It’s one thing to pummel a Pomeranz or to batter a Blach; it’s another to bum-rush a Bumgarner. One night after pounding a pair of lesser left-handers, the Dodgers faced a far more formidable foe in San Francisco Giants ace Madison Bumgarner on Wednesday night.
The Dodgers did well to play Bumgarner to a draw through six innings, thanks to another superb start by their own left-hander, Hyun-Jin Ryu, who gave up one run and four hits in eight innings, striking out six and walking none, his longest start since his rookie year in 2013.
But the Dodgers couldn’t dent the Giants bullpen, and San Francisco squeaked out a 2-1 walk-off win on Buster Posey’s two-out, run-scoring single in the ninth inning in front of 31,960 in Oracle Park.
“It’s unfortunate when you don’t win a game when he pitched the way he did,” manager Dave Roberts said of Ryu, who is 3-1 with a 2.55 earned-run average. “He had command of everything. His entire mix was really good. He was under control and kept those guys off-balance. Certainly, it was his best outing of the year.”
One problem: Bumgarner was just as good over six innings, giving up one run and four hits, striking out eight and walking two to lower his ERA to 2.56 in 34 starts against the Dodgers.
Bumgarner had 18 swings and misses, all on fastballs, his most in a game since Sept. 19, 2016, also against the Dodgers.
“This was as good as we’ve seen him as far as stuff,” Roberts said. “His fastball was 92-93 mph, at the top of the zone. He got ahead of guys, pitched inside with the slider … you have to give credit to their pitcher.”
With Ryu’s pitch count at 107 and left-handed reliever Scott Alexander unavailable because of a tight hamstring, Roberts summoned left-hander Julio Urias to face switch-hitter Pablo Sandoval and three left-handed hitters in the ninth.
Sandoval grounded out, but Steven Duggar singled to center and Gerardo Parra singled to left. Urias struck out Brandon Belt. Roberts turned to the right-handed Pedro Baez to face Posey.
Baez fell behind 3 and 1 in the count, and Posey stroked a 97-mph fastball into left field. Chris Taylor fielded the ball cleanly, but his on-the-fly throw home was a little high, giving the speedy Duggar just enough time to slide under catcher Russell Martin’s tag.
“I liked the right-on-right, the slider, the velocity,” Roberts said of the Baez-Posey matchup. “He just got behind and didn’t execute a pitch.”
The Dodgers used a big hit and some aggressive baserunning by Enrique Hernandez to tie the score 1-1 in the sixth. Hernandez led off with a double off the left-field wall, improving his average against Bumgarner to .511 (23 for 45) with four homers, six doubles and nine runs batted in.
Corey Seager struck out, dropping his average against left-handers this season to .154, and Justin Turner flied to center.
Cody Bellinger followed with a grounder down the first base line that Belt stopped well behind the bag with a diving backhand grab. Bellinger easily beat Bumgarner and Belt’s throw to the bag. Hernandez, running with the pitch, never slowed around third and scored.
“He got a good jump,” Roberts said of Hernandez. “It was a heads-up play by him. He just kept going.”
The Dodgers threatened against Reyes Moronta in the seventh when Taylor and Alex Verdugo singled. Ryu fouled off three bunt attempts for a strikeout. Taylor stole third during Hernandez’s at-bat, which ended in a strikeout. Verdugo stole second, but Seager struck out.
The Giants scored in the first inning. Duggar led off with a single and Tyler Austin doubled to deep center field, a drive on which Verdugo nearly made a spectacular catch.
Verdugo raced straight back in pursuit of the ball, which left Austin’s bat at 107.8 mph, and got the heel of his glove on the ball before leaping face-first into the wall. The impact of the collision jarred the ball loose.