Hanley's heroics not enough to give Dodgers the win
LOS ANGELES -- If they can get past the final score and that sinking feeling in the standings, the Dodgers had a good Mother's Day.
Clayton Kershaw struck out nine Giants without a walk over seven innings. Hanley Ramirez lasered a two-run, game-tying homer off closer Sergio Romo with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Andre Ethier, put "back in the mix" by manager Don Mattingly after three games on the bench, had three of the club's 14 hits. Center fielder Matt Kemp finally showed signs of Gold Glove defense. Yasiel Puig homered and flipped his bat, but ran around the bases so quickly that nobody complained about being shown up.
The Dodgers used that and more to put the best spin possible on a 7-4 loss to the Giants in 10 innings, their third loss of the four-game series, one that left them trailing their rivals by 4 1/2 games. The Dodgers are 3-7 against the Giants this season, have lost their last five series against San Francisco, are 3-7 in extra-inning games and have a 7-12 record at home.
"We're OK," said Mattingly, who was concerned enough before the series to call a team meeting and remind his players to show up ready to play. "We know we can play. We've just got to get it together."
Although Kershaw was nearly his typical Cy Young self, he also hung an 0-2 curveball to Brandon Hicks for a two-run homer immediately after the Dodgers had given him a one-run lead. It's the first Kershaw regular-season curve ever hit out.
"We played really good," said Kershaw (2-1). "Guys made plays, got clutch hits, played the game the right way. For me to give up the home run after we got the lead, I kind of gave it up there. For me, personally, I've got to shut it down right there."
Even worse, the bullpen in general, and closer Kenley Jansen in particular, broke down. After Ramirez's homer, Jansen walked the first batter in the 10th, and that led to the winning three-run rally, which included a pair of wild pitches that shot through the legs of catcher Miguel Olivo and clutch RBI singles by Pablo Sandoval and Hector Sanchez.
Those were needed because Romo blew a save by allowing Ramirez's home run, which just cleared the left-field fence. Ramirez has three blasts in 15 at-bats against Romo.
The bullpen has now suffered 11 of the club's 19 losses. Jansen, who had a career ERA of 2.10 going into the season, is at 4.58. Even Chris Withrow, who could do no wrong this season, issued a one-out walk in the eighth inning, and it that turned into the Giants' fourth run thanks to a Buster Posey RBI single, preventing Ramirez's tying blast from being a winning one.
Jansen said he feels fine physically.
"I messed up," Jansen said. "Right now there ain't no panic in me. Nothing. I never panic. I'm just going to go out there and just keep competing. I know who I am, and I know what kind of stuff I have. It's really frustrating when guys get back in that game, and three runs scored in the 10th -- that cannot happen. I'll take it on me, and hopefully these guys come back tomorrow and I get back in there and close the game out."
Puig led off the bottom of the sixth inning with his sixth home run, extending his hitting streak to 11 games. This homer went off without incident, despite his customary bat flip, because he ran around the bases after just one hesitating step. He picked up the pace noticeably from Friday night, when Madison Bumgarner reacted with anger to Puig's home run trot.
"He hit the [bleep] out of it," said Giants starter Tim Hudson, who threw the pitch. "I probably would have flipped [the bat], too."
The Giants then defeated themselves with the exaggerated defensive shift deployed Ramirez, who hit right into the teeth of it with what should have been a routine ground ball to shortstop Ehire Adrianza.
But the Giants also had second baseman Hicks on the left side of second base. Each fielder let the other have it, neither made a play, and while they were looking at each other, Ramirez hustled the routine out into a double. Adrian Gonzalez lined a single over Adrianza's head to score Ramirez with the second run.
An insurance run was cut down at the plate by center fielder Angel Pagan when Gonzalez tried to score from second base on Justin Turner's single up the middle.
The two-run sixth overcame the run the Giants scored in the first inning, when they could have had more, and could have had none. It started with singles by Pagan and Hunter Pence, but Pagan fell heading to third and retreated to second. Posey bounced into a double play, with Pagan taking third, and Pagan scored on Sandoval's double, which Kemp was unable to catch after a long run and dive.