After rain delays, Giants send Dodgers to 11th straight loss
SAN FRANCISCO -- When a team is on a historic losing streak, even the rain doesn’t last long enough.
In a game twice delayed for a total of 3 hours, 32 minutes because of rain, Hunter Pence’s third hit broke a sixth-inning tie, helping the San Francisco Giants extend the Los Angeles Dodgers’ skid to 11 games with an 8-6 victory in the opener of a three-game series Monday night.
The contest featured 40 players, including 15 pitchers, and ended at 2:10 a.m. PDT. The Giants blew a 4-0 lead before overcoming a 5-4 deficit by scoring four of the game’s final five runs.
“These guys showed a lot of character going out there and playing like that,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of his team, which played Sunday in Chicago. “I mean, hard-fought game, great ballgame back and forth. We found a way to get a win. It shows a lot about these guys that they were out there fighting.”
Denard Span homered into the San Francisco Bay, and Jarrett Parker added a solo shot as the last-place Giants evened the season series with first-place Los Angeles 7-7.
The 11th consecutive defeat established a West Coast record for the Dodgers, who despite the loss saw their magic number for clinching the National League West shrink to 10 thanks to the second-place Arizona Diamondbacks losing to the Colorado Rockies.
“I wouldn’t say demoralizing. I would say disappointing,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts labeled the loss. “I thought we were going to win that game. We put ourselves in a position to win. We just couldn’t hold the lead.”
The Dodgers (92-52) now lead the Washington Nationals (88-55) by just 3 1/2 games in the race for the best record in the NL.
Yasiel Puig homered for the Dodgers, his 25th of the season, giving the visitors a short-lived, 5-4 lead in the fifth inning.
The score was tied 6-6 in the last of the sixth before Pablo Sandoval grounded a one-out single off the fifth Dodgers pitcher, right-hander Pedro Baez (3-5).
Nick Hundley followed with a single, and after Baez struck out pinch hitter Kelby Tomlinson, Pence laced a single up the middle, scoring a sliding Sandoval with the go-ahead run.
“Honestly, in my mind, I didn’t think we were going to be playing tonight,” Span said. “Bochy came in (to the clubhouse) and said we’re playing at 10:50 (p.m.), and I gave him two slow blinks and said, ‘All right, here we go.’ Then we came out here and tried to battle our butts off.”
In the seventh, Buster Posey doubled home Span, who had walked, with an insurance run against Dodgers left-hander Tony Watson.
Right-hander Derek Law (4-1), the fourth Giants pitcher, got credit for the win despite allowing a game-tying RBI double to Justin Turner in the top of the sixth.
Protecting a two-run lead, San Francisco righty Hunter Strickland worked a 1-2-3 eighth, and closer Sam Dyson pitched around a walk in the ninth for his 13th save.
Span, batting third in a reshuffled order, had two hits, scored twice and drove in three runs for San Francisco, which was opening an eight-game homestand.
Posey collected two hits and two RBIs, and Pence scored twice for the Giants (57-89). San Francisco improved to 44-21 when scoring three or more runs.
Puig had two hits, and Corey Seager drove in two runs for the Dodgers, who were opening a 10-game trip.
The night’s first delay, which lasted 42 minutes, occurred before either starting pitcher began his warm-ups.
The skies opened again after Giants starter Chris Stratton struck out Curtis Granderson to lead off the game.
Stratton did not return after the 2-hour, 52-minute interruption.
“It was our preference,” Roberts said of continuing the game even after the second delay. “But it was out of our hands. It was the league’s decision.”
The Giants used a power display to put up four runs on Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda in the first three innings. Span had his two-run “Splash Hit” in the first, Parker a solo shot in the second and Pence a triple off the right field wall in the third, after which Joe Panik’s RBI infield out made it 4-0.
Span’s homer was his 12th of the season, a career best.
Maeda allowed four runs and four hits in three innings. He struck out four and did not walk a batter.
The Dodgers got even against Stratton’s replacement, left-hander Ty Blach, in a four-run fourth. Seager’s two-out, two-run single capped the rally and produced a 4-4 tie.
NOTES: During the 2-hour, 52-minute delay, the Dodgers reportedly balked at scheduling a makeup game on Thursday, noting it would eliminate the only off day on their schedule between Aug. 28 and Sept. 28. ... The second game of the series Tuesday will feature a showdown between Dodgers LHP Clayton Kershaw and Giants RHP Johnny Cueto. ... The “Splash Hit” by Giants CF Denard Span was his third of the season and fifth of his career. ... San Francisco announced before the game that it would sign RHP Ryan Vogelsong to a one-day contract Sunday and allow him to retire a Giant during a pregame ceremony. The 12-year major league began his career in 2000 with the Giants, and he returned for a second stint from 2011-15.