SAN FRANCISCO – The weather Sunday provided a bigger challenge for the Dodgers than the San Francisco Giants have this year.
With rain and wind rolling through Oracle Park in waves all afternoon, the Dodgers were not stayed from the not-so-swift completion of their appointed rounds, scoring twice in the 10th inning and holding on to beat the Giants 4-3 on a soggy day by the Bay.
Their 101st win of the season was the Dodgers’ 12th in their past 13 games against the Giants. They finished the season series with their ancient rivals, 15-4 – their second-most wins against the Giants in a single season (behind the 1940 team) and their best winning percentage (.789) against the Giants since they beat them 10 of 12 times (.833) in 1899.
“Obviously it’s a different year as far as the race,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said, referring to the down-to-the-wire battle with the Giants for the division title a year ago. “We’ve remained steadfast in how we play and we’ve got a lot of good players. The results speak to that.
“It’s hard to beat any team like that, certainly a team in the division where there’s so much familiarity. It sort of levels the playing field somewhat in the division. So to see the success we had this year — it’s pretty rare.”
It’s hard to repeat the kind of magic tricks that fueled the Giants’ 107 wins last season. Everything seemed to go right for them a year ago. Not so much this year — like the two balls that bounced over the fence for ground-rule doubles Sunday, holding runners at third base.
“That saved us,” Freddie Freeman said. “Two of them. If those don’t go over the fence, we don’t win the game.”
A year ago, the Giants might have walked off the Dodgers on Joc Pederson’s three-run home run in the bottom of the 10th inning. But this year, the wind knocked it down enough for Mookie Betts to make a long, running catch in the deepest part of the ballpark, turning it into a 396-foot fly out instead.
“I believe Joc’s would have been a homer if there was no wind or whatever,” Betts agreed.
LaMonte Wade Jr. also made a bid for walkoff magic when he pulled a long fly ball into the seats foul with the bases loaded in the 10th before Justin Bruihl got him to ground out, earning his first major-league save.
“Just really resilient,” Roberts said. “I love the way we competed this entire series. Last day of a 10-day road trip and you go extra innings but still scratch and claw, I can’t say enough about our guys.”
The retro-Candlestick tone for the day was struck on the first pitch of the game when Betts hit a line drive to right field. Heliot Ramos broke back on the ball — which the wind knocked down for a single well in front of him.
The first half of the game was played in the persistent rain but interrupted just once.
A downpour prompted the umpiring crew to stop the game with two outs in the fourth inning. The grounds crew unrolled the tarp in left field – and rolled it back up about 20 minutes later, the rain having relented while they worked on the field.
“The field started getting mushy pretty quickly,” Freeman said. “I heard third base was pretty bad because some water seeped under it. … The rain itself was not too bad. But it just accumulated over those first four innings. I’m just glad we got it in.”
Dodgers starter Andrew Heaney was unhittable before the delay, retiring the first nine Giants in order (five on strikeouts). The Dodgers gave him a lead just before play was stopped, Freeman scoring from first base on Justin Turner’s latest double (he has a career-high 36 including eight this month).
When Heaney went back to the mound after the rain cleared up, he lost his momentum – and nearly lost the lead.
After Thairo Estrada’s leadoff single, Wilmer Flores lined a double into the left-center field gap. Estrada would have scored easily to tie the game but the ball bounced into the stands for a ground-rule double, stopping Estrada at third.
After walking JD Davis to load the bases, Heaney struck out Evan Longoria and Joey Bart to escape.
The 27-pitch effort that inning ended Heaney’s day. He struck out eight in four innings.
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The Dodgers’ lead disappeared an inning later on a throwing error by Trea Turner. But the Dodgers went back on top in the sixth inning.
Giants center fielder Lewis Brinson slipped on his first step in center field, allowing Trea Turner’s line drive to drop for a leadoff double. Freeman slapped a single through the middle to drive him in with the go-ahead run.
Freeman has batted .390 (55 for 141) with runners in scoring position, driving in 71 runs in those situations.
But Alex Vesia couldn’t hold the lead in the eighth. He walked the first two batters of the inning, struck Joc Pederson out on three poor bunt attempts and got help from Cody Bellinger when he ran Flores’ drive down at the wall in straightaway center field.
Bellinger couldn’t get JD Davis’ drive into the gap, though, and the ground-rule double tied the game. It was the first run charged to Vesia in 19 1/3 innings since July 21.
Betts’ RBI double in the top of the 10th gave the Dodgers their third lead of the game. Three consecutive walks forced in a second run.
Roberts handed that lead to Andre Jackson, the seventh of the eight pitchers he would use in the game. Jackson gave up an RBI single to Flores, the long fly out to Pederson and walked two to load the bases for Bruihl.
“Nothing,” Betts said when asked what it meant to dominate the Giants this season. “It’s just 2022. It doesn’t mean anything at all. Next year could be a completely different thing.”