Coming into this game, the Giants had been unable to score more than two runs in this park for the last eleven games they’d played there. Today, Nick Hundley had had enough of that and deposited two runs in the first inning, and Brandon Belt dropped in two more in the third to finally break the curse and lead the team to a much needed win.
Both were two-run homers, to give the Dodgers a taste of their own medicine. Hundley’s was a moon shot to left field, with Belt on base after walking.
Belt’s wasn’t quite as decisive, but it went over the wall in left center field, with Gorkys Hernández on base after a throwing error. Belt ended up with the best line of the day, going 1-for-3 with a walk, two RBI and scoring two runs.
Caleb Ferguson, the Dodgers’ starting pitcher, only allowed those two hits in five innings of work, striking out six and walking one. His bullpen only allowed one more hit and no runs. But the damage was done.
Chris Stratton, meanwhile, went six innings, allowing three hits and one unearned run, walking one and striking out three. And his bullpen was just as impressive, only allowing one additional hit to the Dodgers.
Will Smith entered in the seventh and was nearly untouchable. Wielding a 93 mph four-seam fastball and a breaking ball with late movement, he struck out Cody Bellinger and Yasmani Grandal and got Yasiel Puig to fly out to right field. He entered with an ERA of 1.02 and left with 0.96, as he continues to impress in his return from the Tommy John surgery that held him out the entire 2017 season.
Gorkys Hernández squared up for a bunt in the eighth and was hit by a pitch that came up and inside at his hand as he tried to twist away from it The trainers checked on him and he remained in the game, but it would be really nice if our hitters would stop being hit in the hand.
Hundley then walked, followed by a walk to Brandon Crawford (his second of the day), to bring up Mac Williamson with the bases loaded and two outs. But he hit into a force out to end the inning. Earlier in the game, they intentionally walked Crawford to get to Williamson who hasn’t quite been the same since returning from the concussion DL. It worked out both times.
Mark Melancon got the eighth inning and gave up a single to Enrique Hernández, but struck out Logan Forsythe and got Chris Taylor to line out to left field before being pulled for Tony Watson. Watson got Matt Kemp to ground out to Alen Hanson, who made an impressive play to end the inning.
Watson would start the ninth inning, striking out Max Muncy, before Hunter Strickland came in to close it out smoothly.
The Giants have been pretty good about leaving series on a high note, winning the last game of their last six series. And even though this road trip was a bit of a dud, 4-6, they had a happy flight leaving all three cities and return to AT&T Park tomorrow for a 10-game home-stand against the Marlins, Padres and Rockies.
The team has played an unusually high amount of road games so far this season, more than any other team, so it will be nice to have a couple of long stretches at home before the All Star break. Hopefully last week’s disaster series against the Marlins doesn’t have a repeat performance and they can start to scratch their way back up in the standings, where they are currently five games back from the Diamondbacks and two back from the Dodgers as they sit in third place in the division.
One final side-note, for those that aren’t on Twitter, Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle has been a one-man crusade against the shenanigans of Dodger Stadium. Coming to the park armed with soundproof headphones due to the stadium’s tendency to blast their music at a level that would wake the dead.
Today, it seemed as though the park was striking back. Throughout the game, on the television broadcast, it sounded like the music was louder than ever, and Alex Pavlovic, ever the intrepid NBC Sports Bay Area reporter, noted this:
I feel like they've turned the in-game music up a notch at Dodger Stadium because of @hankschulman's tweets and I have no choice but to respect it.— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) June 17, 2018
If you were wondering how this ratcheted up the tensions between the ballpark and Schulman, he’s got you covered there as well:
A balloon came into the press box. @hankschulman popped it with his pen. He is getting booed by Dodgers fans.— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) June 17, 2018
I aspire that level of get-off-my-lawn-itude.