Dodgers 0 5 0
Giants 4 7 0
WP- Zito (11-8)
LP- Blanton (9-13)
HR- Posey (20)
Before the game we learned that Clayton Kershaw had been scratched from his start tonight, and Joe Blanton would take his place on the bump. We all were worried sick about Kersh, but apparently his arm is fine and it’s hip inflammation. Clayton received a cortisone injection, and he said he felt fine today and was ready to pitch in the important rubber game in San Francisco. The trainers nixed him from pitching, and they felt he would benefit more from the cortisone treatment after a couple additional days of rest. As of right now, Kersh is slated to pitch Tuesday in Arizona. It also allows Don Mattingly to realign the rotation in order to have Kershaw available to pitch that October 5th one-game Wild Card playoff if necessary. Now substituting Joe Blanton for Clayton Kershaw is much like using three-day old ground chuck instead of filet mignon. Yet even though Blanton served up his normal four runs, it really didn’t matter much who was on the mound for the Dodgers since the pathetic offense could only put up goose eggs on the board. The Dodgers once again came up empty with runners in scoring position, and they ended up going 0-for-7 with RISP. Barry Zito and the San Francisco pitching staff stifled the comatose Dodger lineup to only five hits. Obviously if the Dodgers cannot even hit Barry Zito, they cannot hit anyone. The Giants, along with their poster boy Posey, end up taking two of three in the series and all but clinch the NL West crown.
With shadows on the field and the wind blowing out at AT&T Park, Mark Ellis leads off the game with a double to right field! Shane Victorino uselessly strikes out against Barry Zito. Adrian Gonzalez hits a deep fly ball to left field, but Gregor Blanco catches it on the warning track. Zito strikes out Hanley Ramirez looking after going 3-2, and the Dodgers come up empty in the first.
Joe Blanton goes to work in the home half of the first. Angel Pagan beats out a grounder to short for an infield single. With Marco Scutaro at the plate, Pagan steals second easily. Pagan advances to third on a groundout from Scutaro. Pablo Sandoval walks. Blanton then rears back to strike out Buster Posey. Hunter Pence then proceeds to double to the center field gap, and two San Francisco runs are plated. The torturous inning continues as Brandon Belt walks on an 11-pitch at bat. Finally the inning comes to a close after Blanco strikes out. Joe Blanton made 36 pitches in the inning. He reportedly through a little tantrum in the dugout after his bad start to the game.
Blanton has a very nice second inning as he retires Brandon Crawford, Barry Zito, and Angel Pagan in order. He only makes 7 pitches in the secondary frame.
A.J. Ellis opens the third inning with a base hit to center. Blanton bunts into a force out on yet another botched bunt attempt. Mark Ellis flies out. Victorino draws a two-out walk. The Dodgers fail to score again as Adrian Gonzalez grounds out to second.
Victorino makes a nice catch while battling the sun in center to prevent a Scutaro base hit in the bottom of the third. Panda follows with a single. A.J. Ellis mows down Panda at second with Posey at the plate. It must have been a busted hit and run. Posey singles to the right field corner with two outs. Pence makes the third out with a fly ball to Ethier, and the Giants remain up 2-0.
In the fourth, the Dodgers go down predictably in order once again.
Blanton responds by retiring the Giants 1-2-3 in the bottom half of the fourth.
Juan Rivera draws a lead-off walk in the fifth. A.J. Ellis grounds into a force out. Sandoval lobbed the ball underhand to Scutaro, so they couldn’t turn it into a double play. Blanton sacrifices Rivera over to second, but Mark Ellis grounds out to strand the runner at second.
The Giants strike again in the bottom of the fifth after a one-out triple by Angel Pagan. Pagan scores easily on a sac fly from Sandoval, and the Giants take a 3-0 lead.
Adrian Gonzalez hits a one-out single in the sixth. Zito whiffs Hanley for the second out. Cruz grounds into a force out to end the inning. Zito is now cruising through six shutout innings.
Buster Posey hits a solo homerun to straightaway center which gives the Giants their fourth run of the night. That’s also Posey’s 20th homerun of the season. That’s going to be all for
Joe “Four Run” Blanton. Randy Choate will come in from the Dodger bullpen. Gregor Blanco gets a ground-rule double down the left field line with two outs. They intentionally walk Crawford to get to Zito. Zito strikes out to end the inning.
Joe Blanton pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing 4 runs on 6 hits, 2 walks, and 4 strikeouts on 92 pitches.
Ethier leads off the seventh with a single to center. Rivera grounds into a force out. A.J. Ellis has one of his signature at bats as he draws a walk. Bruce Bochy will have to go to the bullpen now to relieve Zito. He will bring in Santiago Casilla to pitch to pinch-hitter Bobby Abreu. Of course Abreu goes down swinging. Mark Ellis manages a walk to load up the bases with two outs. Victorino flies out, and the Dodgers leave the bases loaded. Sigh.
Barry Zito pitched 6 1/3 shutout innings, allowing 4 hits, 3 walks, and 4 strikeouts on 108 pitches.
Jamey Wright will pitch the bottom of the seventh for the Dodgers. The Giants go down in order, and Wright ends the inning with a Panda strikeout.
Jose Mijares, a lefty, comes out of the SF pen for the eighth. Adrian Gonzalez strikes out on three pitches. Guillermo Moto comes in to face Hanley Ramirez who grounds out. Luis Cruz strikes out.
Jamey Wright gets the first two outs in the bottom half of the eighth, and then Mattingly decides to bring in Paco Rodriguez to make his MLB debut. The lefty was just drafted this year, and he’s the first 2012 draftee to make it to the bigs. Mattingly double switches Punto in at third. Paco retires Brandon Belt on a groundball to first base to end the inning.
Javier Lopez comes into start the top of the ninth for the Giants. Ethier strikes out swinging. Bochy goes to the pen yet again to bring in Sergio Romo for the final two outs. He’ll be the sixth Giants pitcher of the night. Rivera flies out. A.J. Ellis picks up his second hit of the night with a two-out single. A.J. goes 2-for-3 on the night with a walk. Ellis takes second on defensive indifference. Nick Punto grounds out to second to fittingly make the last out of the game.
The Dodgers now fall to 74-67, and they are 5 1/2 games back in the NL West and 1 1/2 back in the NL Wild Card standings.
Tomorrow the Dodgers are idle, and they will begin a two-game set in Arizona on Tuesday.