LOS ANGELES -- Left fielder Michael Morse is about to become first baseman Michael Morse, just not in time to make a catch that cost the Giants in a 6-2 loss at Dodger Stadium on Saturday.
Yasiel Puig’s blooper fell between Morse and shortstop Brandon Crawford, catcher Hector Sanchez also dropped a foul pop and those mistakes took Matt Cain out of a good rhythm in the sixth inning.
Dee Gordon, who was a pest all game, hit a tiebreaking double in the seventh that Morse couldn’t run down near the chalk line as the Dodgers beat the Giants for just the fourth time in the last 15 meetings.
Starting pitching report
If Cain was compromised by the cut on his right index finger, an injury that caused him to miss two starts, it wasn’t too apparent. But he’s still looking for his first victory of the season.
Cain was effectively wild for most of the afternoon, issuing four walks and hitting a batter in five-plus innings. He survived a turbulent first inning, getting past Dee Gordon’s single, two stolen bases and a hit batter to escape after throwing 21 pitches. He faced one more than the minimum over the next four innings, and took a two-hit shutout into the sixth.
But then the defense made several mistakes as the Dodgers tied it. Cain made the first of those mistakes by issuing a leadoff walk to Gordon, who stole second base. Yasiel Puig followed with a blooper to left field that fell between Morse and Brandon Crawford. Morse appeared to slow up before realizing that Crawford wouldn’t make the catch.
Catcher Hector Sanchez made the next mistake, letting Hanley Ramirez’s foul pop rattle out of his glove near the screen. It was a tough game for Sanchez, who got smoked by a pair of foul tips and was examined earlier in the fifth when a vicious deflection off Puig’s bat hit him just above the left eye.
Ramirez ended up drawing a walk to load the bases and end Cain’s afternoon. He was charged with two runs on three hits and four walks in five-plus innings. He threw 92 pitches, 53 for strikes.
Because Puig’s blooper was scored a hit, both runs against Cain were earned.
Jeremy Affeldt induced a double-play grounder from Adrian Gonzalez, yet still allowed two of Cain’s three runners to score. It was a satisfactory barter when Gordon scored on the double play, which was the 15th the Giants have turned in eight games on the trip.
But then Matt Kemp followed with a tying single to right field that scored Puig.
Gordon continued to pester the Giants. His ground-rule double bounced barely fair down the left field line – Morse came up a few steps short following a long run -- to score the tiebreaking run in the seventh. Puig followed with a double off Jean Machi that made it 4-2.
Kemp homered in the eighth as the Dodgers struck for two more against Juan Gutierrez.
At the plate
The Giants minimized chances and were just 2 for 9 with runners in scoring position against Zack Greinke, but they were facing an awfully good pitcher.
Greinke has allowed multiple runs in an inning just three times all season, and the Giants own two of those rallies. They broke through in the second inning after the bottom of the order set up a two-run rally. Brandon Crawford singled, Brandon Hicks walked and Matt Cain reached on his sacrifice bunt when Greinke briefly looked to third base. The Dodgers didn’t have the wheel play on and third baseman Chone Figgins charged the bunt, so there wasn’t anyone covering.
Hunter Pence hit a sacrifice fly and Crawford beat center fielder Matt Kemp’s throw – it was more a pond skipper than a throw, actually – to score the game’s first run. Buster Posey followed with an RBI single that made it 2-0.
But the Giants couldn’t come up with another clutch hit. Pablo Sandoval, who struck out with the bases loaded in the first inning, grounded into a 1-6-3 double play to short out a rally in the fifth.
They loaded the bases in the eighth against Brian Wilson before Hunter Pence hit a foul pop to the catcher. Tyler Colvin also made his Giants debut as a pinch hitter in the eighth, and struck out against Wilson.
Does Colvin catch Puig’s blooper? In a word … yes.
The Dodgers announced 47,199 paid, and here’s a heartening development for humanity: it turns out Dodgers fans and Giants fans make the same wailing/groaning noise when Weezy loads ‘em up.
We’re all the same, people. We’re all the same.
The Dodgers and Giants wrap up their four-game series at Dodger Stadium on Sunday. Tim Hudson (4-2, 1.99 ERA) takes the mound against left-hander Clayton Kershaw (2-0, 0.66), who will make his first start of the season against the Giants. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. PDT.