There were more errant throws by both teams at AT&T; Park on Tuesday night, more misplayed balls in the outfield, more bullpen trouble.
The Dodgers had Manny Ramirez. The Giants didn’t.
Ramirez helped break a ninth-inning stalemate, doubling for the third time in the game and scoring the go-ahead run in the Dodgers’ 5-3 victory over the Giants.
Andre Ethier knocked in Ramirez with a double, Matt Kemp scored Ethier with a triple and Will Ohman recorded a 1-2-3 save in the bottom of the ninth.
Just like that, Rafael Furcal’s costly throwing error in the third inning became a side note, as did Jonathan Broxton’s walking in of the tying run in the eighth.
The game featured 7 1/3 gritty innings of three-run ball by Chad Billingsley, who was in line to improve to 5-0 until Broxton walked Rich Aurilia with the bases loaded.
Billingsley would have become the third Dodgers pitcher to win each of his first five starts in the last 21 years, joining Kaz Ishii (2002) and Orel Hershiser (1988).
Billingsley had to battle his way out of trouble all night, starting in the first inning.
A double by Pablo Sandoval nearly scored Randy Winn, but a relay throw by shortstop Furcal nailed Winn at the plate by what appeared to be the narrowest of margins. Replays showed that Winn’s left hand swiped the plate before he was tagged out by catcher Russell Martin.
The Dodgers went ahead, 1-0, in the second inning, courtesy of left fielder Fred Lewis, who dropped a routine fly ball by Ethier and let him reach second base. Ethier scored on a single by James Loney.
Billingsley was pushed again in the bottom half of that inning, which he started by giving up back-to-back singles to Aaron Rowand and Travis Ishikawa. But he forced Juan Uribe to ground into a double play and struck out Emmanuel Burriss to escape.
The Giants finally got to Billingsley in the third, scoring twice with some help from Furcal to pull ahead, 2-1.
With men on first and second, Furcal fielded a grounder by Sandoval but sent the ball into the Dodgers’ dugout to score Lewis. Winn scored a few batters later on an infield single by Ishikawa.
Giants shortstop Edgar Renteria immediately gave the Dodgers back the run his team scored on Furcal’s errant throw. Renteria made a throw similar to Furcal’s on a grounder hit to him by Loney, scoring Ethier to tie it at 2-2.
Billingsley cruised through the next four innings, facing only one batter more than the minimum.
The Dodgers took a 3-2 advantage in the seventh, which Ramirez led off with a double to right off Brandon Medders.
Ethier walked and Kemp singled, bringing Loney to the plate with the bases loaded. Loney drew a walk in an eight-pitch at-bat to force in the go-ahead run.
The lead evaporated in the eighth when Billingsley came out with two on and one out. Manager Joe Torre said that using Broxton in the eighth inning was something he wanted to avoid, but the shortage of reliable arms in the bullpen forced his hand.