Hanley Ramirez drove in Adrian Gonzalez with the double in the ninth to beat… (Tony Medina / Getty Images )
The Dodgers have a pulse, even if it takes a heart monitor to find it. Yet, however weak it appeared early Saturday, by afternoon’s end it had to feel as though it was pumping as if it belonged to Usain Bolt.
Playing without star Matt Kemp, out after an MRI exam on his shoulder, the Dodgers scratched together a pair of runs against Giants ace Matt Cain.
Then two of their newly acquired stars paired to score a run in the ninth and leave the Dodgers with a very much needed, taut 3-2 victory over the Giants at AT&T Park.
The victory brought the Dodgers back to within 4 1/2 games of the Giants in the National League West, with Clayton Kershaw scheduled to start the series finale for them Sunday.
Adrian Gonzalez, who has not hit as expected since a first at-bat home run for the Dodgers on Aug. 25, led off the ninth with his first triple of the season.
Hanley Ramirez, acquired a couple weeks before Gonzalez, then lined a double to plate Gonzalez for the winning run.
Brandon League, yet another recent acquisition, held the Giants scoreless in the ninth to earn his second save as a Dodger. Ronald Belisario pitched out of two-walk trouble in the eighth to earn the victory, improving his record to 5-1.
After learning about Kemp, things continued to go poorly for the Dodgers early when the Giants took a 1-0 lead in the first.
Marco Scutaro, the Giants' unheralded deadline pickup who continues to have significant impact, doubled with one out and then took third on a Pablo Sandoval single.
Buster Posey then started his afternoon picking on Luis Cruz at third. He lined a ball just to the left of Cruz, who reacted quickly but had the ball ricochet off his glove and into left to score Scutaro.
But after that, Chris Capuano settled into a groove, pitching a lot like the left-hander who had been so effective during the first half of the season.
It remained a 1-0 game through five innings, Cain continuing to keep the Dodgers in check.
It was actually the bat of Capuano that led to the Dodgers’ first run. Capuano, hitting just .087 with only four hits on the season, lined a one-out single in the sixth and took third on a base hit from Mark Ellis.
A fly to center by Shane Victorino was deep enough to drive in the tying run.
Again it was Posey giving Cruz trouble in the seventh, driving a hard one-hopper off his glove and down the left-field line for a double. A Hunter Pence sacrifice bunt advanced Posey to third and he scored when Brandon Belt’s hard comebacker went off the glove of Capuano, who had to settle for throwing him out at first.
The Dodgers got the run back in the eighth when Juan Rivera, who got the start Saturday when Kemp was scratched, hit a fly down the right-field line. Pence made a sliding attempt at the ball, but it bounced off his glove and Rivera had a double.
A Mark Ellis bunt advanced Rivera to third, where Alex Castellanos – just called up Friday – pinch ran and then scored on a Cain wild pitch.
Cain left after the wild pitch. He was charged with two runs on six hits and a pair of walks, while striking out five in his 7 1/3 innings.
Capuano matched Cain, going seven innings for the Dodgers and holding the Giants to two runs on five hits and three walks. He struck three.
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