By Nick Zeller-Singh
Special to the S.F. Examiner
The San Francisco Giants looked for their first Spring Training victory on Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Although the Dodgers started pitcher Walker Buehler, the Giants craved an early lead. Third baseman Jason Vosler started the offense when he lined a ball down the third baseline for a double. However, Dodgers’ centerfielder James Outman caught Wilmer Flores’ line-drive shot while sliding on the grass to end the first inning.
After that, the Giants’ pitching rotation took over. Pitcher Matt Wisler utilized his hard-cutting slider in the second inning while Tyler Rogers submarined his way through the third. Although both pitchers outlasted the Dodgers bats, Rogers handed right fielder Mookie Betts a double.
Rolling into the fourth, the Giants responded. With one out, Dodgers pitcher Dustin May threw a low fastball at the knees of Vosler. Vosler answered the pitch with a rocket to the left-center gap, earning a standup double. After hitting two doubles, Vosler recognized his comfortability with velocity.
“I have always been comfortable against velocity,” Vosler said, “Obviously two great pitchers out there. I try not to really think about who’s out there, I’m just trying to execute my plan and I got fastballs to hit and hit them well.”
Five pitches later, Wilmer Flores casually walked down to first base, giving the Giants a chance to take the lead. However, center fielder Mauricio Dubon grounded out to end the inning.
Heading into the sixth inning, the Giants’ bats became effective. Right fielder Lamont Wade Jr. hit a low line drive to left fielder Andy Pages. Instead of picking up the ball, Pages lets it slip between his legs, moving Wade to second base. Next, left fielder Jason Krizan rifled a ball to right field, placing the runners on first and third.
After a handful of pitches, first baseman Logan Wyatt blooped the ball into center field. Although Outman made the diving catch, Wade Jr. tagged up to give the Giants a 1-0 lead.
The Dodgers were stranded with three outs to score a run. Chances rose early as third baseman Michael Busch hit into center field for a double. After Giants’ pitcher Dominic Leone walked Stevie Berman, he gave up an RBI single to Outman, tying the game with one out. Even though the Dodgers loaded up the bases shortly after, they failed to capitalize, leaving the score at 1-1.
The Giants eyed their first Spring Training victory with three outs remaining. First, Luis Basabe stepped to the plate but struck out. After that, Arismendy Alcantara tried to become the hero. Instead, Alcantara struck out on pitcher James Pazos’ backdoor slider.
The game came down to the top prospect Marco Luciano. Luciano’s first two at-bats ended in strikeouts. However, the power-hitting Dominican looked to capture his first MLB hit. He fouled off the first two pitches, dropping him into an 0-2 count. Pazos’ third pitch traveled high into Luciano’s sweet spot. He swung vigorously but whiffed, striking out in three pitches.
Although he struggled against the Dodgers, head coach Gabe Kepler was pleased with his performance.
“He played really good shortstop,” Kepler said about Luciano’s defense. “I really liked the last at-bat. He did a nice job of attacking and not being thrown off from his earlier at-bats.”
The Giants failed to pick up the game-winning run, ending with a 1-1 score in seven innings. They will bounce back on Thursday against the Chicago White Sox at 12:05 pm PST.