SAN FRANCISCO — When two rivals square off the action is typically heated. But Saturday at AT&T Park, it was just bizarre.
The Giants batted out of order in the first inning, Hanley Ramirez couldn’t quite figure out what bat to use and Madison Bumgarner carried a perfect game through four innings.
Not to mention, the Dodgers (41-45) acquired Marlins’ right-hander Ricky Nolasco in a trade in the seventh inning.
If all of that is enough to make your head spin, you aren’t alone. It made the Dodgers’ collective heads spin as well, as costly errors and an erratic performance by Stephen Fife ultimately resulted in a 4-2 loss to the Giants.
It snapped a four-game win streak against San Francisco (40-46) and set up a rubber game for Sunday afternoon.
“It was kind of a weird day to be honest,” Fife said. “From the batting out of order to some ground balls when I needed fly balls and fly balls when I needed ground balls, it was kind of a weird day.”
Fife was dealt the loss in four and 1/3 innings of work. The Giants jumped on him right from the start with Gregor Blanco taking a leadoff double off the right-hander to open the game. Two batters later, Buster Posey drove in a run with a double but it was then taken away after home plate umpire Tony Randazzo called Posey out, as the lineup manager Bruce Bochy had submitted to the umpires did not have Posey batting third.
“It can happen easily when you make up lineups day-to-day on a computer program,” said Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly. “You end up having the guy in one spot one day and then you move him the next. It could happen.”
But it was just enough to throw Fife off as his struggles continued in the second inning.
Fife’s struggles continued in the second inning, as he issued a bases-loaded walk to Bumgarner. Blanco, who went 3-for-3 against Fife, then singled to drive in Andres Torres and Marco Scutaro’s deep fly scored Brandon Crawford.
Fife gave up four runs (one earned) with no strikeouts. His position in the lineup is now in question with the addition of Nolasco. Fife is 3-3 with a 2.76 ERA in eight starts.
“I feel like I’ve done well and could work for another start,” Fife said. “Do I get another one? We’ll just have to see what happens.”
“He’s throwing the ball well,” Mattingly said. “He’s made a good impression, he’s competitive, his stuff is good and he’s been consistent. He’s pretty much kept us in games.”
Both Mattingly and general manager Ned Colletti said no decision has been made about Fife or where Nolasco will pitch in the order.
The Dodgers were able to spoil Bumgarner’s (9-5) no-hit bid in the fifth. With the Giants up 4-0, Bumgarner retired the first two batters of the fifth before Andre Eithier won a battle of an at-bat with a shallow single to left. Tim Federowicz then drilled the second pitch he saw – a slider – into the stands to cut the lead to 4-2.
Ultimately, it was a game of miscues and missed opportunities for the Dodgers.
“Talk about frustrating – you make the pitches that you want to get and you get the ground balls and one bounces off the bag,” Fife said. “It kind of snowballed.”