to close the gap in the seventh. With one out, Ramirez tripled off the left-field fence. But Juan Uribe followed with a sharp grounder to third base and Ramirez, running on contact, was thrown out at the plate by Sandoval.