What we learned as Giants soundly beaten by Dodgers originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
SAN FRANCISCO -- It took the Giants more than three months to lose sole possession of first place. Once they got it back, the lead lasted about 22 hours.
The Dodgers took an early lead and cruised to a 6-1 win as the Giants once again struggled to find a big hit. They have left 26 runners on base through the first two games of this series and are 4-for-30 with runners in scoring position.
The teams are once again together atop the NL West with a game to go in their final series of the season. It'll be Dodgers ace Walker Buehler against the Giants bullpen on "Sunday Night Baseball."
The Dodgers got off to a quick start, scoring three runs in the first and knocking Jay Jackson -- the first of many relievers to take the mound -- out after he recorded just one out.
The 6 p.m. starts at Oracle Park usually lead to really tough hitting conditions because of the way the sun bounces off the batter's eye and lingers in the outfield, but the Giants didn't have any trouble early on either.
They got a run back on Buster Posey's double, but Julio Urias struck out Brandon Belt with two runners in scoring position and two outs. That was all for the scoring until the sixth, when Justin Turner made a trip around the bases on an infield single, throwing error, wild pitch and balk that didn't seem to be a balk.
Gabe Kapler woke up Saturday morning and immediately started thinking about Posey. He considered giving his 34-year-old catcher the night off after an 11-inning, 3-2 win that lasted four hours, 32 minutes, but the upcoming schedule is tricky. The Giants have a night game on Sunday and then a day game in Denver on Monday. They go night/day on Tuesday and Wednesday, too.
The best way to maximize Posey's playing time before Thursday's off day was to have him in the lineup, and it certainly worked out. Posey doubled his first time up and then notched two singles off Urias. It looked like he had a fourth hit in the eighth when he smoked a 99 mph two-seamer from Blake Treinen into right, but Mookie Betts made an athletic catch.
Friday night's game pushed Posey's average under .300 for the first time since April 24, but he got back to .304 with the big night.
This was supposed to be Alex Wood's game, but the lefty was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Monday and is "still struggling," according to Kapler. Wood still has a fever and chills and there's no timetable for his return.
The Giants will go with bullpen games in his spot and they chose Jay Jackson to face a top of the lineup that has the Turners and Mookie Betts in three of the top four spots. It didn't go well.
Trea Turner hit a leadoff homer to center that looked like a fly ball but kept carrying, and Jackson walked Betts and Justin Turner after striking out Max Muncy. A sac fly and double added a pair of runs.
The New Concept
The Giants plan to go with another bullpen game on Sunday, and probably for at least the next couple of weeks. In addition to Wood being out, Johnny Cueto is on the IL with an elbow strain. The first night of it didn't look great on paper, but actually wasn't all that bad.
Jackson struggled, but the guys who took over from him all pitched really well. Jarlin Garcia pitched 2 2/3 scoreless before Jose Alvarez put up a goose egg. Zack Littell struck out two in 1 1/3, and while he was charged with a run, it was because of the questionable balk on Jose Quintana. John Brebbia pitched a scoreless seventh and Caleb Baragar did the same in the eighth.
With a three-run deficit, Kapler put Sammy Long out there in the ninth. The rookie gave up a solo shot to Corey Seager but got Betts to fly out with the bases loaded.