LOS ANGELES — Bruce Bochy slammed a three-ringed binder on his desk. “Bullshit,” he said, after his San Francisco Giants lost 9-8 to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Having already plated four runs in the ninth inning and climbing out of a 6-0 hole against their first-place rivals, the Giants had Joe Panik on first and Stephen Vogt at second with one out. A Tyler Austin bunt ordered by Bochy was placed perfectly in the dirt in front of home plate up the first base line. Cody Bellinger crashed from first and fired to third. Vogt was called out. The Giants asked for a review.
Bochy went on an off-mic tirade. Buster Posey asked for accountability. On a night where San Francisco erased Madison Bumgarner’s worst start in Los Angeles — and likely his last as a Giant — with a late-inning comeback, what could have been a game-winning rally was quashed by a clutch of replay officials in New York.
“I would like to know what they were looking at in New York,” said Bochy, visibly angry in his postgame press gaggle. “Because I saw it and I don’t get it. I don’t get it and I wish they would show me what they saw.”
In the ninth inning, Josh Sborz, making his big league debut as part of a cavalcade of Dodgers relievers behind Julio Urias’ three-inning start, gave up a leadoff walk to Evan Longoria and a single to Kevin Pillar. A fly ball double to right center by Brandon Crawford brought Longoria home, and center fielder Alex Verdugo deflected the ball away from Bellinger (who initially entered as a defensive replacement in right), bringing in Pillar to make it 9-6.
Closer Kenley Jansen came in and gave up an RBI single to Mike Yastrzemski, then a walk to pinch hitter Vogt a one-out RBI single to Panik, before Tyler Austin — hitting .091 over his previous five games — was ordered to bunt. He placed it as well as one could, but Bellinger — who had moved, mid-inning, to first — sniffed it out.
“It’s where I wanted it,” Austin said.
Vogt looked to beat the throw to Justin Turner at third by a hair, even on the two video boards, but third-base umpire Carlos Torres ruled him out. Seemingly wthout enough evidence to overturn the call, it stood as called.
“I beat the throw,” Vogt said. “I went straight to the bag.”
Bochy said the replays both on the scoreboard and the one he saw after the game showed Vogt was safe.
“It can’t be missed on replay,” he said. “That one looked like it was missed. You can’t have a bigger call go against you.”
Had the call been overturned, the Giants would have had a bases-loaded, no-out situation. Instead, Jansen went on to retire Posey on a line out to center (which could have been a game-tying sacrifice fly), and Brandon Belt on a slicing fly to right for his 22nd save of the season.
“There’s no accountability for those guys,” Posey said of the replay officials. “Anything that’s close, they can just say that it’s inconclusive. That seems to be the trend … Maybe we need some more cameras out there or something that we can have conclusive answers, because it kind of defeats the purpose of the system to me if it’s just inconclusive.”
Bumgarner — who gave up the most earned runs (six) and most hits (10) he’s ever surrendered in his 21 games at Dodger Stadium (out of his 35 starts against the Dodgers) — the loss stung even more. After posting a 2.34 ERA in the building — his best in any stadium where he’s made at least 10 starts — he had staked Los Angeles to a 6-0 lead, being chased by a pair of two-run homers in the fourth while being serenaded by the sounds of a nautical-themed game soundtrack as the stadium crew dug into his June 9 “go get it out of the ocean” incident with Max Muncy (who coincidentally knocked in Thursday’s first run).
Before those two circuit shots — accompanied by DNCE’s “Cake by the Ocean” — Bungarmer had allowed three straight singles, a stark contrast to the one run he allowed in six innings last time out against Los Angeles. Bumgarner had no explanation, especially after he’d limited the Dodgers to just two hits and a walk over the first three innings, needing just 39 pitches. Bumgarner didn’t have any explanation for what changed.
“It’s extremely frustrating, especially given the way our guys played tonight,” Bumgarner said. “As bad as it was, we should have won that game.”
Once Bumgarner exited, the Giants did their best to get him off the hook, getting on the board with a Crawford RBI double in the fifth and inching closer with a Crawford sac fly and a two-run Yastrzemski homer in the seventh, but the Dodgers responded with an RBI single in the sixth by Kyle Garlick and a two-run Joc Pederson pinch-hit homer in the bottom of the seventh. That set the stage for the fateful ninth.
“They battled their hearts out there, and got a bad break on a call,” Bochy said. “That’s a tough one. No getting around it. Your guy struggles, the offense picked it up there. Just got a bad break there at the end … That’s a brutal call, unless they show me different.”
Widely regarded as the rebuilding Giants’ most valuable asset come trade deadline time, Bumgarner has almost certainly made his last start at Dodger Stadium in orange and black. Long a foil for the Dodgers, he came to symbolize the championship-era rivalry for his spats with Yasiel Puig.
The Muncy homer and the attendant shenanigans on Thursday (Muncy wore a “Go get it out of the ocean” shirt for batting practice, the Dodger Stadium organist played “Under the Sea” from The Little Mermaid and Otis Redding’s “Sitting on The Dock of the Bay” in the first inning, and a splash sound effect was played when Muncy first climbed in) only deepened that animus. But, given San Francisco’s organizational situation, Bumgarner’s record against first-place teams this season — a 1.80 ERA in four starts coming into Friday, with at least six innings and fewer than three earned runs per outing — could entice a prospect-rich team to overlook his career-worst 4.28 ERA.
Since San Francisco doesn’t visit Los Angeles again this season — or face the Dodgers until September, well after the trade deadline — Bumgarner knew that this very well could be the last of his starts in the heat of this rivalry.
“I know it could be, but not that it had anything to do with the results,” Bumgarner said. “Mentally, I was in the same place that I always am. It’s not the first bad game I’ve had against these guys or anybody else, but it never gets any easier to swallow.”