LOS ANGELES (AP) — Tony Gwynn Jr. had just gotten into the batting cage and was starting to take swings when he heard his name called as a pinch-hitter.
He worked the count against Tim Lincecum before roping a go-ahead three-run triple one inning after San Francisco’s Nate Schierholtz ran into a critical out that helped kill a Giants’ rally and the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers went on to a 6-2 victory Wednesday night.
“I was sucking wind over there,” Gwynn said about his sprint around the bases with little warm-up. “He left a couple balls up and he was missing with his spots a little bit.”
The Dodgers have won six of their past seven series at home heading into a day off Thursday before Colorado arrives for a weekend series.
Jamey Wright (2-2) pitched two perfect innings and struck out two for the victory.
“That’s a key right there,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “His two innings were huge.”
Lincecum (2-3) gave up four runs and eight hits in five innings. He struck out eight, including NL home run leader Matt Kemp three times, and walked two in losing for the first time since April 16 against Philadelphia.
The right-hander extended his winless streak against the Dodgers to 0-4 dating to last season. The two-time NL Cy Young winner has been especially hard-hit in the first inning, but he got out of that having allowed just two hits.
“You got to force him to get the ball up,” Mattingly said. “He gets so many outs down in the strike zone.”
Kemp, who came in batting .500 in his 11 previous home games against the Giants, went 0 for 5.
The Dodgers struck for four runs in the fourth to take a 4-2 lead. Lincecum gave up a leadoff double to Andre Ethier and Bobby Abreu followed with a single. Juan Uribe drove in Ethier with a single to third that Joaquin Arias, who fell down before he could get off the throw to first. A.J. Ellis walked one out later and Gwynn cleared the bases with a drive into deep right field while batting for Chad Billingsley.
“It was nice getting through those first three, but dealing with that fourth wasn’t easy,” Lincecum said. “I didn’t put us in an easy spot. I just tried to pitch a little more aggressively and took my bullpen a little more seriously before the game as if it’s another inning.”
Buster Posey’s RBI single in the third extended the Giants’ lead to 2-0. Brandon Belt reached on a fielder’s choice grounder and Schierholtz singled him to second. Arias had a single to center, and Kemp charged the ball, throwing to second baseman Adam Kennedy for the tag on Schierholtz, who had rounded the bag and was tagged out before Belt could cross the plate.
“I read the ball in the gap and I thought I had a chance possibly to go to third, but I took one step too many and tried to get back, but he made a perfect throw,” Schierholtz said. “I was overaggressive, but that’s how I play the game. We’ve worked on going from first to third. It was just a lack of judgment on my part.”
The Dodgers recalled outfielder-first baseman Scott Van Slyke from Triple-A Albuquerque and he arrived minutes before the game began. The son of former major leaguer Andy Van Slyke got his first major league hit with a pinch-hit RBI single in his first major league at-bat in the sixth.
“My first at-bat I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I’d be,” he said. “As soon as I swung at the pitch it was just another baseball game.”
Pitcher Aaron Harang walked past Van Slyke after the game and stuffed a towel full of shaving cream in his face.
“That burns,” Van Slyke said as he tried to remove the goop from his eyes.
“Got him!” Kemp shouted as he emerged from the shower. “That burns, huh?”
Lincecum drove in the Giants’ first run with a single to shortstop in the second.
Billingsley lasted just four innings for the Dodgers, allowing two runs and seven hits while striking out five and walking four. He slammed his glove down in the dugout after being yanked.
“I was mad at myself and I wanted to stay in the game,” he said. “I sort of beat myself up. Everything felt good, but my fastball command was kind of off. I fell behind the hitters and I wasn’t being aggressive when I should have been.”
NOTES: The Giants lost their first rubber game of the season, while the Dodgers won their first. … Dodgers OF Alfredo Silverio, who was seriously hurt in an offseason car accident, had Tommy John surgery on his right throwing elbow and is out for the season. … Dodgers OF-1B Juan Rivera was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday with what the team called a significant strained left hamstring. Manager Don Mattingly said Rivera would be out longer than two weeks. … Dodgers INF Jerry Hairston had a MRI on his strained left hamstring after missing his third straight game. He said he would be evaluated either Thursday or Friday. … Giants OF Angel Pagan was held out of the starting lineup although he felt well enough to play. He had a cramp in his left hamstring while beating out an infield single Tuesday. Gregor Blanco replaced him.