It may not be entirely accurate to make larger statements about teams based on one series, but it certainly is tempting at times like these.
The Dodgers completed a three-game sweep of the Giants with a 4-0 victory on Sunday afternoon at AT&T Park, with marquee acquisition Hanley Ramirez driving in runs in all three games for Los Angeles. The Giants, who were shut out two games in a row, made no deal to match the Ramirez trade.
The Giants had a three-game lead in the National League West when the series began. Now the teams are in a virtual tie with just over two months to go in the season, and just two days before the trading deadline.
“Obviously any time you get out of here with a sweep is awesome,” Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw said. “It puts us right back in the middle of things.”
The reigning Cy Young winner, Kershaw had faced the Giants two other times this season, and both times he pitched well but was outdueled by Ryan Vogelsong. The pitchers met again Sunday, but this time the outcome was reversed.
The Dodgers got a couple runs against Vogelsong in the fourth inning. Juan Rivera lined a single into left field to lead off the inning. Matt Kemp followed with a single. Andre Ethier’s deep fly ball to center sent Rivera to third.
Ramirez then hit a potential double-play ball to third baseman Marco Scutaro, but Ramirez hustled down the line and narrowly beat the relay, allowing the Dodgers to score a run.
The Dodgers then caught a break for their second run. Scutaro appeared to lose James Loney’s popup in the sun, and the Giants’ third baseman dropped it for an error. The Dodgers capitalized when Luis Cruz followed with a double down the left-field line, driving in an unearned run.
Vogelsong allowed just one earned run, and he became the NL ERA leader, at 2.22, even though he took the loss.
The Giants hit into double plays in the fourth and sixth, scuttling potential rallies. In the sixth, Gregor Blanco reached on a leadoff single, but he was doubled off first when he got a bad read on Ryan Theriot’s lineout to second baseman Mark Ellis.
“He kept the ball down and over the plate,” Giants outfielder Angel Pagan said. “He didn’t make a lot of mistakes and worked his pitches. When he’s on like that, it’s tough to get runs.”
Next Game: Giants vs. Mets