The San Francisco Giants have gone silent at the plate, but Madison Bumgarner's season has taken a turn for the better as he heads into a start against a team he's pretty well figured out for the last few seasons.
With that formula, another close game could be in order in Los Angeles on Friday night as the Giants and Dodgers play the second of a four-game set.
Prior to San Francisco's 3-1 win in 10 innings Thursday, the NL West rivals had played three straight one-run games with the Giants (22-13) taking two of three at home from April 15-17. The teams have combined for 15 runs in the last four meetings.
In their last three games, the Giants are batting .186, and the winning run Thursday didn't involve a hit as three walks preceded a sacrifice fly by Hector Sanchez.
Brandon Belt followed with an RBI single and is 6 for 13 in his last four games after a 2-for-29 stretch. Buster Posey walked three times and has a .511 on-base percentage with three home runs and seven RBIs in his last 11.
The Giants have won five of seven in the season series and six of seven at Dodger Stadium since Sept. 13, while the Dodgers (19-17) are trying to correct things at home, where they're 6-10 with losses in six of eight.
Before Thursday's game, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly held an extended team meeting that addressed just that.
"We have to get on track," Mattingly told the team's official website. "Obviously with the Giants across the field, this is a big series. We need to play better at home. ... It's a series for us to establish ourselves. They've won two of three both series we've played. They beat us up here. The series in San Francisco could have gone either way. But we need to establish that we can play with them. It's a little bit of a measurement."
They could be catching Bumgarner (3-3, 3.18 ERA) at the wrong time. He limited Atlanta to an unearned run on three hits while striking out nine in six innings and earned the win in Sunday's 4-1 final. The left-hander walked one after struggling with control and issuing eight free passes in his previous three starts. Still, he thinks it can be better.
"I still felt like I got behind a lot of times when I wanted to get ahead, but it's a big step forward," said Bumgarner, who hasn't allowed more than two earned runs in his last seven starts against the Dodgers.
The 24-year-old is 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA in two starts this season against Los Angeles. In eight career starts at Dodger Stadium, he's 6-2 with a 1.98 ERA.
Bumgarner has held much of the Los Angeles lineup at or below a .200 average in his career, including Adrian Gonzalez (4 for 26), Andre Ethier (3 for 24), Matt Kemp (4 for 24) and Hanley Ramirez (4 for 20).
San Francisco will face Paul Maholm. Maholm (1-2, 4.70) has limited opponents to three runs or less in three of his last four starts, including Saturday's 9-7 win in Miami in which he gave up three runs on nine hits in six innings without getting a decision.
In his last four starts against the Giants, including two this year, the left-hander is 0-3 with a 7.20 ERA.
Pablo Sandoval is 7 for 19 with two home runs off Maholm.
Adrian Gonzalez is 1 for 23 in his last six games, while Yasiel Puig is batting .400 in his last 11.
Juan Uribe left Thursday's game because of soreness in his right hamstring. His status for Friday is unknown.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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