By Jon Weisman
In a game that prioritized roster reconnaissance over home-field hunting, the Dodgers got more information than they bargained for.
With the Dodgers leading 3-2 heading into the bottom of the sixth, Brandon McCarthy entered for a relief tryout and faced six batters — all of whom scored — in a 9-3 loss to the Giants.
Though Washington lost to Miami tonight, the Dodgers remain two games behind the Nationals with two to play, meaning that unless Los Angeles sweeps and Washington gets swept Saturday and Sunday, the Dodgers will open the National League Division Series in the nation’s capital October 7.
Starting pitchers Madison Bumgarner and Rich Hill each gave up two runs in the first inning, then pitched scoreless ball until the Bumgarner Whisperer, Kiké Hernández, singled in a tiebreaking run off Bumgarner in the top of the sixth.
Hernández went 1 for 2 with a walk against Bumgarner, increasing his career on-base percentage against the Giants lefty to .560. Also of note: Yaisel Puig went 2 for 3 with a double against the lefty, who pitched 7 1/3 innings.
But in his first relief appearance since April 25, 2007, McCarthy walked the first batter and allowed hits to the next five. Four scored with McCarthy actually on the mound, and the remaining three in the seven-run sixth inning came home on Brandon Belt’s homer off Josh Ravin.
“They just hit everything I threw,” said McCarthy, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. “I don’t have, other than angry, it was so fast and so violent I don’t know what emotions to take. They just hit everything.”
The Giants ended a streak of six straight losses to the Dodgers over the past 13 months with Bumgarner on the mound. They also moved within a game of clinching at least a tie for a National League Wild Card spot.
Hill struck out four while allowing seven baserunners in his 82-pitch outing.
“In the first inning, failing to get the first batter out, you get out of order,” Hill said, according to Gurnick. “Overall, I feel great, the ball came out pretty well. It wasn’t the best fastball or the best curveball, but one of those games you find a way to get through it and keep the team in the game. I felt stronger as the game went on.
Priority for me was just listening to Vin talking us through the defeat. Watched with a friend down here in the Southern Cone. He knows nothing about baseball, but was also taken by Vin’s soothing tones and just wanted to listen to him. He also remarked on some of the southerness of his delivery and I told him of Red Barber, who Vin partnered with more than sixty years ago.