Giants observations: Incredible comeback wasted in rough 9-6 loss to Dodgers
What we learned as Giants waste comeback, lose to Dodgers originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
LOS ANGELES -- The Giants and Dodgers had to come back from the All-Star break a day earlier than usual to play a nationally-televised game. They certainly did not disappoint.
The Giants wiped out a five-run deficit with a stunning rally in the seventh and took the lead an inning later, but Mookie Betts gave them a harsh reminder that the best players in this rivalry currently wear Dodger blue. Betts blasted a three-run shot in the bottom of the eighth and made a diving catch to end the top of the ninth, leading the Dodgers to a 9-6 victory.
Through five innings at Dodger Stadium, the only highlight for the Giants was a 115.7 mph foul ball that Joc Pederson hit. The Giants didn't have a hit until Austin Wynns singled in the sixth, but Evan Longoria got the dugout going with a solo shot with one out in the seventh that made it 5-1.
A walk and single kept the rally going and a hit-by-pitch loaded the bases, with the baton eventually getting to Ruf. He smoked a two-strike pitch from Alex Vesia into the left field seats for his first career grand slam, tying the game and stunning a crowd of 53,165.
The Giants took the lead an inning later after Dodgers manager Dave Roberts called for an intentional walk of Luis Gonzalez that loaded the bases for Thairo Estrada, who then drew a walk. The Giants failed to tack on, and that burned them right away.
With two outs in the bottom of the eighth, Trayce Thompson -- the younger brother of Klay -- hit a game-tying triple off the top of the wall in center. After Jarlin Garcia walked Cody Bellinger -- a huge mistake given the matchup -- Betts hit a no-doubter to left.
Ruf Pitch Location
When Vesia replaced Phil Bickford with two on in the seventh, the Giants were set up well. Austin Slater pinch-hit for Mike Yastrzemski as part of a string of three consecutive righties, and Vesia immediately plunked him to load the bases. Yermin Mercedes struck out, but Vesia still had to get through Ruf, who like Slater is on this roster to crush lefties.
Vesia grooved a 2-2 fastball right down the middle and Ruf crushed a low liner to left, tying the game with one swing.
The slam gave Ruf just his second four-RBI game with the Giants. The other one came during the shortened 2020 season.
Carlos Rodón allowed a solo homer to Freddie Freeman on a poorly-located 0-2 fastball in the first inning and a double by Thompson made it 2-0 an inning later. But the rest of the runs on Rodón's line were not deserved.
With two outs and two on in the third, Justin Turner hit a high fly ball to right that Luis Gonzalez never saw as he looked up into the lights right as the sun was setting. He put his hands out right away and then turned and bolted for the track, where the ball landed for what was ruled a two-run double.
Rodón should have been out of the inning but instead trailed 4-0, and Hanser Alberto's double would tack on a fifth run.
Rodón was charged with five earned runs, his second-highest total of the year. His only previous five-run outing with the Giants came on May 4 when the St. Louis Cardinals tagged him for eight runs. Thursday's bad luck lifted Rodón's ERA from 2.66 to 2.95.
Showing Them How It's Done
The Gonzalez misplay wasn't the only one on this night, which fit right in with a lot of what the Giants did defensively in the first half. The second run of the night came on a double to left that didn't originally appear like it would score Alberto from first, but Estrada's relay throw to the plate hit the runner.
Pederson, who was the one who chased that double down, later had a ball tick off his glove, potentially costing the Giants a base. There was also a throwing error from Austin Wynns when Betts stole second in the fourth, and as Betts rounded third the Giants briefly kicked the ball around.
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In the middle of all that, the Dodgers had one of the best defensive innings any team will have this season. Bellinger opened the fourth by making a sliding catch of Wilmer Flores' sinking liner to center. A batter later, Trea Turner sprinted 93 feet to snag a pop-up in foul territory.
Trea broke out the smooth slide on a catch! ð± pic.twitter.com/2R29LY3Mr4
— MLB (@MLB) July 22, 2022
It was all a reminder that for everything they've done well, the Giants have a long, long way to go to close the athleticism gap with the team atop their division.