IT’S A GI­ANT STEP FOR L. A.

Dodgers fi­nally get past charg­ing di­vi­sion ri­vals as Gran­dal hits two home runs.

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Zach Helfand

Dodgers Man­ager Don Mat­tingly chewed on the ques­tion as if he’d tasted some­thing sour. Are you, he was asked, get­ting tired of hear­ing about a cer­tain di­vi­sion ri­val up north, the one that had beaten the Dodgers in five straight games?

“Umm,” Mat­tingly said, then held a long pause, mulling his words. “Umm, I guess it de­pends … ”

Mat­tingly was perched atop a bench in the home dugout be­fore Sun­day’s game. It was Fa­ther’s Day, which was con­ve­nient for the Dodgers — the Giants were right there in the op­po­site dugout. Re­cent history did not fa­vor the Dodgers. They had lost nine of their last 11 games against the Giants.

Be­fore the game, Mat­tingly said he had blocked all that out, along with what he called “the rhetoric.” He said he was keep­ing per­spec­tive. But then a rare thing hap­pened: the Dodgers won, and with a 10- 2 dis­man­tling at that, and so Mat­tingly re­sponded with an ad­mis­sion.

“That, ob­vi­ously, feels good,” he said.

Mat­tingly and the rest of the Dodgers tried to keep the win in con­text. It was one game. The Giants have still won nine of 12 this sea­son against the Dodgers. The lineup is still sput­ter­ing, and the team has scored two runs or fewer in 19 of the last 35 games.

But, said Brett An­der­son, who gave up one run over six in­nings, “As far back as I can re­mem­ber, it’s prob­a­bly the best over­all team win we’ve had in a while.”

The last time the lineup had a big­ger out­burst was an 11- run game June 1 in Colorado. They haven’t scored as many runs out­side the thin air of Coors Field since May 12 against the Mi­ami Mar­lins, when they scored 11.

Justin Turner and Adrian Gon­za­lez each launched home runs. In three con­sec­u­tive in­nings, Yas­mani Gran­dal laid down a rare bunt to beat an in­field shift, then hit two home runs. The Dodgers com­bined for 16 hits.

“Hope­fully, that’s a sign that we’re maybe com­ing out of this lit­tle swoon,” Mat­tingly said.

Ev­ery po­si­tion player who started col­lected a hit, ex­cept Alex Guer­rero. Five had mul­ti­ple hits: Yasiel Puig, Jimmy Rollins, Turner, Gon­za­lez and Gran­dal.

The pre­vi­ous day, Gran­dal in­sisted the Dodgers could go win­less against the Giants, and he wouldn’t care, so long as the Dodgers f in­ished the sea­son in f irst place. Again, he in­sisted the Dodgers were not af­fected psy­cho­log­i­cally by their in­abil­ity to beat the Giants.

“Psy­cho­log­i­cally,” Gran­dal said. “I think we might want to change that word. We weren’t think­ing about it. I keep say­ing that.”

Be­fore the game, when Mat­tingly found the right words to de­scribe the Giants is­sue, he said it was dan­ger­ous to get too con­cerned with short- term re­sults.

“I got to look at the whole sea­son and where we’re go­ing,” Mat­tingly said.

Yet, he had seen how much dam­age an in­abil­ity to beat just one team could inf lict.

The Giants were 9- 13 in April but went on a tear in May. By Sun­day, they were half a game back of the Na- tional League West lead. The Dodgers can blame them­selves for the Giants’ as­cen­dance — the Giants are un­der .500 against the rest of the league.

The win meant the Dodg- ers got to hold onto f irst place. Mat­tingly pro­vided per­spec­tive for that too.

“Well,” he said, “it doesn’t hurt.”

Vic tor Decolongon Getty I mages

YAS­MANI GRAN­DAL cel­e­brates the f irst of his two home runs.

Alex Gallardo As­so­ci­ated Press

DODGERS SEC­OND BASE­MAN Howie Ken­drick leaps af­ter tag­ging out Matt Duffy of the San Fran­cisco Giants at sec­ond base in the f irst in­ning with um­pire Laz Diaz mak­ing the call.

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