San Francisco – Reliever Jay Jackson took the mound for the San Francisco Giants in Saturday’s bullpen game, making not just his first start since 2014 but his first career big league start.
Unfortunately, things unraveled quite quickly for Jackson and the Giants as they lost 6-1 to the Los Angles Dodgers tonight. He couldn’t find his control, Trea Turner hit his fourth leadoff home run in the first, while both Mookie Betts and Justin Turner each drew walks to knock Jackson out as fast as he trotted onto the mound.
Jackson recorded just one out in his first career major league start, getting rocked by the Dodgers for three runs in the first inning on a home run with a pair of walks and one strikeout. Jackson was also charged for two runs scored once he was taken out of the game.
“It was a rough start,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. “You can’t walk Dodgers hitters, it’s always going to come back to bite you.”
Jarlin Garcia replaced Jackson with one out in the first and managed to close out the inning by getting Corey Seager to hit a sacrifice fly to center, then caught A.J. Pollack who tried to steal third after he doubled with two away. Garcia kept San Francisco in the game down just two after the Giants clawed a run back on an RBI double by Buster Posey in the bottom of the first.
The rest of San Francisco’s bullpen managed to keep the game close. The Giants lineup could not find a way to drive in the tying runs. San Francisco had a chance to tie the game in the fourth with both Posey and Mauricio Dubon in scoring position but Tommy La Stella popped out to Corey Seager at shortstop to end the inning.
The Giants had another chance to claw another run back in the fifth inning after Kris Bryant singled and found his way to second on a grounder by Austin Slater, but Evan Longoria grounded out to Seager at short to end that rally.
“It feels like we were able to put mini rallies together, but we’re not getting the big hit that turns into the big inning for us,” Kapler explained. “It’s the key to our success and why we’re up and down right now.
The silver lining is that it tends to change pretty quickly. Right now, we’re not getting it done in the biggest moments as we get the mini rallies together. To win Major League Baseball games you’ve got to drive in runs and have big innings and we’re not doing that right now.”
Many of San Francisco rallies were thwarted by LA’s starter, Julio Urias, who was solid against the Giants. He went 5 ⅔ innings, allowed one run on eight hits while striking out eight. Urias had a chance to pitch six full innings, but Dodgers manager Dave Roberts pulled him with two outs in the sixth at 96 pitches.
LA’s bullpen picked up where Urias left off, holding the Giants hitless in the final three frames. LaMonte Wade Jr. hit a loud ground rule double toward triples alley with two away in the ninth for the only hit allowed by the Dodgers bullpen.
The Giants loss put them in a tie with the Dodgers for the lead in the NL West, just one night after they went up a game in a wild 11-inning win to open the series. Both teams have been neck and neck throughout the entire season. It’s likely the Division series will be the deciding factor at the end.
Kapler said in his postgame interview that Sunday’s series finale against the Dodgers will be another bullpen game, however he did not announce who would be the starting pitcher. He did mention that some of the pitchers who pitched in Saturday night’s game would be available, suggesting pitchers like Zack Littell, Caleb Baragar, and even Jackson himself due to his low pitch count.