LOS ANGELES — Clayton Kershaw threw two wild pitches and gave up three runs in seven innings Friday night. That’s as close to human as he gets in the regular season, but a sloppy Giants team couldn’t come close to taking advantage of it.
The middle infielders made three errors, including two costly ones in a four-run fourth inning, as the Giants lost 7-3 in the ninth career matchup between Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner. The Giants’ ace wasn’t helped by his defense, but he also was undone by three pitches to his personal version of Paul Goldschmidt: utility man Enrique Hernandez.
Hernandez entered the day 8-for-24 in six career starts against the Giants, and he wasted no time against Bumgarner. The left-hander’s first pitch of the night was a fastball that caught too much of the plate and Hernandez blasted it 451 feet to center. In the third Hernandez got another elevated fastball and hit this one 435 feet to left.
With that homer, Hernandez improved to 9-for-15 off Bumgarner, with three homers. He wasn’t done, but first, the Giants had to take turns making a mess of the fourth.
The trouble started when Bumgarner walked leadoff hitter Justin Turner and gave up a single to Howie Kendrick. A.J. Ellis hit a chopper to short two batters later, but Kelby Tomlinson couldn’t handle it. Charlie Culberson dropped a two-run single to right but the Giants appeared to catch a break when Hunter Pence came up firing and caught Ellis too far past the bag at second. Tomlinson was slow getting the tag down, though, and Ellis slid back in safely. Joe Panik followed with an errant flip on a grounder to second, loading the bases for Hernandez.
The Dodgers’ “Rally Banana” put the game out of reach, lining a first-pitch slider inside the third-base bag to give the Dodgers a 6-1 lead.
Starting pitching report: Bumgarner was charged with seven runs in five-plus innings, but only four of them were earned. The night would have gone a lot better without Hernandez, who has the three hardest-hit balls off Bumgarner this season, per MLB.com.
Bullpen report: Derek Law made his MLB debut in the seventh and struck out Adrian Gonzalez on a nasty curveball. After a Justin Turner triple, he struck out Kendrick and Trayce Thompson. He hit 96 mph. He chirped at Turner. He can stay.
At the plate: The best pitcher in the world spiked a curveball 55 feet to a pitcher, and then followed that off with a slider in the dirt. That’s what Bumgarner has done to Kershaw. Their matchups were fascinating, and Bumgarner got another hit. He twice has homered off Kershaw’s fastball, so the first offering Friday was a slider. Bumgarner lined it to left for a single. Kershaw did throw a couple fastballs for strikes in the fifth, but went to his slider for the strikeout.
In the field: It was ugly. See above.
Attendance: The Dodgers announced a crowd of 53,449 people who will one day say they were there for Derek Law’s debut.
Up next: A rematch of last Saturday’s strange game. Johnny Cueto makes his first Orange-and-Black start at Dodger Stadium. Scott Kazmir goes for the Dodgers.