LOS ANGELES -- The Giants went away mad, or at least perplexed, from Dodger Stadium on Tuesday night.
That's a lot better than going away dejected or depressed, which is how they easily could have felt after absorbing their second straight one-run loss, a 2-1 victory for the Los Angeles Dodgers that increased the slope on San Francisco's uphill climb toward a postseason berth.
The Giants trail the first-place Dodgers by 5 1/2 games in the division standings. Should Los Angeles play barely above .500 in its remaining 31 games -- for example, 16-15 -- the Giants would have to maintain a torrid .700 pace (21-9) to force a tie by the end of the regular season.
"It's a larger gap than we wanted, that's for sure," Giants catcher Buster Posey said. "Having said that, there's a month left of baseball. Anything can happen."
The Giants were far from thrilled with their latest drama. Manager Bruce Bochy and right-hander Jake Peavy grew enraged enough with plate umpire Mike Winters' strike zone to prompt their ejection between halves of the seventh inning.
San Francisco appeared poised to threaten the Dodgers' 1-0 lead as Brandon Belt singled and Buster Posey walked to open the seventh. Then Marlon Byrd grounded out on a play so close that it seemed to spark more than the usual deliberation after the Giants requested a review. So instead of having the bases loaded with nobody out against Dodgers co-ace Zack Greinke, the Giants had to content themselves with a second-and-third, one-out threat.
Up came Alejandro De Aza, freshly acquired from Boston. He took a 2-2 changeup that looked wide of the strike zone to many observers, including the Giants. But Winters called it strike three, bringing Greinke closer to escaping the jam. The right-hander accomplished that by inducing Kelby Tomlinson's fly to right field.
"There was nothing De Aza could do with that pitch," Bochy said. "It was the worst call at the worst time."
"To me, it wasn't a strike," said De Aza, noting that he had a clear view of the pitch because he was crowding home plate. "I see that pitch away -- and it was away."
"I don't want to walk him," said Bumgarner (16-7), who ran the count on Pederson to 3-2. "I feel like I've got the advantage, lefty on lefty. I just went after him. I had to throw a strike right there. It just wasn't a quality strike, I guess."
The Giants lost for only the fourth time in Bumgarner's last 19 starts. Then again, they were facing Greinke (15-3), who's 7-0 with a 2.15 ERA in nine career starts against the Giants. The right-hander truly faltered only in his final inning, when pinch-hitter Gregor Blanco, Angel Pagan and Matt Duffy delivered consecutive one-out singles to generate the Giants' lone run.
"He's having a special year, there's no doubt about that," Bumgarner said of Greinke.