LOS ANGELES -- Performing like the staff ace that he is acknowledged to be, Madison Bumgarner subdued the Los Angeles Dodgers' offense for 7 2/3 innings Saturday night to help the San Francisco Giants prevail, 2-1.Run-scoring singles from Buster Posey and Denard Span helped the Giants back Bumgarner, who limited
LOS ANGELES -- Performing like the staff ace that he is acknowledged to be, Madison Bumgarner subdued the Los Angeles Dodgers' offense for 7 2/3 innings Saturday night to help the San Francisco Giants prevail, 2-1.
Run-scoring singles from Buster Posey and Denard Span helped the Giants back Bumgarner, who limited a Dodgers lineup lacking Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger to five hits. The Dodgers hold a one-game lead over the Indians for the best record in baseball and own a 4 1/2-game lead over the Nationals for home-field advantage in the National League.
The Giants won for only the fourth time in Bumgarner's 17 starts, a fact that the left-hander seized upon in his postgame remarks.
"It's much easier to go home and sleep tonight, knowing that we won," said Bumgarner, who lost his previous four decisions. "Because even if you have the same exact start -- 7 2/3, one run -- and you lose, it's a lot tougher to go to sleep that night. That's what it's about, is winning. ... So there have been a lot of sleepless nights this year for me."
The Dodgers had to call on their bullpen early in the contest, after starter Hyun-Jin Ryu took a line drive off his left forearm in the third inning. Right-hander Brandon McCarthy, a former starter in the Dodgers' rotation, pitched three innings of relief, allowing one run.
"It was good to see; he was good back in a different role," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "To come out and give us three innings and really [throw] the baseball well, it was very encouraging. Give him a day or two and we'll get him back out there again."
Posey opened the scoring in the first inning by driving in Gorkys Hernandez with a two-out single. Span smacked an RBI single up the middle in the fifth off McCarthy. Austin Barnes hit a leadoff homer in the eighth for the Dodgers' only run.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Swipe, swipe: In the top of the fifth, the Giants added another run thanks to a timely steal. The Giants tested the arm of Dodgers backup catcher Barnes as Hernandez swiped second and moved to third after Joe Panik's groundout. Span brought him home with a two-out single.
Shutting it down: The Dodgers struggled to string together hits Saturday, but caught a break in the seventh. Kiké Hernandez hit a one-out line drive to center field, just out of the reach of Span. But Bumgarner shut down the scoring threat, getting Yasiel Puig to ground out and John Forsythe to fly out to end the frame.
After reaching first base on a fielder's choice in the ninth, Puig attempted to swipe second, but was thrown out to end the game and came up hobbling with an apparent ankle injury. Roberts was visibly frustrated postgame about Puig's baserunning.
"I don't know what happened," Roberts said. "He went on his own and decided not to slide. [They're] evaluating his ankle. Can't get thrown out there, can't happen. Bad baseball. I can't explain it. Guess you'll ask him. Plays like that, when you're trying to win championships, it can't happen. I have no idea. It's hard to explain."
Giants: Right-hander Chris Stratton, whose 2.38 ERA since Aug. 5 is the best among San Francisco starters from that juncture, will start Sunday's 1:10 p.m. PT series finale at Dodger Stadium. The Giants also have won five of Stratton's seven starts during this stretch.
Dodgers: The Dodgers will close out their season series with the Giants as ace Clayton Kershaw will take the mound Sunday. Kershaw threw six innings of one-run ball when he last faced the Giants on Sept. 12. First pitch is slated for 1:10 p.m. PT.
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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.
Joshua Thornton is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.