Chimney Sweep

On moist, windy day at Oracle Park, Giants wrap equally dreary season sequence with fifteenth loss to Dodgers

SAN FRANCISCO — The rain came, the Giants rallied, but nothing could delay the inevitable.

A collection of empty seats, rain coats and umbrellas braved the brisk and blustery conditions at Oracle Park on Sunday to watch the Giants set a regrettable franchise record, losing to the Dodgers, 4-3 in 10 innings, for the 15th time this season.

After winning 10 of their 19 meetings in 2021 and outlasting Los Angeles by one game to claim the NL West, the Giants finished this season with a worse record against their rivals than any of their 63 previous seasons in San Francisco.

In the 139-year history of the Giants, dating back to the club’s inception in New York, they have finished only one other season — 1899, when they went 2-10 — with a worse winning percentage against the Dodgers than their 4-15 (.211) record this year. Their 15 losses to LA also set a San Francisco-era record, and the 32.5 games separating the two clubs would represent the Giants’ third-furthest finish from first place since moving here in 1958.

With the exception of San Francisco’s three-game sweep here in June, there has been no debate about the better ballclub. The Dodgers won 15 of their other 16 meetings, including 13 of their final 14 to close the season. The final tally on the scoreboard: Dodgers 99, Giants 55.

Limited to five runs on 13 hits over the course of the three-game series, the Giants at least showed life in the eighth, tying the game on a ground-rule double by JD Davis but left the bases loaded for the second time of the night. Davis’ ball bouncing over the wall prevented Thairo Estrada from scoring the go-ahead run from first base, the same fate that happened on Wilmer Flores’ ground-rule double in the fourth, when the Giants also left ’em loaded.

The wind was blowing in so strongly from right-center field that a would-be game-winning home run off the bat of Joc Pederson with two on in the 10th was turned in to a 396-foot flyout, blown in by 21 feet, according to Weather Applied, which tracks the impact of wind conditions at ballparks.

When the wind was blowing more and the rain coming down harder as the game started, Los Angeles leadoff man Trea Trea Turner’s fly ball on the first pitch of the game was blown in 58 feet.

Neither the miserable conditions nor the 20-minute delay caused by them fazed Giants starter Alex Cobb, who has a 1.57 ERA over his past five starts and kept up his strong stretch of pitching Sunday. Cobb limited the dangerous Dodgers lineup to two runs — a leadoff walk and a leadoff double that came around to score — over 5⅓ innings.

San Francisco’s bullpen blanked the Dodgers for the rest of regulation, but Mookie Betts doubled home the automatic runner in the top of the 10th and Thomas Szapucki forced home an insurance run with a bases-loaded walk. The two-run cushion proved too much in the bottom half for the Giants, who got an RBI single from Flores, a couple walks and a couple close-call fly balls but nothing else.

Some three hours earlier, at about 5:10 pm, Justin Turner doubled home Freddie Freeman for the Dodgers’ first run. At 5:40, Cobb retired the final out of the fourth inning. It wasn’t particularly strenuous, as you might expect from a 30-minute inning, but rather interrupted by one of the intermittent downpours over Oracle Park on Sunday.

The delay came with two outs in the top of the fourth and lasted 20 minutes.

Rookie outfielder Heliot Ramos, manning right field in his second game since being called up from Triple-A, had maybe the most intimate interactions with the conditions Sunday afternoon.

Turner hit a fly ball to right field on the first pitch of the game that appeared to be on a trajectory for McCovey Cove, or at least Levi’s Landing. But it ran into a wall of wind that knocked it down, turning it into a single one that fell in front of Ramos, who had taken his first few steps toward the wall.

Turner’s single ultimately traveled 327 feet, according to Statcast. But it was blown in by 58 feet, more than any other fly ball in the history of Oracle Park, according to Weather Applied, which tracks the impact of wind conditions at ballparks.

Recording the second out of the fourth — the final play before the game went into delay — Ramos tracked down another fly ball from Trayce Thompson but lost his footing on the wet grass while trying to throw back to the infield.

The slick ground, however, didn’t prevent Ramos from robbing Turner of extra bases and an RBI to end the third inning.

For a change, Cobb benefitted from the defense behind him. At one point this season, the difference between his actual ERA and his expected ERA was the largest in the majors, and the figures are still separated by almost half a run.

With Betts getting a running start at first base, after Cobb issued a two-out walk, Ramos sprinted from his spot in shallow right field and made a leaping grab to chase down a line drive from Turner that appeared destined for Triples Alley.

It didn’t take long for Turner to get his revenge, though, doubling to lead off the sixth and coming home to score the Dodgers’ second run on a single by Freeman.

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