- Associated Press - Thursday, April 17, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The latest loss for the Los Angeles Dodgers against the San Francisco Giants could’ve been far worse.

Hanley Ramirez left in the seventh inning of the Dodgers‘ 2-1 defeat at San Francisco on Wednesday night after getting hit by a pitch from Ryan Vogelsong on the top of his left hand.

The two-seam fastball clocked at 90 mph bounced off Ramirez’s hand. He slammed his helmet to the ground and hopped around in pain before being taken out.

The team said X-rays on Ramirez’s hand were negative. Ramirez, who tore a ligament in his right thumb playing for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic in San Francisco last year, initially feared the worst.

“It got me good,” Ramirez said. “It’s sore a little bit. I iced it twice already and I’ll go back to the hotel and try to ice it twice before I go to bed so I can be in there (Thursday).”

Vogelsong, who broke two bones in his right pinkie after getting hit by a pitch last year, said it was “unfortunate to see it happen, but at the same time, I’ve got to be able to throw the ball inside.”

The pitch was easily the biggest - but hardly the only - blemish for the Dodgers on another forgettable night at AT&T; Park.

Pablo Sandoval broke his bat, bruised his knuckles and grounded a single into center field to score the go-ahead run in the bottom of the seventh off reliever J.P. Howell. The struggling Sandoval came through after Howell (1-1) intentionally walked Hunter Pence with two outs.

Sandoval, who entered the game batting just .164, missed badly on a sinker before hitting a changeup from Howell up the middle to score Joaquin Arias from second.

“He’s one of those guys that you can’t really throw it bad enough (to),” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.

“He deserves that. I was happy with the pitch,” Howell said.

The big hit from the slugging third baseman also came after Giants reliever Jean Machi (3-0) pitched out of a bases-loaded jam earlier in the seventh to keep the score tied.

Buster Posey broke an 0-for-13 skid with an RBI single in the third to give the Giants a 1-0 lead. Dee Gordon’s tying triple in the sixth accounted for the Dodgers‘ lone run.

Sergio Romo pitched a perfect ninth for his fourth save, striking out Adrian Gonzalez and Matt Kemp to end the game, which featured bounce-back performances from both starting pitches.

Vogelsong allowed the one run and four hits in six-plus innings to help the Giants win their third straight game. He struck out two and walked two to match Paul Maholm most of the way.

Maholm gave up one run and five hits in six innings. He struck out two and walked three to rebound from a loss in his only other start this season on April 5, when he allowed five runs in 4 1-3 innings to the Giants.

San Francisco improved to 4-1 against the Dodgers this season in a race that could remain tight through the summer.

The pitchers kept the game moving at a far brisker pace than the nearly 5-hour contest Tuesday night that ended when Hector Sanchez singled home the winning run with two outs in the 12th inning to give the Giants the win.

The biggest hold up came from baseball’s new replay system after Vogelsong picked off Kemp at first base in the second inning. Mattingly challenged the play, which umpires upheld after a 4:25 video review that drew light boos from some fans during the wait.

NOTES: Dodgers ace and reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw, who is on the disabled list with a strained muscle in his back, threw breaking balls off flat ground. He is scheduled to throw off a mound Thursday. … An MRI on Dodgers RHP Chad Billingsley showed no ligament damage in his elbow, Mattingly said. Billingsley has some tendinitis that will delay his recovery. … Dodgers RF Yasiel Puig entered in the seventh and grounded out in the eighth. … Giants LHP Madison Bumgarner (2-0, 3.31 ERA) takes the mound opposite Dodgers LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (2-1, 2.57 ERA) in Thursday’s series finale.

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