IT’S A GIANT STEP FOR L. A.
Dodgers finally get past charging division rivals as Grandal hits two home runs.
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.”
YASMANI GRANDAL celebrates the f irst of his two home runs.
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.