Giants add to rivalry's lore by bumping Dodgers

Giants add to rivalry's lore by bumping Dodgers

Giants add to rivalry's lore by bumping Dodgers
LOS ANGELES -- Tuesday night's events here didn't measure up to Bobby Thomson's home run, or even Joe Morgan's. The postseason berth at stake was the newly created second Wild Card, not a National League pennant or a West title.

Still, the protagonists were the Giants and the Dodgers, which almost always means something. This time, San Francisco's 4-3 triumph meant that the Dodgers will begin their offseason after Wednesday's game.

The list of knockouts that the Giants and Dodgers administered to each other which denied one team a postseason berth (1951, 1962, 1982, 1991, 1993, 2001, 2004) grew as St. Louis clinched the second Wild Card with Los Angeles' defeat.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy focused not on history but on his team's efficient rehearsal for Saturday's NL Division Series opener. Buster Posey essentially clinched the NL batting title by going 2-for-4 with a second-inning home run. Marco Scutaro lengthened his hitting streak to 19 games and foiled Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly's strategy with a two-run, fifth-inning double. Barry Zito looked ready for the postseason, regardless of his role in it, while working one batter into the seventh inning.

"I'm not as much into knocking people out. It's about going out there and doing it right," Bochy said. He expressed appreciation for the mood at Dodger Stadium, which simulated postseason intensity. "It was a good game for them to play in," Bochy said.

It was good for Zito (15-8), who was charged with two runs and six hits. Bochy wouldn't say whether Zito will join the postseason rotation or become the lone unlucky starter to be assigned to the bullpen. The facts are in his favor. San Francisco won its 11th consecutive game started by Zito, who's personally 7-0 in that span.

"Whatever's going to happen is going to happen," he said. "Bruce makes the decisions around here and he's done a heck of a job to this point."

It was good for George Kontos, who recorded the biggest out of his Major League life. After Los Angeles narrowed the difference to 4-3 in the seventh inning on A.J. Ellis' two-run homer off Guillermo Mota, the rookie right-hander entered the game and earned consideration for a spot on the postseason roster by striking out Matt Kemp to end the inning with Shane Victorino on third base. Kemp, who went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, flung his bat in disgust.

"Sure, I think he helped himself," Bochy said, referring to Kontos' postseason roster bid. "He's a young pitcher. You don't know how he's going to react, and he [retired] one of the best hitters in the game."

"That was the most adrenaline I've ever had on a baseball field. It was definitely my biggest moment in professional baseball," said Kontos, who flung a 2-2 slider past Kemp. "It was a taste of what the playoffs are going to be like if I'm fortunate enough to be on that roster."

It was good for Posey, who opened the scoring against Dodgers starter Chris Capuano (12-12) with his 24th home run and lifted his average to .337. Even if Posey went 0-for-5 on Wednesday and his closest pursuer, Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen, went 5-for-5, he would finish with a .334-.333 lead and become the only Giant besides Barry Bonds to win the batting title since the franchise moved to San Francisco in 1958.

It was good for Scutaro, who stepped forward after the Giants inched ahead, 2-1, on Joaquin Arias' third-inning homer. With Arias on second base and two outs in the fifth, Mattingly set up a force play by ordering Angel Pagan intentionally walked. But that brought up Scutaro, who owns the Majors' longest active hitting streak. His second hit of the evening chased across Arias and Pagan.

This duplicated the events of Sept. 7 at AT&T Park, where Scutaro singled home two runs to break a 2-2 tie in the seventh inning after Mattingly had Pagan walked intentionally.

Sergio Romo stranded pinch-runner Dee Gordon on second base to notch his 14th save, which enabled the Giants to improve to 10-7 against Los Angeles and clinch the season series entering Wednesday's regular-season finale.

Chris Haft is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.