For the second consecutive night, the Giants shut out the Dodgers at AT&T Park, this time in a thick fog and drizzle. The Dodgers didn’t know what to do with the perfect San Francisco weather, or Tim Lincecum’s artful pitching.
With the victory, the Giants moved to within two-and-a-half games of the first place Dodgers in the NL West. The win is the Giants’ fifth straight overall, and fifth straight over Los Angeles at AT&T Park this season. The last time that the Giants were 5-0 against the Dodgers in San Francisco was in 2003. And with tonight’s matchup featuring the team’s aces, the G-men are on the precipice of sweeping the Dodgers in consecutive series at AT&T Park.
Can we finally make it official? ‘Cause this writer feels confident in saying that The Freak is back! Tim Lincecum continued his personal turnaround this season, thoroughly owning the Dodgers last night. Timmy threw 106 pitches over seven innings, allowing just three hits and two walks, while striking out four. On the year, Lincecum is now 4-2 with a 2.08 ERA. Timmy won his fourth consecutive game at home, which he hasn’t done since his 2009 Cy Young Award winning season. He’s now allowed just one run in his 27 innings this year at AT&T, and is riding a 22 inning scoreless streak. “He looks confident with all of his pitches right now,” shortstop Brandon Crawford said. “He’s locating his fastball better and keeping his off speed (stuff) down. When he does that, he’s tough to beat.”
It was another tortuous game for Giants’ fans, as we’ve come to expect when these two teams square off, up until the bottom of the seventh inning. With the Giants clinging to a 1-0 lead (having scored first for the eighth consecutive game), they received some breathing room with Joe Panik’s RBI single and Buster Posey’s towering 2-run homer to deep center field. This provided the G-men with a 4-0 cushion that would prove insurmountable.
Posey had a big night at the plate, going 3 for 4 to raise his batting average to .308. He had the home run, a double, two RBIs and two runs scored, capping off an excellent night. Buster is batting .371 with three homers and 10 RBIs in his last eight games. He also made a great catch over the railing to the Dodgers dugout in the eighth, nearly going head first onto the dugout floor, as he somehow managed to hold onto the ball. Brandon Crawford remained on fire at the plate, going 3 for 4 with his team leading 26th RBI. Craw is now hitting .298 on the year. Overall, the offense was 2 for 8 with runners in scoring position and left seven runners on base.
The Dodgers’ offense continued to struggle at AT&T Park, going 0 for 4 with runners in scoring position, and stranding eight men on the base paths. For the two games, Los Angeles is 0 for 10 with RISP, with 19 left on base. In their five straight losses here, they’ve mustered only six runs scored. “He keeps doing the same thing,” Dodgers’ catcher Yasmani Grandal said of Timmy. “He throws a fastball high and then six breaking balls and we are swinging at every pitch.” Sour grapes much, Yasmani? Welcome to San Francisco baseball, the fog (no, it’s not moist smog), and say hello to The Freak.
Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner match up again this afternoon in the final game of the series, as the G-men go for the sweep. This will be their third confrontation already in this young season, with the Giants coming out on top in the previous two meetings, both one-run decisions. Kershaw is 8-2 against the Giants in his career at AT&T Park, with a 0.97 ERA. MadBum is 3-1 in his career in head-to-head match ups with Kershaw. A victory would be the Giants’ sixth consecutive and improve their record to 23-18 on the year, and decrease the Dodgers’ lead to just one-and-a-half games.