Magic number: 17
Entering Sunday night’s game, the Giants were still nursing the soreness of missing an opportunity to really stick it to the Dodgers, wasting a solid outing from Matt Cain on Saturday.
Then they had Barry Zito going up against Clayton Kershaw. So the odds of the Dodgers leaving town with a 3.5-game deficit were looking good.
Then the Dodgers announced that Kershaw was nursing a sore hip, and they decided to stick with Joe Blanton in his regular turn in the rotation, giving Kershaw two more days to make his regular turn Tuesday in Arizona.
That was the first bit of good news.
With Blanton on the mound, the Giants struck early with Hunter Pence delivering a two-out, two-run double in the first. Angel Pagan’s triple led to a third run, and Buster Posey’s 20th home run of the season made it 4-0.
Then Zito did what he’s done a number of times this season — he shut down a contending team.
Zito shut out the Dodgers before leaving with two on and one out in the seventh.
Santiago Casilla pitched out of that jam. Jose Mijares, Guillermo Mota, Javier Lopez and Sergio Romo finished out the shutout.
It was the fourth time this season the Giants have shut out the Dodgers. To make that sweeter, the win was the rubber match for games at AT&T Park for the rivals. The Giants won 5 of 9.
The Giants have 22 games left. The Dodgers have 21. We were incorrect in any earlier post in saying the Dodgers now head to Washington and Cincinnati. That trip will come in another week. Now the Dodgers head to Arizona for two-game before a brief four-game homestand against the Cardinals.
Now if the Giants finish the season 11-11, the Dodgers’ hope of winning NL West ends with their sixth loss. Done at 15-6.
Those are long odds for a team that is 6-9 since their blockbuster trade that was supposed to put them over the top. Long odds for a team that still has 13 games left against playoff contenders. Long odd for a team whose ace has a sore hip, whose No. 2 pitcher is done for the year, whose closer’s status is uncertain, whose best player has a sore shoulder.
It might be to stop looking back at the Dodgers and start looking up at the Reds and National. See if they can’t catch those guys and secure some home cooking in October.
First things first. Let’s beat the Rockies on Monday, extend Colorado’s five-game skid and officially eliminate the Rockies from the NL West race. And it would be nice to get Ryan Vogelsong right.