Giants allow one hit but lose to Dodgers
SAN FRANCISCO – Manager Bruce Bochy wasn’t about to point blame at one defensive hiccup. The San Francisco Giants have to score.
Barry Zito’s winless streak reached a career-worst 12 outings and he lost his seventh straight game because of a fielding error by Juan Uribe, and the Giants fell 1-0 to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night.
“We’ve got to find ways to put runs on the board,” Bochy said.
The Giants, coming off a 7-3 road trip in which they took three of four at San Diego, dropped 1 1/2 games behind the first-place Padres in the NL West. San Diego held off Colorado 7-6 at Coors Field. The Rockies are 3 1/2 games behind San Diego and two behind San Francisco in the division standings. The Giants remained 1 1/2 games behind Atlanta in the NL wild card after the Braves lost 6-0 to the Nationals.
“These are basically playoff games,” Zito said. “They’re going to be low scoring.”
Clayton Kershaw (12-10) pitched a four-hitter for his first career complete game and shutout. He didn’t allow a baserunner until Freddy Sanchez’s sharp single to left with one out in the fourth.
Zito (8-13) lost his career-high seventh straight game, a stretch that includes a loss in relief. His nine straight lost decisions are also his most ever. The $126 million left-hander hasn’t won since July 16, against the New York Mets.
Kershaw struck out four and didn’t walk a batter for the third time this year in a 111-pitch gem. He pumped his fist after striking out Aubrey Huff to end it in 2 hours, 17 minutes.
“I don’t feel any different but I guess the results speak for themselves,” Kershaw said. “I expect to put some zeros up there. Fortunately I got nine of them tonight.”
He ended a four-start winless stretch in which he was 0-3 since a victory Aug. 17, against Colorado.
“This kid has been starving for runs and we had to score an unearned run to boot,” Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. “This was a special game for him, his first complete game, his first shutout.”
San Francisco lost 1-0 to the Dodgers for the first time in the 11-year-old history of AT&T Park – and this was the Giants’ only loss in this ballpark in which they allowed just one hit.
The Dodgers loaded the bases in the sixth on a hit batter and two walks, but Zito had a chance to get out of it with two outs. Casey Blake’s ball bounced off the mound – it surely would have been a sharp single otherwise – and straight to shortstop Uribe, who had to go several feet to his left. He had what he considered a makable play but bobbled the ball on exchange from the glove to his hand and couldn’t get the force at second. Reed Johnson scored to give Los Angeles a 1-0 lead.
“Yeah, yeah, it’s an error,” Uribe said, fully agreeing with the call. “It’s an easy play. It’s my fault. If no error, maybe no score.”
Zito’s nine straight losing decisions are a career-worst. He allowed one hit, struck out five and walked three in 5 2-3 innings.
“It doesn’t feel good to have the team lose my start,” Zito said. “Sometimes we get tough breaks. All my stuff felt good. … They’re huge (games). We’ve just got to come ready to play.”
Zito faced the minimum through five innings. He allowed a leadoff walk to Rafael Furcal to start the game but then got a double play. Matt Kemp singled to start the second but he was later caught stealing. After that, Zito retired the next 12 batters in order before plunking Johnson with one out in the sixth.
The Giants – who lost for only the fifth time in their last 15 – have a more favorable schedule than the other two in the division chase with 12 of their final 18 games at home, including the final six. But they will have to make those games count.
San Francisco hosts San Diego for a three-game series to end the season from Oct. 1-3.
Cody Ross batted leadoff for the Giants and will share duties with Aaron Rowand in center field in place of Andres Torres. On Sunday, Torres underwent an appendectomy in San Diego and will miss the remainder of the regular season. He flew home to the Bay Area from Southern California on Monday and showed up at the ballpark Tuesday night.
Notes: Sanchez was in the Giants’ lineup two days after injuring his left knee in Sunday’s series finale at San Diego. … Kemp was caught stealing for the 15th time this year. He has 18 stolen bases. … Los Angeles LF Scott Podsednik missed his fourth straight game and likely is done for the season with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. Podsednik was headed to Dallas on Wednesday to get a second opinion and that surgery is a possibility. Jay Gibbons will get the bulk of the time in left, though Reed Johnson played LF against the lefty starter and Gibbons was at first. … Dodgers RHP Vicente Padilla, scratched from his scheduled start Sunday against Houston because of a bulging disk in his neck, is also likely to shut down for the remainder of 2010. … Flags at AT&T Park flew at half-staff and a moment of silence was held before the game for those affected by a deadly pipeline explosion last week in nearby San Bruno. The fire killed at least four people and destroyed nearly 40 homes.