SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A pair of important wins against one of baseball’s hottest teams is exactly what Giants manager Bruce Bochy is counting on to help get his club back on track from a rough start.
Joe Panik hit a game-ending sacrifice fly against a five-man infield, and San Francisco beat the first-place Dodgers 3-2 in a wacky final inning Wednesday night highlighted by Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly arguing that pinch-runner Gregor Blanco should have been out before he scored the winning run.
“Hopefully this is something that lifts the guys up and just gets us on track,” Bochy said. “I love the fight in the guys.”
The way Mattingly saw it, Blanco was stopped by third base coach Roberto Kelly and should have been out on interference.
Third base umpire and crew chief Fieldin Culbreth let Blanco stay on third despite Mattingly’s argument.
“They missed the call basically. I don’t know who was supposed to be watching but they weren’t watching,” Mattingly said. “He didn’t see it. He was watching the play. I don’t know why the third base umpire’s watching the play. … It’s not reviewable.”
Culbreth said the ruling is clear if Kelly “doesn’t physically assist him in returning to the base, there’s no interference.”
“Don came out and asked me did I see him grab him? I told him, ‘No, I did not see him grab him,’” Culbreth said. “There ends up being contact but the rule is pretty specific in the fact that he had to touch and physically grab him and assist him in returning to the base. That did not happen.”
A single by Brandon Belt loaded the bases with one out, and prompted Mattingly to argue that Kelly improperly made contact and stopped Blanco at the bag. Blanco insists he had already stopped before running into Kelly.
“It wasn’t like he stopped me. I was stopping on third,” Blanco said. “I don’t feel he was stopping me at all.”
After the delay, Panik delivered a long fly off J.P. Howell that easily scored the winning run as the champion Giants wound up posting back-to-back wins for only the second time this season.
“My first reaction was, ‘Now I know what an NFL kicker feels like getting iced at the end of the game,” Panik said. “It showed a lot of character for this team scrapping out a win against Kershaw.”
Reigning World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner and current NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw kept things close, dueling until it became a battle of the bullpens.
Santiago Casilla (1-0) pitched out of a jam with two runners on in the ninth.
Buster Posey hit a one-out single off Chris Hatcher (0-2) to set up the deciding run. Hatcher then plunked Justin Maxwell. The ball came off Maxwell, then hit catcher A.J. Ellis’ mask and deflected off his right hand.
Trainer Stan Conte checked on Ellis, who tried to make two throws and tossed both wildly into right field. Yasmani Grandal replaced Ellis and Howell entered to pitch. Mattingly expected Ellis to have X-rays.
The Giants led 2-0 before pinch-hitter Alex Guerrero’s tying homer in the seventh chased Bumgarner.
Kershaw, who’s won the last two NL Cy Youngs and three overall, allowed two runs on three hits, struck out nine and walked one in six innings. Guerrero batted for him in the seventh and connected for his second pinch-hit homer of the season.
“I get tired of going six innings. Obviously if we’re going to keep getting two-run pinch-hit home runs I understand but I want to get deeper in the game,” Kershaw said. “It’s frustrating leaving that many innings to your bullpen.”
Bumgarner, winless in three starts since a victory on opening day at Arizona, gave up six hits in 6 1-3 innings. He struck out six and walked two.
It marked the first time the reigning regular season MVP opposed the last World Series MVP in a matchup of starting pitchers, according to STATS.
Bumgarner didn’t get into the hype of facing Kershaw.
“It’s always fun playing the Dodgers - no more than usual,” he said.
Dodgers: 1B Adrian Gonzalez got a break until a pinch hit in the ninth, then he stayed in the game. Mattingly said he is trying to get him 12 to 15 days off over the course of the season to keep him healthy and fresh.
Giants: 1B Travis Ishikawa, already on the disabled list, tweaked his tender back again. “He had a setback. He’s going to need some more time,” Bochy said. … Maxwell didn’t need stitches in his cut left knee after crashing into the wall on a hard-hit ball by Yasiel Puig in foul territory.
Dodgers: RHP Mike Bolsinger makes his 2015 debut, 10th career start and first for the Dodgers since being acquired from the Diamondbacks in the offseason.
Giants: RHP Ryan Vogelsong (0-1, 10.45 ERA), a former Giants starter now in a relief role, takes the ball for his first start of 2015 seeking his first decision after allowing opponents to hit .400 with eight extra-base hits and 13 RBIs so far.
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