SAN FRANCISCO — Finally … a boat race.
The Dodgers have spent the past week-plus in uncomfortably close quarters. Their previous three games were one-run decisions. Five of their previous seven and six of their previous nine games were decided in the eighth inning or later.
By comparison, Wednesday night’s 8-0 Dodgers victory with Walker Buehler throwing seven scoreless innings on his 27th birthday was a leisurely cruise.
The Dodgers scored four times in the third inning off Giants starter Anthony DeSclafani. That alone was their biggest lead since a 9-2 win in Colorado on July 17.
The win cut the Giants’ lead over the Dodgers in the NL West to two games with Wednesday’s series finale the last time the two rivals will see each other until September (and then only three more times).
DeSclafani might want to take that weekend off. The Giants right-hander is having a terrific season – except when he faces the Dodgers.
Four consecutive Dodgers reached base against DeSclafani with one out in the third inning. Chris Taylor walked, Max Muncy singled, Justin Turner drove in a run with a bloop single and Will Smith drove in two with a triple. Two batters later, AJ Pollock drove in another run with an RBI single (one of his three hits in the game).
The four runs in the third nearly matched the Dodgers’ total offensive output from their previous three games (five runs).
After DeSclafani walked Matt Beaty, his day was done, failing to get through three innings for the second time in five starts against the Dodgers this year.
In those five starts, the Dodgers have batted .341 (31 for 91) against DeSclafani with 22 runs in 21 innings (a 9.43 ERA). The rest of MLB has hit .179 off DeSclafani and he has a 1.78 ERA in those 16 starts.
Buehler could have taken that four-run gift – the Dodgers’ biggest single inning since a four-run ninth on July 17 – as his birthday present and headed for the bouncy house.
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He allowed just three hits while completing seven innings for the ninth time in 21 starts this season. Over his past 10 starts, Buehler is 7-1 with a 1.52 ERA. Batters are hitting just .164 with nearly twice as many strikeouts (69) as hits (37).
The Dodgers added three runs in the seventh, two coming on Muncy’s third hit of the game (a double off the base of the center field wall). Cody Bellinger hit a solo home run in the eighth inning, his first homer since the Dodgers’ 22-run romp on July 10.
More to come on this story.