Sunday September 14th, 2014

Clearly unfazed by Friday night's 9-0 loss that shrank their lead in the National League West to one game, the Dodgers stormed back against the Giants on Saturday with a 17-0 win that proved to be the most lopsided major league game since August, 2012. It surpassed the Rangers16-0 win over the White Sox on August 6 of this year and fell just one run short of the A’s 18-run advantage in their 20-2 win over the Red Sox on August 31, 2012.

As one might expect given the final score, the game was effectively over as soon as it started. The Dodgers scored four runs in the top of the first on doubles by Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, and Hanley Ramirez and singles by Carl Crawford, Juan Uribe, and A.J. Ellis. Two more singles by Dee Gordon and Puig to start the top of the second drove Giants starter Tim Hudson from the game, making this the shortest of Hudson’s 455 major league starts. Hudson faced 11 batters, retiring just three of them (one of those being opposing starter Zack Grienke). The other eight men Hudson faced all collected hits, and six of them ultimately came around to score.

Before Saturday, the worst outing of Hudson’s career had come way back in his sophomore season of 2000, when he lasted just 1 2/3 innings and was charged with seven runs in a 14-2 loss to the Red Sox. His previous shortest start by batters faced was on April 20, 2000, when he faced 12 men and gave up four runs in 2 1/3 innings against Cleveland. By total pitches, his previous shortest start came on June 9, 2007 when he was bounced after 44 pitches having allowed five runs in just two innings against the Cubs. He trumped all of those marks in this game, lasting just one inning, facing just 11 batters and throwing just 35 pitches.

The pitcher charged with stopping the bleeding with two on and no outs in the top of the second was Tim Lincecum, who has managed to go from throwing a no-hitter on June 25 to being bounced from the rotation just two months later. This was just Lincecum’s third relief appearance since being moved to the bullpen. It did not go well. The first four batters Lincecum faced drove in runs, with Adrian Gonzalez and Ramirez singling around a Kemp double and Carl Crawford adding a sac fly. That made it 8-0 after two innings.

The Dodgers added one in the third after Lincecum walked Greinke to start that inning. They added two in the fourth on a Uribe solo homer and a Gordon single that plated Greinke, who had doubled. Lincecum was done after that, allowing five runs in three innings to inflate his ERA to 9.45  in four relief appearances this season.

The Giants' rookie pitcher Michael Kickham, a starter in the minor leagues making his second major league appearance of the season, managed to hold L.A. scoreless in the fifth, but in the sixth he gave up a leadoff single to Ellis followed immediately by a two-run, first-pitch home run by Greinke. It was his first round-tripper as a Dodger. The Dodgers continued their attack as San Francisco's rookie shortstop Matt Duffy, who took over for starter Brandon Crawford that inning, booted a grounder by Gordon for an error. Then Puig singled off Duffy’s glove (though Duffy stayed with the play and threw behind Gordon to catch him rounding second). Later, with two outs and the bases loaded via a walk to Joc Pederson (in for Kemp, who fouled a pitch off his left foot in the fifth but said he was fine after the game) and another Ramirez single, Crawford beat out a ground ball to Duffy with the out-call on the field being overturned on replay. That plated the 14th Dodger run and bounced Kickham from the game.

Replacing Kickham and making his Major League debut was Brett Bochy, son of Giants manager Bruce. It was the first time in major league history that a manager had called his son in from the bullpen as Brett Bochy is the first pitcher ever to be managed by his father in the majors. He's also just the eighth major-leaguer ever to be managed by his father (following Earle Mack, Dale Berra, Cal and Billy Ripken, Brian McRae, Moises Alou and Aaron Boone). The first batter the 27-year-old Bochy faced was Juan Uribe, whom he walked on five pitches to force in a run. In the seventh, he hit pinch-hitter Roger Bernadina with a pitch, then gave up a two-out, two-run homer to Scott Van Slyke to cap the scoring and give the Dodgers their 17-0 lead.

With all of that already in the books, there was still one notable event remaining in the game. With one out in the top of the eighth, Alex Guerrero, the Cuban infielder the Dodgers signed in October with hopes of having him start at second base for them this season, picked up his first major league hit. In his sixth major league at-bat, Guerrero hit a single to left off Erik Cordier. Guerrero was subbed into left field in the previous inning and has yet to draw a start in the major leagues.

In a game in which the Giants’ first and second basemen Travis Ishikawa and Joe Panik were the only starters on either team to play all nine innings, the hitting stars were Ramirez (4-for-5 with a double, two RBI and a run scored), Kemp (3-for-4 with two doubles, three RBI, and two runs scored), and the previously slumping Puig (3-for-5 with a double and three runs scored). The player of the game, however, was Greinke. In addition to going 2-for-3 at the plate with a double, a home run, a walk, two RBI and two runs scored, Greinke threw six scoreless innings, allowing just four hits and striking out five against no walks. He picked up his 15th win. Scott Elbert, Chris Perez, and Yimi Garcia completed the shutout as the Dodgers expanded their lead in the NL West to two games.

The Dodgers and Giants will complete this wild series on Sunday afternoon with Clayton Kershaw taking on Yusmeiro Petit in what will be the last regular season game between these teams in San Francisco this year. They will complete their season series with three games at Dodger Stadium starting on Sept. 22, likely with the division still hanging in the balance.

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