SAN FRANCISCO -- There was only one way Dan Uggla could’ve been a factor in his first game as a Giant:
If the notion struck him to play second base some 200-odd feet deeper than usual.
He did not, obviously, and the Dodgers exploited Triples Alley like no team has ever done in 15 seasons at AT&T Park. They hit five triples -- Yasiel Puig had three of them, plus a double as part of a record-setting night -- to wreck Tim Lincecum as the Giants were thoroughly throttled in an 8-1 loss Friday night.
The ripple of triples sent writers scurrying for their almanacs (OK, the Internet, but that sounds less romantic) to dredge up a trove of historical facts. Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke added another milestone by striking out four batters in an inning -- just the 69th time that’s been done in the regular season. Greinke is the third pitcher all-time to have done it twice in his career.
But all those facts and figures were less important than the status of Giants catcher Hector Sanchez, who took a vicious foul tip off the mask in the third, was one of Greinke’s four strikeout victims in the bottom of the inning, then came out of the game in the fourth. Buster Posey, who replaced Sanchez, also clenched and unclenched his jaw after taking a foul off the mask later in the game.
As for Uggla, his debut was short and unremarkable. He popped up to left field and grounded into a fielder’s choice, stranding two runners in the fourth. He exited in the fifth as part of a double switch, since Giants manager Bruce Bochy needed multiple innings from Juan Gutierrez after Lincecum got knocked from the game.
Starting pitching report
Lincecum wasn’t able to extend his streak of 27 consecutive scoreless innings at AT&T Park. It got busted up on the first inning, but not without a dash of controversy.
Puig sent a deep drive to left field and stopped at third base with a triple, but a fan reached over the top of the wall and deflected it. Umpires initiated their own replay review to determine whether it was a home run. The call stood but instead of sending Puig back to second base with an automatic double, which is what should have happened, they left him at third base. Bruce Bochy argued to no avail.
(My read: the review was narrow, only to determine whether it was a homer or not. To review a triple vs. an automatic double, I’m guessing the umpires probably told Bochy, would have required a team challenge. And if so, those 90 feet aren’t really worth the risk in the first inning.)
The whole thing became mostly academic when Puig scored on Adrian Gonzalez’s single, breaking Lincecum’s home scoreless streak.
Lincecum (9-7) scattered two hits over the next three innings, but his slider and changeup kept arriving on hoverboards. It was a matter of time before the Dodgers started thwacking them.
The thwackdown commenced in the fifth. Greinke hit a one-out single before Dee Gordon and Puig crushed consecutive triples to the deepest part of the ballpark. Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez followed with singles to drive Lincecum from the game, having allowed five consecutive hits. Then Matt Kemp hit a two-run triple off Juan Gutierrez to close the book on Lincecum.
Lincecum was charged with six earned runs on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings. He struck out six and didn’t walk a batter.
Did Lincecum’s relief appearance Tuesday in Philadelphia take something out of him? It’s hard to say. He recorded his first career save on 21 pitches and skipped his usual mound session, but still came out throwing 92 mph.
Gutierrez wasn’t done giving up triples. Puig tagged his third of the game in the sixth inning, right after Gordon had singled and stole second base with the Dodgers already up 6-0.
Puig had a chance to become the first player in modern major league history with a four-triple game, and he must have liked his contact because he flipped his bat after hitting a deep drive to center field off George Kontos in the eighth. But it died and was caught on the warning track.
Still, Puig became the first big leaguer with three triples and double since the Reds’ Herm Winningham in 1990, and just the third since 1914. His 11 total bases were the most by a Dodger against the Giants since 2000, when Kevin Elster hit three home runs in the first ever regular-season game at AT&T Park.
No Dodger had tripled twice against the Giants in a game since Maury Wills on July 17, 1969. And no Los Angeles Dodger EVER had tripled three times in a game. Puig became the first player in Dodgers all-time franchise history to accomplish it since Jimmy Sheckard on April 18, 1901.
(Denard Span was the last big leaguer with a three-triple game, in 2010. It's been done just 29 times since 1921. At least one other guy in the ballpark, Giants coach Shawon Dunston, had done it. And if Willie Mays was in attendance, he did it too, in 1960. No Giant has hit three triples in a game since.)
The Dodgers also became the first team to record five triples in a nine-inning game since 1986, when the Phillies did it against the Cubs. The Dodgers’ five triples also matched the franchise record, last done also against the Giants -- at the Polo Grounds on July 7, 1921.
And that’s it for the Bullpen Triples Report.
At the plate
Tony Abreu accidentally tossed his bat into the Dodgers dugout in the eighth inning. It was the closest the Giants came to hitting a Dodger hard all night.
They could piece nothing together off Greinke (12-6), who made history when he struck out four batters in the third inning. Greinke joined A.J. Burnett and Chuck Finley (who did it three times) as the only pitchers in major league history with multiple four-strikeout innings in their career.
Greinke previously did it for the Angels in 2012, and was the first major leaguer to accomplish it this season. Sanchez struck out swinging, Lincecum struck out looking, Hunter Pence reached first base after swinging at a wild pitch, then Gregor Blanco waved at a pitch in the dirt. If catcher A.J. Ellis hadn’t blocked it, perhaps Greinke would’ve had a shot at becoming the first pitcher in major league history with a five-strikeout inning.
Interested in some non-Greinke stats? Sorry. There’s not much else to tell you in this section. He held the Giants to four hits, all singles, in seven innings while walking one and striking out 10.
The Giants avoided the shutout in the ninth when Tyler Colvin hit a bases-loaded single off Paul Maholm.
One more triple and the Giants would’ve hauled out Rusty the Mechanical Man to seal off the gap in right-center.
The Giants announced 41,753 paid, which is officially their 300th consecutive regular-season sellout. And if you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you. (Or an empty seat, actually.)
The Giants and Dodgers continue their three-game series at AT&T Park on Saturday. It’ll be Ryan Vogelsong (5-7, 3.99 ERA) against Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw (11-2, 1.92). First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. PDT with Giants Pregame Live at 5:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.