SAN FRANCISCO — Like riders wobbling away from a roller coaster, the Dodgers began to find their legs again Wednesday.
Manager Dave Roberts did not underplay the release provided by Tuesday night’s win, ending an 11-game plummet and 1-16 freefall after a historically-successful summer rise.
“That was fun,” Roberts said before the series finale at AT&T Park. “We all slept well last night.”
They could rest easy again Wednesday night after Yu Darvish combined with the Dodgers’ bullpen on a five-hitter and the Dodgers beat the San Francisco Giants, 4-1.
The two-game winning streak is the Dodgers’ first since Aug. 24-25. The magic number to clinch a fifth consecutive NL West title is down to seven.
If Wednesday’s win gives Roberts and the Dodgers’ front office sweet dreams, Darvish will dance through them. For the first time since his Dodgers debut against the New York Mets, he looked like the difference-maker the Dodgers thought they were acquiring in July.
Darvish breezed through the Giants’ lineup, allowing singles in each of the first two innings but retiring 13 consecutive batters before Jarrett Parker led off the seventh with the Giants’ third hit.
Darvish struck out only five but was pitch efficient enough – a problem in previous starts – to get through seven scoreless innings on 87 pitches. It was the first time a Dodgers starter pitched into the seventh inning since Rich Hill took a no-hitter into the 10th on Aug. 23.
Wednesday’s game was also a reminder of what it’s supposed to look like when a first-place team plays a last-place team. Only Matt Moore’s elusiveness kept it from actually being as lop-sided as it felt.
The Giants committed two errors in the second inning. For the second night in a row, a catchable pop-up dropped between Hunter Pence and the Giants second baseman in shallow right field. In the fourth, catcher Nick Hundley and Yu Darvish (trying to bunt) whiffed on the same pitch from Moore.
When one of the senior citizens serving as ball boys down the foul lines face-planted in pursuit of an errant grounder, it was hard to tell him from the Giants on the field this season. At one point, TV cameras caught Giants bullpen catcher Eli Whiteside stalked the home dugout, shouting his expletive-laden assessment of his team’s play.
But Moore bobbed and weaved through the first four innings. The Dodgers scored one run when Cody Bellinger tripled over Pence’s head in the first inning and another when Logan Forsythe followed with a double.
Bellinger landed the knockout blow on Moore in the fifth inning – a 441-foot shot into the waters of McCovey Cove. The two-run home run was Bellinger’s 37th of the season, one short of the National League record for a rookie shared by Wally Berger (1930) and Hall of Famer Frank Robinson (1956) who was in attendance at AT&T Park on Wednesday.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) September 14, 2017
More to come on this story.
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