Madison Bumgarner dominated the Dodgers, giving up four hits and no runs… (Harry How / Getty Images )
They don't allow much room for error in pitching duels. One key hit or one poorly timed mistake can prove all the difference.
The Dodgers and Giants were matched in a duel of two outstanding young left-handers Monday, and on a muggy Los Angeles summer night enough little things went the Giants' way for them to take a 2-1 victory before a disappointing Dodger Stadium crowd of 36,878.
Winning the opener of the three-game series enabled the Giants to regain the lead over the Dodgers by half a game in the National League West, and take some momentum out of an L.A. team buoyed by their just-completed 7-3 road trip.
Clayton Kershaw pitched his fifth consecutive strong game, only this time it wasn’t enough to overcome San Francisco’s Madison Bumgarner.
Kershaw (11-7) went eight innings, striking out 10 without walking a single Giant. He was on target almost all night, with 81 of his 109 pitches going for strikes.
And he still lost.
The Giants scored one run quickly in the first inning, and then got enough friendly bounces to add a second in the sixth that proved the difference when Hanley Ramirez hit a solo, two-out home run in the ninth.
San Francisco’s Angel Pagan opened the game with a double off the left-center wall. Then the little things kicked in for the Giants. A sacrifice bunt by Marco Scutaro sent Pagan to third, where he scored from on a sacrifice fly by Pablo Sandoval.
It remained a 1-0 game going into the sixth, the Dodgers unable to mount much of a threat against Bumgarner. But Pagan again started Kershaw’s trouble with an infield single, before Scutaro bounced a hit that somehow managed to get under the glove of Ramirez at shortstop.
Sandoval then blooped a hit into shallow left. Shane Victorino charged and fired home, but Pagan slid in just ahead of catcher A.J. Ellis’ tag.
Bumgarner (14-7) kept the Dodgers off balance all night. He allowed only four hits -- two each to Kershaw and Luis Cruz. He left after throwing a season-high 123 pitches (78 strikes).
He matched Kershaw with 10 strikeouts and no walks. It’s the first time this season two pitchers in the same game managed at least 10 strikeouts without a walk.
San Francisco reliever Sergio Romo allowed the ninth-inning homer to Ramirez, his 19th, before left-hander Javier Lopez came on to earn his second save.
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