LOS ANGELES — Kenley Jansen said he was “insulted” not to have been included on the National League All-Star team last week. His pique has not served as effective fuel.
Three outs away from gaining a share of first place in the NL West, Jansen gave up a two-run home run to Wilmer Flores, suffering his second blown save in four appearances since the mid-season break and the Dodgers lost to the San Francisco Giants, 4-2, on Wednesday night.
The Dodgers still have not held a share of first place since April 28 and once again slipped two games behind the Giants, who became the first team in baseball to 60 wins this season by matching the Dodgers’ three-run, ninth-inning rally from Tuesday night with one of their own a night later.
Will Smith’s walk-off magic seemed to put the Dodgers in position to reclaim authority in the NL West. Momentum, baseball wisdom insists, is only as good as your next day’s starting pitcher – and the Dodgers’ was very good.
Julio Urias allowed just three hits over six innings Wednesday, giving the Dodgers the kind of starting pitching performance they have been trying to cobble together with spare parts on all too many evenings.
Urias gave up a solo home run to Mike Yastrzemski with two outs in the first inning, the Giants’ third first-inning homer in the first three games of this series.
And that was it.
Urias retired 18 of the next 21 batters he faced. After Cody Bellinger made a sliding catch of Austin Slater’s sinking liner to center field to end the third inning, the Giants didn’t even get another ball out of the infield against Urias.
Darin Ruf walked with two outs in the fourth, ending an 11-pitch battle with Urias. But he went nowhere.
Thairo Estrada beat out an infield single on a slow ground ball to second baseman Max Muncy to start the fifth inning. A sacrifice bunt and a wild pitch moved him to third base with one out, prompting the Dodgers to load the left side with three infielders (third baseman Zach McKinstry, shortstop Chris Taylor and Muncy), all playing on the edge of the infield grass against right-handed hitter Curt Casali.
Urias got Casali to pop out then got Logan Webb to bounce out harmlessly. The final baserunner against Urias came on another infield single in the seventh and was quickly erased in a double play.
Taylor continued his hot streak, matching Yastrzemski’s first-inning home run with one of his own – his third consecutive at-bat with a home run (a rally-sparking walk was also mixed after the first two home runs Tuesday).
Mired in a deep, season-long slump, Bellinger proved his worth with his legs as well, scoring from first base on a two-out double to right field by AJ Pollock in the fourth inning. But the Dodgers’ offense went silent after that. The final 13 Dodgers batters went down in order.
The Giants got the tying run on base when Buster Posey led off the ninth inning with a pinch-hit single off Jansen. A 1-and-1 cutter to Flores stayed up over the heart of the plate and he clubbed it into the left-field pavilion for the Giants’ eighth home run in this season and 144th of the season (tied with the Toronto Blue Jays for the MLB lead).
Jansen retired just one of the six batters he faced, leaving the game with the bases loaded. Victor Gonzalez walked in a run before closing out the inning.
More to come on this story.