Bullpen Struggles as Dodgers Take Game Three

The Giants wasted several opportunities, including a chance to get Matt Cain his first win of the season, as they fell to the Dodgers on Saturday 6-2.

San Francisco actually struck first off of LA starter Zack Greinke. Brandon Crawford and Brandon Hicks singled and walked to open the top of the second. Cain laid down a bunt single, loading the bases with nobody out. Hunter Pence collected tenth RBI of the season with a sacrifice fly, and Buster Posey singled home another run to make it 2-0 Giants.

In his first starter since returning from the disabled list after cutting his finger, Cain cruised through the first five innings. He had allowed just two hits, no runs, two walks, and struck out four. But then came the sixth.

Dee Gordon walked, Yasiel Puig singled, and Hanley Ramirez walked to load the bases and knock Cain out of the game. Jeremy Affeldt came in and got his signature double-play ground ball from Adrian Gonzalez, scoring a run for LA. The next batter, Matt Kemp, singled to left bringing in another run and tying the game. Affeldt got Carl Crawford to ground out to end the inning, but the damage was done.

In his return, Cain went five-plus innings, giving up three hits, two runs, four walks, and four strike outs. Despite a 4.25 ERA, he’s still winless (0-3) on the year.

The San Francisco offense couldn’t quite figure out Greinke (6-1). The Dodgers starter tossed seven innings, giving up just the two early runs, six hits, three walks, and striking out eight.

The game wouldn’t remain tied for long as the LA offense took advantage of an off-day by the otherwise-stellar Giants bullpen. With one out in the bottom of the seventh, Drew Butera doubled, and Gordon continued to be a thorn in the Giants side as he hit a ground-rule double to left to give the Dodgers the lead.

San Francisco then brought in their win-leader Jean Machi (5-0), who promptly gave up an RBI double to Puig, making it 4-2.

LA extended their lead in the eighth off of Juan Gutierrez. Kemp hit his fifth home run of the year, a solo shot to right, and Crawford followed it up with a single. Crawford stole second, moved to third on a ground out, and scored on a Butera sacrifice fly to make it 6-2.

The Giants left the bases loaded in both the first and the eighth. Pablo Sandoval stranded the runners in the first with a strike out, while Pence popped out to end the eighth. Sandoval is now batting .173 on the season with just six runs batted in. His last RBI came on April 16th against the Dodgers in San Francisco.

With the Rockies winning, San Francisco remains just a game up on Colorado for first place in the West. They’ll send ace Tim Hudson (4-2, 1.99) to the mound on Sunday to try to take the series as the offense faces reigning Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw (2-0, 0.66) for the first time this season.