Giants take advantage of Cody Bellinger’s risky throw to edge Dodgers
The Dodgers moved Cody Bellinger from center field to first base on Tuesday night in an effort to ease the stress on his tight left hamstring, manager Dave Roberts instructing Bellinger to “play with a governor” to avoid aggravating the injury.
Whatever governor Bellinger employed in the opener of a three-game series against the National League West-leading San Francisco Giants, the Dodgers might want to recall it before Wednesday night’s game.
Bellinger made a risky throw across the diamond that sailed far over the head of third baseman Justin Turner in an attempt to nail a runner he had little chance of getting, the error allowing the Giants to score the winning run in a 2-1 victory over the Dodgers before a crowd of 32,878 in Oracle Park.
With the score tied 1-1, Dodgers reliever Blake Treinen walked Buster Posey and Mike Yastrzemski to open the bottom of the eighth. Darin Ruf grounded up the middle to second baseman Max Muncy, who fielded the ball and chased Yastrzemski back toward first before throwing to Bellinger for an out.
Bellinger pump-faked to second base, and when he saw Posey’s momentum carrying him a bit toward home, he unleashed a throw to third just as Muncy was jogging into his line of vision. Bellinger’s throw reached the protective netting down the left-field line on a fly, allowing Posey to score for a 2-1 lead.
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“I haven’t watched it,” Bellinger said, when asked whether Muncy screened him on the play. “J.T. mentioned something. It’s possible. I don’t know how I would have thrown it that high. It was a horrible throw. I’ll go back and watch it on video and see what happened on that play.”
Roberts did watch a replay and was convinced Muncy may have run interference.
“I looked at it, and Muncy got kind of caught in the crossfire with the pump-fake after the exchange,” Roberts said. “I think that on release, he saw Muncy a little bit and overshot it.”
After giving up their major league-leading 57th unearned run of the season, Treinen got Wilmer Flores to ground out to second, Yastrzemski holding at third, and struck out LaMonte Wade Jr. to end the inning.
If he had to do it over again, would Bellinger have just eaten the ball?
“When I saw [Posey] turn, he had his momentum toward home, so I think a good throw gets him,” Bellinger said. “Obviously, there’s also the safe play in letting Blake try to get out of that inning because he has nasty stuff. I don’t know.”
The Dodgers wasted another strong start by left-hander Julio Urías, who gave up one run and six hits, struck out five and walked none in 5 2/3 innings. But Giants right-hander Logan Webb was just as good, giving up one run and three hits in six innings, striking out five and walking one.
The Dodgers took a 1-0 lead in the fifth when Bellinger broke up Webb’s no-hitter with a single to right, took second on AJ Pollock’s slow roller to shortstop and scored on Billy McKinney’s single to right-center.
San Francisco tied the score in the sixth when Austin Slater doubled to left with one out and scored on Posey’s single to center.
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Ruf singled to put two on with two outs, but Bellinger made a lunging backhand grab of a 102.5-mph Flores liner that appeared headed for the right-field corner to end the inning.
The Dodgers missed a chance to take the lead in the top of the eighth, which began with Luke Raley’s single and Chris Taylor’s one-out double to center off sidearm-throwing right-hander Tyler Rogers.
Up stepped Giants slayer Muncy, who entered with a .317 average and eight homers in 13 games against San Francisco. But Muncy grounded to Ruf, and the first baseman fired home to get Raley. Turner then flied to right to end the inning.
“We have one of our best hitters up right there,” Roberts said. “Max has been great all year. I’ll take Max any time with second and third, with a drawn-in infield. But it’s baseball. Those guys get paid to prevent runs.”
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