SF Giants swept by Dodgers in 4-game series for first time since 1995

LOS ANGELES — Any momentum the Giants had built before the All-Star break was cut short over the past four days at Dodger Stadium. Plagued by too many defensive errors, bullpen gaffes and too few hits, their play this weekend looked more like the 4-14 streak that preceded their seven wins in the last nine games before the break. .

In 36 baseball innings, the Giants have led for exactly two of them.

On Sunday, the Dodgers delivered the killing blow to a four-game sweep — the Giants’ first at the hands of their division rivals since 1995 — in a 7-4 loss that was decided in the seventh inning, when Tyler Rogers surrendered three RBI shots that drove all the runners he inherited from Dominic Leone.

Manager Gabe Kapler used three jerky phrases to describe his disappointment with his club’s play.

“Not good enough. Really frustrating. A level of play that won’t be acceptable.

Now a game over .500 (48-47) and 16½ behind the Dodgers, the hope and optimism that oozed from the clubhouse after the team took three of the Brewers’ four entering the break stars were dropped in favor of solemn silence after Sunday’s loss. If they hadn’t already said goodbye to the prospect of repeating as division champions, they probably can now.

“Probably as frustrating as it gets,” said Alex Cobb, who focused on giving the Giants 5⅔ innings after allowing four runs in the first three innings and working 72 pitches to record nine outs. “It felt like we had a bit of momentum before the break and then we went out – we were competitive for every game – we just didn’t make it.”

With just over a week to go before the Aug. 2 trade deadline, Farhan Zaidi must decide what moves can get this club over the hump — maybe trade one or two of their half-dozen designated hitters for one. defensive upgrade, or another high-leverage reliever that can ensure some of the best starting pitchers in the National League are wasted – or look at their play over the past month and kick the season off next.

Since climbing a season-best 10 game above .500 on June 17, the Giants have gone 11-20. Yet, however, they sit just two games away from the third and final wildcard spot in the National League, even after failing to capitalize on the cold starts of the Cardinals (1-2) and Phillies (0- 3) in the second half.

“That’s not where we want to be after this four game streak,” Cobb said. “But go ahead and mind your business in Arizona, and you might be able to leave the road trip with a new boost.”

Despite their play this series and over the past five weeks, Kapler expressed a similar sentiment.

“You know if you’re sitting within striking distance of that joker,” he said, “all it takes is a good streak of quality play and you could be ahead three or four games.”

It looked like such a streak could begin when Carlos Rodón pitched a full game in a win over the Padres, beginning a seven-game winning streak before the All-Star break. The good vibes generated by the batting practice home run derby that preceded this win? Finished, after four consecutive defeats in Los Angeles.

“We (swear) lost today so we have no momentum,” Kapler said. “It’s not something that, like, you show up and feel, ‘Ooh, everything feels good now, we’re going to run the Dodgers series.’ It doesn’t work that way. You get to the ballpark and you bust your ass and get ready for the game. The momentum happens after the game.

The Dodgers did everything they could to prevent even a shred of hope in the visitor’s dugout.

Each time the Giants have taken the lead in this series – when Wilmer Flores scored in the eighth inning Thursday night to give San Francisco a 6-5 advantage and on Sunday when Thairo Estrada picked Darin Ruf and Yermín Mercedes in the third to make it 2-1 – they coughed it up in the bottom half of the same inning.

On Sunday, the Dodgers chained four straight hits with two outs late in the third to rally to three runs against Cobb. With Warriors star Klay Thompson sitting behind the Giants dugout, his younger brother, Trayce, brought Max Muncy home for the final run of the third, making it 4-2, then doubled him again for the final run of a three-point seventh. inning that broke a 4-4 tie.

First baseman Freddie Freeman started the seventh inning rally with a fly ball that veered to the corner of left field. According to Statcast, it should have been a success only 10% of the time. But with Mercedes leaving the field for just the 13th time in his 12-year professional career, he landed a bad jump and dropped the ball on the warning lane as Freeman rushed into second base.

Darin Ruf gave the Giants a glimmer of hope with one out in the fifth, sending a two-point shot to left center that tied the game at 4 and gave Clayton Kershaw his third-earliest outing of one of the 52 starts he has made. against the Giants.

The Giants’ four runs against Kershaw were three more than they had made against the Dodgers’ starters in the previous three games in this series (one). It was also only the sixth time in those 52 starts that Kershaw had allowed so many runs.

Ruf’s fifth-inning homer was his fifth since the schedule moved to July, nearly doubling his season tally (which rose to 11) in 19 games this month. With 44 at-bats, only Yordan Alvarez of the Astros has homered as many as Ruf in fewer at-bats this month. After taking a .673 OPS in the month, Ruf’s mark for July is .976.