The boys from San Francisco have been flashing leather all over the country lately, and the infield in particular really delivered last night. Brandon Crawford may never win the popularity contest called the Gold Glove, but we know he can pick it as well or better than anyone in the game. He couldn't handle a smash from Yasiel Puig that was ruled a hit, but otherwise he smothered the Dodgers chances with three beautiful plays to back up a surging Ryan Vogelsong. Defensive positioning (and some slick work by Brandon Hicks) robbed Adrian Gonzalez of at least two hits, probably three, and certainly kept the Dodgers off the board. I've said before that I think the Giants have an edge on defense, and much of the credit has to go to the advance scouts and Ron Wotus, and to the pitchers for sticking to the game plan and inducing hitters to hit into the shifts. Pablo Sandoval is still struggling with the bat, but he's been impressive at the hot corner, knocking down hard hit balls and gunning out runners with regularity. Brandon Belt got a the only hit with a runner in scoring position all evening for the Giants, and this after two more swinging strikeouts earlier in the game. Yeah, he's streaky, you never know what you'll get from one PA to the next! His long reach and sure hands certainly help with the shutdown defense.
It takes a village, man. The Dodgers are absolutely loaded with talent--their lineup is scary, and the parade of relievers they can bring out there slinging 95 is ridiculous. And I haven't touched on the fact that they probably have the two best starters in the game in Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke. But here in the early part of the season the Giants are 5-2 against their rivals and have held them to a mere 18 runs or 2.57 per game. That works against any club.
Madison Bumgarner gets the ball tonight against lefty Paul Maholm. Matt Cain is listed for Saturday--he matches up with Greinke. Tim Hudson and Kershaw on Sunday. The Dodgers have their two big weapons to close out the series, and then there are only three more games left on the schedule in LA (September 22-24). The other six are in SF (July 25-27 and September 12-14.)