The Giants defeated their bitter rivals on Sunday 7-4 in ten innings, taking three-of-four games in LA and sending a message to the Dodgers: that San Francisco is the team to beat in this division.
Facing the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw in the series finale was going to be a challenge, but the Giants bats rose to the occasion, tapping him for a run right away. Angel Pagan and Hunter Pence led off the game with back-to-back singles. After Buster Posey ground into a double play, the slumping Pablo Sandoval crushed a double – his first RBI since April 16 – to give San Francisco an early lead against Kershaw.
That lead seemed to be enough for Tim Hudson, who was once again solid and efficient, despite having his shortest outing of the year. The Giants righty gave his team five shut-out innings before the Dodgers offense finally broke through against him. Yasiel Puig led off the bottom of the sixth with a solo home run – his second of the series and sixth of the season – to get LA on the board.
Hanley Ramirez followed it up with a hit between Ehire Adrianza and Brandon Hicks that was stretched into a double when Adrianza forgot to cover second base. Adrian Gonzalez singled home Ramirez to give the Dodgers their first lead of the day 2-1. Hudson wouldn’t get the win, but he kept the Giants in the game with another quality start. He lasted six innings, allowing eight hits, two runs, one walk, and two strikeouts. He threw 78 pitches – 54 strikes – and of the 18 outs that he got, 16 of them were groundballs.
Hudson looked to be in line for the undeserved loss, but the Giants rallied..against Kershaw. Sandoval led off the top of the seventh before Brandon Hicks crushed an 0-2 curveball over the fence in left. It was the first time in his career that Kershaw has allowed a home run on a curveball, it was Hicks’ seventh bomb of the year, and it gave San Francisco a 3-2 lead.
The black and orange tacked on another run in the eighth when Pagan worked a one-out walk, moved to second on a Pence groundout, and scored on a single by Posey. After a rough few weeks, Posey’s average is up to .306 after going two-for-four on Sunday.
But nothing is ever easy against the Dodgers, and the 4-2 lead wasn’t safe. Sergio Romo came in for the save and gave up a one-out double to Dee Gordon before allowing a two-run home run to Ramirez, tying the game at four and sending it to extras.
Kenley Jansen took the mound for LA in the tenth, and the Giants jumped all over him. Pagan walked and Pence singled before Jansen threw a wild pitch, moving both runners into scoring position. The Dodgers intentionally walked Posey, loading the bases for Sandoval, who singled into left to give San Francisco back the lead. For the Giants third baseman, it was his first multi-RBI game since April 5th when he had three, also against the Dodgers.
San Francisco extended the lead two batters later when pinch-hitter Hector Sanchez singled off of J.P. Howell to bring home Pence and another wild pitch allowed Posey to score, making it 7-4.
Jean Machi allowed a walk to Justin Turner and a single to Scott Van Slyke in the bottom of the tenth before closing it out to earn his first Major League save.
The Giants are finally headed home after a ten-game road trip that saw them face three teams that all played in the 2013 postseason (Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles). The Giants went a remarkable 7-3 on the trip and are headed back to AT&T Park in first place in the West and tied for the best record in the Majors (24-14, Milwaukee).