Catcher A.J. Ellis, left, speaks with starter Nathan Eovaldi during the… (Thearon W. Henderson / Getty…)
Searching deeply for something positive to take from the Dodgers' 8-0 loss to the Giants on Monday night, it can be safely reported that it was just one game of 162.
Of course, it was also easily their worst defeat of the season.
In the opener of their biggest series of the first half, the Dodgers came into AT&T Park and were mugged like a tourist wandering down the wrong part of Mission Street at the wrong time of night.
They were slapped around early and often, trailing 7-0 after two innings and then going belly up against Barry Zito, the Giants' struggling left-hander.
Just to make it cut a bit deeper, the loss slashed the Dodgers’ lead over the Giants to two games in the National League West.
Zito held the Dodgers scoreless in his seven innings, giving up just three singles (two coming in the seventh). This from a pitcher who was 0-3 with a 10.67 ERA in his last three starts, from a pitcher who had lost four consecutive games against the Dodgers.
But he looked like the 2002 Cy Young-winning version of Zito the way the Dodgers went so meekly Monday.
It did not hurt the Zito cause that the Giants jumped on rookie right-hander Nathan Eovaldi, who was a big unlucky early, then hit hard, and then took one for the team by pitching another three innings.
The Giants opened the scoring after ex-Dodger Ryan Theriot hit a grounder that shortstop Dee Gordon dove at and smothered but couldn't come up with. Melky Cabrera then dunked a soft base hit into center and Angel Pagan's drive hit the first base bag and ricocheted high, over the head of Juan Rivera and into right field for a double that scored Theriot.
Eovaldi had yet to be hit hard at this point, but that was about to change. Pablo Sandoval lined a two-run double, and catcher Hector Sanchez singled home Sandoval to make it 4-0 -- one more run than the Dodgers had scored while Eovaldi was in the game during his previous five starts.
The Giants added three more in the second after Eovaldi walked Zito and Gregor Blanco singled. On what should have been a routine double play, Gordon fielded a bouncer from Theriot, stepped on second and threw in the dirt to first.
The Giants made it costly, Cabrera and Pagan each driving a run-scoring base hit and Sandoval scoring a third with a sacrifice fly.
Eovaldi (0-4) pitched three more innings in his introduction to the Dodgers-Giants rivalry. Eovaldi, who came in with a 2.25 ERA, allowed the seven runs on 10 hits and a walk.
The Dodgers finished with five hits.
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