San Francisco – Entering Friday’s series opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler knew the tough challenge ahead against Dodgers ace Trevor Bauer.
Bauer pitched exactly as Kapler thought he would, shutting down this recently hot Giants lineup as San Francisco dropped the series opener to the Dodgers 2-1.
“Bauer’s extremely smart, extremely motivated, I think he wants to be the best,” Kapler said pregame. “He’s at the top of his game right now and we have to be ready to combat that and that’s no small task.”
Bauer allowed just two hits and four walks with an unearned run while striking out 11 as he earned his fifth win of the season. He completely shut down the Giants offense that has scored 37 runs during their recent five-game win streak – even more so, a team that scored 19 runs on Thursday.
“Trevor threw great,” Giants starter and former Dodger Alex Wood said after the game. “He’s a special player on his team.”
Bauer worked his way out of a jam in the sixth inning, where he walked both Mike Yastrzemski and Brandon Crawford, then with two outs and runners on first and second he threw away a routine grounder by Evan Longoria. That allowed Yastrzmeski to score on the error to pull San Francisco back within one.
He got Alex Dickerson to fly out to deep right with the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position to get out of the inning.
After getting pulled with one out in the seventh inning, Bauer walked back towards the first base dugout, hand cupped to his ear, enjoying the boos from Giants fans – in typical Trevor Bauer fashion.
“They’re going to hate me anyway, might as well get into it,” Bauer said.
On the other side, while Wood himself didn’t have a terrible outing, he also didn’t have his best stuff that he displayed through the first two months of the season.
Wood allowed two runs on eight hits in six innings along with seven strikeouts. The eight hits allowed on Friday night tied his season-worst so far from his last outing against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He didn’t allow more than four hits in his first five starts to the campaign.
“I thought that was the worst my stuff’s been,” said Wood. “But these are the kind of outings, especially if it’s a team like that, you know. I really pride myself on being able to grind and compete and keep us in it long enough to give us a chance to win it late in the game.”
Despite not being entirely in rhythm throughout the night and allowing a two-run homer to Dodgers outfielder Chris Taylor in the third, Wood did keep the Giants in the game as best as he could.
With a pair of runners on in the fourth, he struck out DJ Peters and forced Bauer into a 6-4 fielder’s choice to get out of the inning. In the following frame he forced Albert Pujols to ground into a 6-4-3 inning-ending double play to escape that jam after Mookie Betts and Justin Turner got on base in the fifth.
“I think he came out with a little extra adrenaline,” Kapler said. “And I think that was evident in some of the early misses with his heater. And then also with his kind of intense conversation with [Chris Guccione], the home plate umpire. But I thought he settled in nicely and gave us a chance to win the game against a really difficult lineup.”
“I feel like I made some pitches when I had to,” added Wood.” “They’re a good lineup, they know me really well and came in with a good plan.”
The question now going into tomorrow’s matchup against the Dodgers in Game 2 of the series (4:15pm PT, FOX) is who will start for San Francisco on the mound against Walker Buehler for L.A.
The Giants called up right-hander Nick Tropeano from Triple-A Sacramento prior to the game and while all eyes seem to be on him to get the nod, Kapler remained quiet on the team’s decision during his postgame conference.
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