San Francisco, CA – After losing game one of a four-game series last night, the Dodgers took advantage of a subpar Madison Bumgarner. Bested by Clayton Kershaw who shutout the defending World Champs 8-0 tonight. Kershaw was outstanding on the mound, allowing only one hit over nine innings.
He tossed his third shutout of the season and his fourth complete game. LA clinched their third National League West title and have reached the postseason for the third-straight year for the first time in franchise history. San Francisco was eliminated from the postseason contention with the loss tonight.
“I just talked to the guys briefly, and with all they had to go through, the four concussions, the three obliques, and here we are on Sept. 29 and we got knocked out,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “They fought hard. They had an uphill climb, and of course they faced a great pitcher today, but they never stopped.”
Bumgarner found himself in trouble early when he loaded the bases in the first with no outs. He gave up back-to-back singles to Kike Hernandez and Howie Kendrick. San Francisco’s first error came when second baseman Kelby Tomlinson bobbled Kendrick’s single allowing him to reach first safely instead of rallying a double play.
Adrian Gonzalez was issued a free pass to load the bases. Justin Turner drove in Hernandez with a sacrifice fly to right field giving the Dodgers a 1-0 lead. Bumgarner settled in and retired the next two batters to end the inning without any more damage.
But Hernandez led off the third with a solo shot to left field extending LA’s lead 2-0. Kevin Frandsen was the only batter to get a hit off Kershaw bottom of the third. He lined a single to right field, followed by a walk to Angel Pagan. With two on, Tomlinson lined out to Kershaw to end the inning.
“It’s not what we wanted,” said catcher Buster Posey. “Obviously you set out in spring training to make the playoffs. And we just came up a little short this year.”
Bumgarner was at 100 pitches to start the sixth while his counterpart Kershaw was at 59 pitches. After retiring the first two batters he faced, Bumgarner surrendered back-to-back solo home runs to both Justin Ruggiano and A.J. Ellis making it a 4-0 game. His night was done after that, he tossed 5 2/3 innings, gave up five hits, struck out six and yielded three home runs.
The lefty matched his career-high by allowing three home runs, each of them traveling more than 400 feet. The Dodgers offense exploded in the eighth scoring four more runs. Corey Seager drove in Gonzalez with a single, Andre Either’s triple RBI added on two more runs and Ellis singled on a line drive to right field scoring in Either for the 8-0 lead.
“We’ve been dealt a tough hand with the injuries that we’ve had,” Bumgarner said. “And what’s today, September 29, I think we should be pretty proud of that. Especially the young guys that have come up and stepped in; they’ve done a terrific job, all of them.”
Overall, the champs fought through a tough season of injuries that led to being without many key players. The loss of Hunter Pence, Joe Panik, Nori Aoki, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain proved to be challenging to say the least. But their time ran out before guys could get healthy. Nonetheless, they put up a good fight until the end.
Kershaw became the second pitcher in MLB history to throw a shutout of one hit or less in a division-clinching start. He gave up a walk in the third and retired the remaining eighteen batters he faced. After the last out his teammates greeted him on the mound to being their celebration. As for the Giants, watching another team celebrate in your park is not easy.
“Everybody has to remember that feeling. It’s not a fun feeling. You don’t want to be part of it, you want to be the one celebrating,” said Bumgarner. “We’ll just have to take that into the offseason with us, and let that give us a little bit of fuel for next year.”
“They won three World Series in the past five years,” Kershaw said. “We might have clinched the division, but they are still in a better spot than we are. That’s what we’re trying to get to.”