Thursday, April 17, 2014
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Sandoval's Single Pushes Giants Past Dodgers

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[April 17, 2014]  SAN FRANCISCO  Pablo Sandoval admitted the Los Angeles Dodgers did the right thing Wednesday night when they intentionally walked Hunter Pence in order to face him late in a tie game.

Of course Sandoval would feel that way. The move turned him into a hero.

The Giants' struggling third baseman drove in the go-ahead run with a two-out single in the seventh inning, and five pitchers combined to hold the Dodgers to six hits, leading San Francisco to a 2-1 victory over its National League West rival.

A second consecutive loss in San Francisco was doubly painful for the Dodgers, as Los Angeles shortstop Hanley Ramirez left the game after he was hit on the back of his left hand by a pitch while leading off the seventh inning. X-rays were negative.

"I'm sure he's relieved," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said afterward about Ramirez, who wasn't ruled out of Thursday's series finale. "We were worried."

After the Dodgers stranded the bases loaded in a 1-1 tie following Ramirez's injury, the Giants came through with the decisive run in the bottom of the inning.

Left-hander J.P. Howell (1-1), the second Dodgers pitcher, walked No. 8 hitter Joaquin Arias, the Giants' shortstop, to open the inning. Pinch hitter Ehire Adrianza sacrificed Arias to second, and after center fielder Angel Pagan struck out, the Dodgers elected to intentionally walk Pence.


That set the stage for the switch-hitting Sandoval, who reached out and dropped a single into center field, scoring Arias with the difference-making run.

"I had to tell myself to calm down," Sandoval said of an at-bat that began with a weak swing and miss at a Howell fastball that was off the plate. "I told myself not to go after that one again."

Mattingly wasn't convinced Howell's next pitch was any better. It was just slower  a changeup that also was off the outside corner.

"He's one of those guys where you can't throw the ball bad enough. You can't throw far enough off the plate," Mattingly said of Sandoval. "He just put his bat on it."

Protecting the 2-1 lead, right-hander Santiago Casilla and lefty Javier Lopez combined on a scoreless eighth, and closer Sergio Romo went through the middle of the Los Angeles order in 1-2-3 fashion in the ninth for his fourth save.

The win allowed the Giants (10-5) to move ahead of the Dodgers (9-6) atop the NL West.

"I don't care about myself," said Sandoval, who is batting .186. "I care about winning games. I'm happy every day we win games."

The Giants outhit the Dodgers 7-6. Half the Los Angeles' hit total came off the bat of second baseman Dee Gordon, who drove in the Dodgers' run with a sixth-inning triple.

Sandoval had two of the Giants' seven hits.

For the second night in a row, two previously struggling starters pitched well without getting a decision.

Dodgers left-hander Paul Maholm, who entered the game with an 8.10 ERA, held the Giants to one run on five hits in six innings. He walked three and struck out two.

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He also scored the Dodgers' first run after drawing a two-out, full-count walk from Giants right-hander Ryan Vogelsong in the top of the sixth. The next batter, Gordon, smacked a triple to right-center field, scoring Maholm from first to tie the game at 1-1.

Vogelsong stranded Gordon at third, but he couldn't get out of a jam in the seventh and had to be replaced by right-hander Jean Machi (3-0).

Vogelsong threw only one more pitch after hitting Ramirez to open the seventh. He gave up a single to first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to end his night, having allowed just one run on four hits over six-plus innings. He walked two and struck out two.

The single extended Gonzalez's hitting streak to 11 games.

Machi gave up an infield hit to right fielder Andre Ethier to load the bases with one out, but then he got third baseman Juan Uribe to ground back to the mound for a home-to-first double play that ended the inning and kept the score tied.

Neither team managed a hit with the bases loaded over the first two games of the series, going a combined 0-for-8.

"Our pitchers were good. Theirs were a little better," Mattingly said. "We just couldn't get that extra run up."

NOTES: The Giants earned their fifth one-run win. ... San Francisco's bullpen has a 0.63 ERA in the first eight games of a nine-game homestand. ... The game featured a four-minute, 25-second video review after Dodgers CF Matt Kemp was called out at first base on a pickoff. After the long delay, the Dodgers' challenge was denied and the call stood. ... Dodgers GM Ned Colletti (60) and Giants manager Bruce Bochy (59) celebrated birthdays Wednesday. ... The Giants activated LHP Jeremy Affeldt (sprained knee ligament) off the 15-day disabled list before the game and optioned OF Juan Perez (0-for-8 this season) to Triple-A Fresno. ... RHP Chad Billingsley (Tommy John surgery in 2013) returned to Los Angeles to have an MRI on his ailing elbow. The Dodgers expect to get the results Thursday.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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