Baseball / Sports

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu delivers against the San Francisco Giants in the fourth inning on Sunday, July 27, 2014, at AT&T Park in San Francisco. (D. Ross Cameron/Bay Area News Group/MCT)

Short-handed Giants swept by Dodgers

SAN FRANCISCO -- Sunday's starting lineups told the story of this series long before the final pitch had been thrown.

The San Francisco Giants moved fourth outfielder Gregor Blanco back into the leadoff spot because they continue to wait for Angel Pagan to return. The Los Angeles Dodgers have a disruptive All-Star, Dee Gordon, atop their lineup. The six-seven hitters for the Dodgers are longtime contributors Matt Kemp and Juan Uribe. The Giants turned to Adam Duvall, a rookie playing in place of the concussed Brandon Belt, and Dan Uggla, a veteran who is only with the team because the Giants ran out of healthy second basemen.

It was a mismatch on paper, and on the field.

The Giants lost 4-3 on Sunday night and got outscored 17-4 in the three-game sweep. Banged up and facing the Dodgers' top three starters, the Giants had no margin for error. That's what made their misplays so crushing. Uggla's blunders led to a run in the fourth inning, and Buster Posey and Jake Peavy had trouble staying on the same page in the fifth as the Dodgers piled on three more runs.

"We gave them too many outs," manager Bruce Bochy said. "It came back to haunt us."

Bochy admitted that Uggla, who was cut loose earlier this month by the Atlanta Braves, was rushed back to the big leagues. But with Marco Scutaro and Ehire Adrianza back on the disabled list and Joe Panik nursing an ankle sprain, the Giants had little choice. Uggla has been predictably rusty at the plate, going 0 for 8 with four strikeouts. His defense has been the bigger issue.

Uggla made an error to lead off the game and then let Hanley Ramirez's grounder skip through his legs to open the fourth. He came up a beat short while attempting to turn a double play on Carl Crawford a batter later, and two ensuing singles put the Dodgers on the board.

The next rally started with Posey failing to corral a Peavy curveball in the dirt that would have been strike three on Gordon. The major league stolen base leader easily made it to first as the ball went to the backstop.

"He's too much of a threat on the (bases) to let him get on," Posey said. "No matter where the pitch is, as a catcher you have to stay down (and block it)."

The Giants led 2-1 at the time, but a walk and another wild pitch moved Gordon to third with just one out. Peavy struck out Adrian Gonzalez on a curveball in the dirt, and Posey stepped out onto the field to throw to first. But as Posey let the ball go, Gordon broke for home, scoring the tying run. Posey said he thought he gave Gordon enough of a look to keep him from breaking for home.

"If I pump-fake, I don't know -- hindsight is 20-20," Posey said.

Looking back on the play, Bochy felt Posey should have taken more time before throwing to first. Gonzalez is one the slowest runners in the league, Gordon one of the fastest.

"He had time to check on (Gordon)," Bochy said. "It was a tough inning for us and a tough inning for Jake."

It would get worse. Peavy gave up a single to Ramirez and triple to Crawford, falling behind 4-2 in his debut. Acquired on Saturday morning, Peavy leaned heavily on Posey and the coaching staff when it came to a game plan. The lack of experience together caught up with the starting battery.

"It's going to take time for me and Buster to get to know each other," Peavy said. "He's tremendous behind the plate, we all know how good he is. The more we're out there, I'm sure we'll get a better feel."

Posey homered off Hyun-Jin Ryu in the bottom of the fifth to get the Giants back within one, but they wouldn't threaten again. Blanco's double-play ended the seventh, and former Giant Brian Wilson got through the eighth amid a shower of boos. Kenley Jansen struck out the side in the ninth, giving the Dodgers their first sweep at AT&T Park since July 27-29, 2012, and a 11/2-game lead in the division.

Bochy hopes to get Pagan (back inflammation) out on a rehab assignment soon but doesn't know when Belt and Hector Sanchez (concussion) will return. Matt Cain's elbow inflammation was deemed so serious that the Giants went out and acquired Peavy, who gave up four runs -- three earned -- in six innings. The Giants are short-handed in a division that's home to baseball's richest team, but Bochy refused to characterize his side as an underdog.

"It doesn't matter what they do. It's about what we do," Bochy said. "We can't be concerned about them. They're a good club. We all know it. But we're going to have to play better."

(c)2014 San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.)

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