LOS ANGELES – Evan Longoria defeated Max Schazer in the fifth inning and the San Francisco Giants beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 1-0 on Monday night to take a 2-1 lead in their NL Division Series.
Los Angeles nearly tied it in the ninth with two outs when pinch-hitter Gavin Lux began a long drive to left-center. But the wind knocked him down and the ball got stuck on the warning track, which didn’t convince Lux.
It was the Giants’ second shutout in a best-of-five playoff after winning the opener 4–0.
Game 4 is at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday, with Game 5 in San Francisco on Thursday if necessary.
The Dodgers defeated the Giants 9–2 to win Game 2, but scored just five hits at home. NL batting champions Tree Turner and Mookie Bates each scored 0 for 4, and Corey Seeger scored 0 for 4.
Longoria broke the 0-for-23 fall with his leadoff shot in a massive left-centre. He made just two hits in his last 40 at-bats. It was his first postseason homer since the 2013 ALDS with Tampa Bay.
After that, Scherzer retired his last six batsmen. But the Dodgers lost their first 13 starts since the acquisition from Washington on the July 30 trade deadline.
“You get to the post season, you can always lose on a pitch. It comes into play. Tonight I lost it on a pitch,” Shazer said.
The Giants’ other two hits were singles by Buster Posey and Kris Bryant. His last 15 batsmen were retired, including a ninth, when Dodgers close Kenny Jensen dismissed the team.
San Francisco starter Alex Wood allowed two hits in 4 2/3 innings against his former team. The left-handed batsman scored four runs and scored two runs. Tyler Rogers won with 1 2/3 innings of relief. Camilo Doval played two fine innings for the defense.
Calm, gusty winds waved flags in the central region and even Scherzer stumbled into giving the opening pitch on a night with weather similar to Oracle Park in San Francisco.
Napkins, peanut bags and plastic bags were blown over the warning track and through the stands. A dusty haze eroded the usual picturesque view of the San Gabriel Mountains and prevented a pregame flyover from being seen except on videoboards. The white cap of a fan flew off the stand and landed on the field in the second innings.
The strong wind continued to blow from left to right throughout the game, causing the pitcher’s pants to burst on the mound.
Scherzer changed his mechanics in his last bullpen session before Game 3. It worked. When he struggled with his order, including in the NL wild-card game against St. Louis, he pitched with missing rhythm from his last three starts.
He retired 10 batsmen between Posey’s single in the first and Bryant’s two-out single in the fourth. Bryant made his first start of the season for the Giants.
Scherzer conceded one run and three hits in seven innings after losing. The three-time Cy Young Award winner hit 10 – his fifth career double-digit post-season strikeout total – and went one on 110 pitches.
The tension was evident in the later innings.
Pinch-hitters Steven Souza Jr. and Will Smith had a single each in the seventh, the Dodgers’ first back-to-back hit of the game, Submarine Rogers. Pinch hitter Austin Barnes swings out.
With a sold-out crowd of 53,299 on their feet, “Let’s go, Dodgers!” Chanting, Bates hit a screaming liner in leaping gloves to shortstop Brandon Crawford to end the threat.
The Dodgers had three hits – all singles – through six innings.
His first hit came off the bat of 41-year-old Albert Pujols, whose bloop single to right took a third-place lead in the latter game of his 75th career. Along with Pujols, the Dodgers started Scherzer, 37, and Justin Turner, 36, in third.
It was Pujol’s first debut and hit in the playoffs with the Los Angeles Angels since the 2014 ALDS. The three-time NL MVP hit .294 against left-handed pitching during the regular season.
Pujols again took the lead in fifth before being replaced by pinch-runner Billy McKinney. It was his first multi-hit postseason game for St. Louis since his three-homer performance in Game 3 of the 2011 World Series.