SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants limped into their first home showdown with the team that took them to the wire last season and ultimately eliminated from them the playoffs in this very ballpark. It didn’t matter.
The memories of Game 5 of last year’s NLDS were long gone — or at least temporarily forgotten — after the Giants completed a sweep of the Dodgers on Sunday, 2-0, in the first games the rivals have played at Oracle Park since the fateful elimination game last October.
The three-game sweep was the Giants’ first over the Dodgers in six seasons and gave them a 3-2 lead in the season series this year, after Los Angeles swept a two-game set at Dodger Stadium last month. The Giants are 3.5 games back of the NL West, after entering the weekend in a 6.5-game hole.
Carlos Rodón led the latest of three brilliant pitching performances, limiting Los Angeles’ vaunted lineup to two hits over six innings. Opposed by an equally tough left-hander in Julio Urías, the Giants got the backing needed to break out the brooms with two swings from Austin Slater and Mike Yastrzemski.
Slater slugged Urías’ fourth pitch of the game over the wall in dead center, giving the Giants their third leadoff home run this season and a 1-0 lead. Yastrzemski made it 2-0 two batters later with an opposite-field shot that just cleared the left-field wall.
That was all the Giants got — Urías retired the next 16 hitters — but it was all they needed behind another strong outing from Rodón, who lowered his ERA to 3.18 with six shutout innings. With three innings of relief behind him, the Giants blanked an opponent for the first time in 59 games this season.
While Urías’ stretch of 16 straight out may have been the most dominant display of pitching Sunday afternoon, the Dodgers couldn’t recover from the two first-inning home runs. Rodón pitched around a pair of leadoff doubles, three walks and 17 foul balls that ran up his pitch count but didn’t allow a run while striking out eight Dodgers.
A taxed bullpen continued its redemption arc with three shutout innings to shut the door. In 13 innings this series, Giants relievers allowed one earned run, after the group posted the worst bullpen ERA in the majors during the month of May.
The Dodgers lead the majors with 5.24 runs per game, but they couldn’t manage more than two in any single game over the course of the sweep while Giants pitchers posted a 1.00 ERA.
The Giants have taken five of their last seven series against the Dodgers at Oracle Park, but the three-game sweep was their first against Los Angeles in any setting since they won the last three contests of the 2016 season, from Sept. 30-Oct. 1, 2016.
The Giants have a chance to ride the momentum of a series sweep to the conclusion of their home stand. They play host to the Kansas City Royals (for three games, starting Monday, before hitting the road again. The only team in the majors with a worse record resides across the Bay.
Contributed by local news sources