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Giants make the Dodgers look like the Giants

San Francisco did, indeed, Beat LA.

David Villar and Mike Yastrzemski high-fiving Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

In the sixth inning of the San Francisco Giants game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night, a familiar scene occurred.

First there was a leadoff single. Then there was a bloop single — the type of hit that looked more like soft approach shot you would have seen at the Masters this weekend than a muscular baseball player trying to hit a ball hard. And then a catcher’s interference loaded the bases with no outs.

You’d seen this happen twice in the past three games, and countless times last year. The bases get loaded with no outs. There’s no big hit. There’s not even a sacrifice fly to score a run. The greatest opportunity in baseball is squandered.

That’s exactly what happened. A strikeout, a fielder’s choice that went about eight feet, and another strikeout, and the inning was over. No runs were scored.

But here’s the catch: it wasn’t the Giants hitting, as we’ve become used to. It was the Giants pitching, and the Dodgers hitting.

Yes, that horrible, awful, no good thing the Giants do, where they load the bases with no outs and then proceed to do a big bout of nothing with it, isn’t exclusive to them. Other teams do it, too. Other good teams do it.

For nine innings, the Giants turned the Dodgers into the Giants, frustrating their SoCal rivals in the way that we’ve grown accustomed to them frustrating us.

Alex Wood started the game, making just his second appearance of the year, and mostly cruised through the Dodgers lineup for four innings. A hit batter and free pass gave LA two on with one out in the second, but Wood frustrated them and kept them at bay.

The fifth inning brought a moment of fear, as Wood faced the order for the third time, which is usually his kryptonite. He gave up a leadoff walk and then a one-out walk, before a fielder’s choice moved the runners to second and third with two outs.

Gabe Kapler was quick with the hook, removing a Wood who pitched exceptionally but was visibly frustrated to not get to close the fifth inning and earn a win.

On came Jakob Junis, who made light work of Will Smith.

Disaster averted for the Giants. Frustrating missed opportunities for the Dodgers.

It was more of the same in the sixth, with Junis quickly digging a hole to set up the aforementioned bases loaded scenario. But Kapler learned his lesson from the Ross Stripling fiasco of last week, and after Junis struck out righty Chris Taylor, his night was over. Scott Alexander stared a pair of lefties in their eyes, was unimpressed, and walked off the mound to high fives.

Disaster averted for the Giants. Frustrating missed opportunities for the Dodgers.

The Dodgers drew a leadoff walk in the seventh, but the runner never advanced as far as second. They finished the game 0-8 with runners in scoring position. They did the things that have made you tear your hair out in the Giants losses.

Nature is healing.

But, as the aphorism written on every party favor that Matt Cain hands out when you visit his home is quick to remind you, no amount of pitching excellence wins a game if you can’t score. And on paper, that would seem to be an issue for the Giants, as they were facing Dustin May, who had thrown 13 innings and given up just five hits, three walks, and one run.

The Giants saw why May is a Month 1 All-Star. For 4.1 innings he gave up just one hit — a soft single — two walks, and no runs.

But before he did that, he had to pitch the first inning. And that’s when the Giants reminded you that their approach can work wonders.

LaMonte Wade Jr. led off the inning by forcing May to throw nine pitches, the ninth of which resulted in a free pass. Wade would walk a second time later in the game, giving him nine walks and three times being hit in just 38 plate appearances. Elite.

The long battle seemed to rattle May, who then walked Michael Conforto on four pitches. Two batters later, and Joc Pederson ripped a bullet of a double down the line to tack two runs on the board.

It turned out that was all the Giants needed but, thankfully, it was not all the Giants would get. They let the Dodgers pitchers get the best of them until the eighth inning, and then the floodgates opened a little.

It was then, following a one-out double by Mike Yastrzemski, that David Villar did something he remarkably had not done yet in his career: hit a home run at Oracle Park. And almost as if to prove that it was only because of weird luck and variance and not the park, he took on one of the more difficult sections of wall.

One pitch later and Brandon Crawford had done the same, giving the Giants homers on back-to-back pitches for the second time this season. Imitation is, indeed, the sincerest form of flattery.

That allowed Camilo Doval to coast his way through the ninth, as the Giants secured their first shutout of the season, winning 5-0.

The Giants made the Dodgers look like the Giants, and that was a good thing. A few more games like this and the Giants making the Giants look like the Giants will be a good thing, too.