But that lapse was as far as the Giants got in their feeble attempt to lower the level to a brawl. The Dodgers rose above a snotty ace and infantile behavior, not only turning the other cheek and refraining from doing anything stupid, but also taking care of business on the field. Thanks to the help of a number of key heroes, we beat the Giants handily and soundly, and the magic number is now 1 to win the division, with four games to go for us (three against the Rockies, and five games to go for San Francisco (four against the Padres after tomorrow). Nine possible outcomes, and only one has to go our way to win it all.
But before we get ahead of ourselves, let's talk about today's heroes:
- Zack Greinke, who aside from the HR had one hell of a game: 8.0 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 0 BB and 5 Ks. The 118-pitch evening was a bit much to ask, but Greinke proved why he's a better ace than the Giants' best gun tonight;
- Matt Kemp, whose first-inning, two-run HR to score the HBP Puig not only shut the Giants up, but proved to be the factor in our offense...that is, along with...
- Justin Turner, who set the game off with fireworks in the first inning with a leadoff HR, then gave the Dodgers some breathing room in the eighth inning with another solo Jack, this time with one out, to put the Dodgers up 4-2;
- Darwin Barney. Who? Yes, Barney was key, not so much for a PH performance that resulted in a ground out, but for a wonderful snag of a Joe Panik grounder at second base to get the first out in the ninth. This out was artful--Barney actually wipes his hand dry on his uniform before throwing Panik out at first--but it was also critical, as it helped calm Kenley Jansen, who allowed a Oyster Pubes single but earned his 44th save.
- And finally, Bruce Bochy, whom I often consider a great manager, but tonight confused me when he let Ashley Madison hit in the eighth inning. The Giants were down by only one run, and letting Ashley bat instead of putting in any one of 10,000 bench PH options seemed odd; Greinke struck out Ashley, who then was sent back out for the bottom of the eighth, only to have Turner take him yard again and extend the lead to two runs, and end Ashley's day. Ashley had 116 pitches on his own, and lasted only 7.1 IP; not sure why they didn't PH for him in the eighth.
Tonight was a great, great victory for the Dodgers, who probably weren't expected to beat the Giants on this evening. Instead, it's down to the series finale tomorrow, with Clayton Kershaw on the mound for the good guys, and a shot at clinching. I Kinnear the Giants fans' heartbeats racing already, as the Dodgers continue their Hunt for the divisional title. Winning tonight's game was probably...as good as it gets.
Ashley Madison graffiti photo taken from a pylon on the Embarcadero in San Francisco, September 23, 2014