Dodgers beat Giants, snap 11-game losing streak
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Los Angeles Dodgers didn’t shake hands Tuesday night. They hugged.
This was more than just another regular-season win.
Yasiel Puig capped a four-run fourth inning with a two-run double, and Clayton Kershaw combined with three relievers to protect a lead, allowing the Dodgers to snap an 11-game losing streak with a 5-3 victory over the San Francisco Giants.
Chase Utley homered into the San Francisco Bay, and Cody Bellinger reached base in five consecutive plate appearances, three times via intentional walks, as the Dodgers ended the longest skid in their West Coast history with their first win since Sept. 1.
“We can exhale a little bit,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said afterward. “You see guys enjoying this win more than they usually do. That’s a good thing.”
The victory, coupled with Arizona’s 4-2 home loss to the Colorado Rockies, allowed the Dodgers (93-52) to extend their lead atop the National League West to 10 games over the Diamondbacks (83-62).
Kelby Tomlinson had a home run off Kershaw for the Giants, who still have a chance to win the three-game series when the clubs face off one more time Wednesday night.
“You’re going against one of the (premier) pitchers in the game,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “You have to play your best ball, and we didn’t do that.”
Kershaw (17-3) allowed eight hits and a walk in six innings, but he limited the Giants to two runs (one earned). Los Angeles held a 4-2 lead when he was pulled from the game.
“Tonight wasn’t easy. Nothing about this last week’s been easy,” said Kershaw, who ran his career record against the Giants to 21-9. “I wasn’t very good tonight. It was a full team effort. It had to be.”
Kershaw struck out six, giving him 301 in 289 1/3 career innings against the Giants. The Dodgers are 21-3 in games started by their ace this season.
“This needs to happen,” Kershaw said. “Every time we lost, it made it that much harder to win a game. We needed this one.”
Right-handers Ross Stripling, Brandon Morrow and Kenley Jansen combined for three innings of six-hit, one-run relief, with Jansen surviving a rocky ninth inning for his 37th save.
Jansen allowed consecutive one-out singles to Denard Span, Joe Panik and Hunter Pence in the ninth to load the bases. He then struck out Buster Posey on a full count and fanned Nick Hundley on three pitches to end it.
“A lot of good things happened -- how we battled back, got within a run,” Bochy said of his last-place club. “They battled, competed ... We just came up a little short.”
The Giants (57-90) closed within 4-3 against Stripling in the seventh inning on a fielder’s choice ground ball by Pence, scoring Span.
Stripling then got Posey to ground into a double play, ending the threat.
Justin Turner doubled home Chris Taylor, who had singled, for a Dodgers insurance run in the eighth off the fifth Giants pitcher, right-hander Derek Law, making it a two-run game.
Right-hander Johnny Cueto (7-8) took the loss for the Giants, who were beaten at home by the Dodgers for only the eighth time in the past 29 meetings.
Puig, Bellinger and Taylor had two hits apiece for the Dodgers, who were playing their second contest on a 10-game trip.
The Dodgers stranded 13 baserunners, the Giants 11.
Pence and Panik collected three hits apiece, while Tomlinson, Span and Austin Slater added two each for the Giants, who outhit the Dodgers 14-9.
The Giants led 1-0 on Tomlinson’s homer, his first of the season, before Utley’s leadoff blast in the fourth, a “Splash Hit” at AT&T Park, the first of his career.
Tomlinson had been 0-for-14 with six strikeouts against Kershaw in his career before the homer, which was only the third of his career.
The Dodgers then caught a break when two defensive miscues by the Giants opened the door for the rest of the four-run uprising.
Kershaw followed Utley’s blast with a liner to left-center that Giants left fielder Slater easily reached. However, Slater fanned on the catch attempt, allowing the ball to reach the fence.
It was generously scored a double.
Taylor then grounded to shortstop Tomlinson, who easily had Kershaw trying to advance to third. But the throw pulled third baseman Orlando Calixte away from the base, allowing Kershaw to slide in safely.
Again, no error was charged.
Corey Seager’s sacrifice fly, which could have been the third out of the inning, scored Kershaw to give the Dodgers the lead, and Puig’s two-run double off the left field fence followed an intentional walk to Bellinger, making it 4-1.
Cueto was pulled at that point, having allowed four runs and six hits in 3 2/3 innings. He walked four and struck out eight in a laborious 101-pitch effort.
“It’s baseball, right?” Cueto said of his bad luck. “I mean, if my teammates make errors, it’s my job to make sure that they don’t score the runs. I know for a fact that my teammates out there weren’t trying to make errors. It’s just part of the game.”
NOTES: The only other active pitchers to record 300 or more strikeouts against a single opponent in their career are RHP Justin Verlander (341 against the Cleveland Indians) and RHP Felix Hernandez (334 against the Los Angeles Angels). ... Dodgers 1B/OF Cody Bellinger’s three intentional walks were the most in the majors since Washington Nationals RF Bryce Harper had three on May 8, 2016. The last Dodger to get three intentional walks in a game was INF Jose Hernandez on June 4, 2004. ... Dodgers manager Dave Roberts announced before the game that LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu, who was skipped in the rotation in favor of RHP Kenta Maeda on Monday, will start Sunday against the Washington Nationals. ... Maeda’s next start has been pushed back to next Wednesday or Thursday against the Philadelphia Phillies. ... Major League Baseball made a scoring change from the Giants’ Friday game against the Chicago White Sox, crediting C Buster Posey with a steal of home in the sixth inning. The play originally was ruled a fielder’s choice. It was Posey’s 20th career steal and his sixth this season.