SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Shane Victorino is all for the Los Angeles Dodgers somehow still finding a way to win the NL West, even as they added to their hole with another loss against rival San Francisco.
On an otherwise solid day, Josh Beckett surrendered Marco Scutaro’s tiebreaking, two-run single in the seventh inning, and the Giants beat the Los Angeles 5-2 on Friday night to extend their division lead over the Dodgers to 5 games.
“Ultimately we want to win the division but sometimes it is necessary to look outside the bubble,” Victorino said. “The goal? It’s about getting there. The first is to win the division.”
The Dodgers dropped their fourth in a row to San Francisco (78-60) after being swept at home from Aug. 20-22. The Giants lead the division by 5 games for the first time since ending the 2003 season with a 15-game cushion. They have two more chances with a sellout home crowd this weekend to create further distance from the Dodgers.
“We had a chance to win today, we have a chance to win tomorrow and we have a chance to win Sunday,” manager Don Mattingly said. “That’s what we came here to do. The middle game will be big for us. We pick up one game here, the next thing you know you pick up two or three and get hot and then it’s a whole different game. That’s all we’re going to talk about.”
After Angel Pagan drew an intentional walk from Josh Beckett (1-2) to load the bases, Scutaro followed with a bloop single to shallow right. He came through yet again for his new team — and in a key series opener in early September this time.
“I didn’t really make good contact. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good,” Scutaro said of his broken-bat base hit. “I pretty much know what my game is. I’m not a power hitter, I’m not an RBI guy. My game is to try to get on base. I stay with my plan. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.”
Santiago Casilla (7-5) relieved Lincecum and recorded the final two outs of the seventh for the win.
The Giants answered after Adam Kennedy hit a go-ahead solo home run in the top of the sixth to make it 2-1.
Hunter Pence, another recent addition for the playoff push, tied it on an infield single down the third-base line in the bottom half. Kennedy tried to barehand the high bouncer, which got under his glove and allowed Pagan to score.
Hector Sanchez singled to start the seventh and Gregor Blanco entered to pinch-run, then stole second. Brandon Crawford walked and pinch-hitter Emmanuel Burriss sacrificed. Pagan was intentionally walked to load the bases for Scutaro, who delivered another clutch hit in a career full of them. It was his second one this homestand after a game-winning single in the 10th inning of Monday’s 9-8 win against Arizona.
Since Scutaro was acquired from the Colorado Rockies on July 27, he is batting .331 (53 for 160) with 26 RBIs.
“We needed somebody to come through for us and he has done that since he came over here, and really his whole career,” manager Bruce Bochy said.
Beckett, facing the Giants for the first time since 2005 while with the Marlins, outlasted Lincecum in the right-hander’s third start since being acquired from the Red Sox on Aug. 25.
He was in control until the seventh. Last time out, Beckett had matched his season high with nine strikeouts against Arizona, snapping a three-start skid and seven-start winless stretch in which he was 0-5.
The Dodgers failed to capitalize in the top of the seventh. Mark Ellis hit a leadoff single and Adrian Gonzalez walked one out later to chase Lincecum, who walked a career-high seven and missed a chance to win back-to-back starts for just the third time this year. Casilla entered and got Matt Kemp on a groundout to put runners on second and third before striking out Hanley Ramirez looking.
Lincecum walked a batter in each of his six-plus innings but got through with minimal damage.
He retired Kemp on a 90 mph called third strike to end the fifth with the go-ahead run on second. Lincecum then struck out Ramirez looking to start the sixth and got Andre Ethier swinging. Kennedy fell behind in the count 0-2 before hitting a drive into the elevated right-field arcade for his second home run of the year and first of his career in San Francisco.
Joaquin Arias added an RBI infield single in the eighth for San Francisco. Sergio Romo got the final four outs for his 10th save in 11 chances.
“It’s not about who gets the decision or how it happens,” Lincecum said. “We’re just pulling that string to win.”
The Giants have the momentum of late since Los Angeles took all three at AT&T Park from July 27-29. But from June 25-27 in the Dodgers’ first trip, San Francisco swept without allowing a single run — 8-0, 2-0, 3-0.
“You just want a chance and with the second wild card spot, it is a little bit easier,” Beckett said.
The rivalry returns to Chavez Ravine for the season’s final three games from Oct. 1-3.
“We don’t want to go back to their house the final three games and cut it close,” Scutaro said.
NOTES: Kennedy’s clout — his first since July 6 at Arizona — also was his first in 23 career at-bats against Lincecum. … Victorino stole his 33rd base in the fifth, his ninth since joining the Dodgers from the Phillies at the trade deadline. … LHP Luis Capuano (11-10) pitches for the Dodgers in the middle game against RHP Matt Cain (13-5).