By Morris Phillips
SAN FRANCISCO–A season after winning 107 regular season games, the Giants are stuck trying to win one. It’s been a process, and it’s still ongoing.
Losing eight straight to the Dodgers? Eleven straight to NL West opponents? Frustrating, even more so after Thursday afternoon’s 5-3 loss to the Dodgers that saw manager Gabe Kapler ejected along with reliever Jarlin Garcia.
“Obviously, I took exception to sort of being scolded in front of our dugout about how to approach and address our players,” Kapler said after the game.
The Giants struck early when newly-acquired J.D. Davis homered to put the Giants up 2-1. But in the top of the fourth, Mookie Betts’ three-run homer gave the Dodgers a lead that stung. Starter Jakob Junis walked number nine hitter James Outman, and Betts, the first batter faced by John Brebbia, struck with two runners aboard. Betts’ innocuous hand to side of the head gesture to his teammates caught the attention of Garcia, who wasn’t even in the game at that point.
When Garcia entered in the sixth, he was effective, preserving the two-run deficit with a pair of strikeouts. But when leaving the field Garcia mimicked Betts and followed with a few words for the slugger, who was in the on-deck circle. That drew the attention of first base umpire Phil Cuzzi, who followed Garcia and Kapler back to the Giants’ dugout. Cuzzi demanded that Kapler get his guy off the field, which he had, and that led to Kapler losing his cool with the umpire, and getting tossed.
“I had already gotten Jarlín off the field. Things were completely under control,” Kapler said. “I wasn’t happy with it and probably didn’t handle it perfectly.”
In the seventh, the Dodgers’ lead grew to 5-2 when Trae Turner homered off Yunior Marte. The Giants managed just five hits in the game, and did little to threaten after the Turner home run, falling four games below .500 for the first time this season.
Chris Martin picked up the win for the Dodgers, pitching a scoreless sixth inning. Starter Clayton Kershaw departed after four innings complaining of back discomfort. Kershaw threw 66 pitches, allowing the Davis home run, but the news of his discomfort was the only bad news for the visitors.
“Given it’s his back which has been problematic at times — we just won’t know more until we get some tests,” manager Dave Roberts said.
The Giants have Friday off before traveling to Oakland for two over the weekend with the A’s. Beware: the A’s also are playing well, and less likely to be trumped by the Giants, who are hopeful of Evan Longoria’s return and Brandon Crawford.