SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants found themselves in a familiar place Sunday, locked in an extra-inning struggle against the Dodgers. But this was one of those occasions where operating with little or no margin for error proved too challenging for the Giants, who dropped a 2-1 verdict to their traditional
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants found themselves in a familiar place Sunday, locked in an extra-inning struggle against the Dodgers. But this was one of those occasions where operating with little or no margin for error proved too challenging for the Giants, who dropped a 2-1 verdict to their traditional archrivals.
Rookie right-hander Pierce Johnson, who contributed two scoreless relief innings to the Giants' superior all-around effort in Saturday's 14-inning victory, was saddled with the decision this time as he yielded doubles to Cody Bellinger leading off the 10th and to pinch-hitter James Farmer with two outs.
However, the Giants squandered chances to avoid extra innings and inch ahead of the Dodgers much earlier. But little lapses made huge differences:
• Gorkys Hernandez's baserunning blunder in the sixth inning led to a double play that extricated Los Angeles from a two-on, one-out jam.
• Austin Jackson's unsuccessful attempts to bunt in the eighth inning after the Giants forged a 1-1 tie halted their momentum.
In the first instance, Hernandez batted for starter Ty Blach (one run and four hits allowed in six innings) and singled to left-center field. Jackson singled him to second base. Hernandez took off for third base on Joe Panik's subsequent line drive to right, but Yasiel Puig made the catch as well as the short throw to second base for the inning-ending double play.
"Gorkys has to hold his ground a little bit. Puig's a good outfielder," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's a tough situation. Gorkys was better off to wait and see what happened."
Two innings later, everything looked full of promise for the Giants as consecutive singles by Hunter Pence, Kelby Tomlinson and Buster Posey, playing the role of pinch-hitter, delivered the tying run. But with runners on first and second and nobody out, Jackson was unable to sacrifice against Dodgers reliever JT Chargois. That changed the complexion of the inning, which turned in the Dodgers' favor when Jackson grounded into a double play. Reliever Tony Cingrani then retired Panik on a fly ball.
The Giants had a chance to at least pull even in the 10th after Hunter Pence grounded a one-out infield single.
"We had some really good hitters coming up," Bochy said. "I liked my chances."
Then, Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen struck out Brandon Crawford as Pence stole second base. Jansen also struck out pinch-hitter Brandon Belt, who was left in disbelief as plate umpire Bruce Dreckman ruled that Jansen's apparently high 2-2 pitch was within the confines of the strike zone.
Asked if he had watched a replay of the final pitch, Belt replied, "Yeah, but I didn't need to. … A ball is a ball. If I swing at a ball right there, everybody is going to be a lot more mad that I swung at a ball and missed it."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Tommy ball: Less than 24 hours after his 14th-inning single launched the Giants' winning rally Saturday, Tomlinson made another key contribution with his eighth-inning bunt single that caught the Dodgers' defense out of position. It followed a leadoff single by Pence, who advanced to second base and scored the tying run on Posey's pinch-hit single.
Drowning in a sea of glove: Both teams played effective defense, contributing to the low-scoring affair. The Giants supported Blach with a pair of double plays. This helped Blach trim his career ERA against the Dodgers to 1.90 (10 earned runs, 47 1/3 innings) in nine career games (six starts). Also, reliever Josh Osich helped himself by foiling Chris Taylor's attempted steal of second base in the eighth inning with a timely pickoff throw to first base.
Left-hander Derek Holland will make his second start for the Giants and first at AT&T Park when he confronts the Arizona Diamondbacks in Monday's series opener beginning at 7:15 p.m. PT. Right-hander Zack Godley is scheduled to start for the D-backs.
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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.