A-Gon's walk-off single topples Giants in 10th
Dodgers magic number down to five following extra-inning victory
By Austin Laymance /9/13/2013 4:10 AM ET
LOS ANGELES -- Adrian Gonzalez has come through for the Dodgers all season long, and he delivered another clutch hit Thursday night with a walk-off single in the 10th inning to cap a 3-2 win over the Giants at a sold out Dodger Stadium.
Gonzalez's single up the middle scored Carl Crawford to give the Dodgers their eighth walk-off of the season and second in three games. Los Angeles reduced its magic number to win the National League West to five in the process, and could clinch its first postseason appearance in four years on Sunday.
"It's an awesome feeling," Gonzalez said. "Through the at-bat I was looking for something to take up the middle. I took it like any at-bat with runners in scoring position. Create a good game plan and stay with it and not try to get bigger."
A steady presence in the heart of the lineup all year, Gonzalez leads the Dodgers with 90 RBIs. The first baseman kept the club afloat while Hanley Ramirez nursed injuries in the opening months of the season and before Yasiel Puig burst onto the scene in June.
"I've talked about him so much, his consistency," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. "In a sense, we had a crazy start with a lot of guys hurt. Then Yasiel and Hanley came in with that excitement. But from the beginning, Adrian was steady. He's been the guy driving in the runs through all of that. I look at him in a sense as the glue that kept us going and hanging around. It could have been a lot worse. He steadied the ship from an offensive standpoint."
Gonzalez's second walk-off hit of the season made a winner of Brian Wilson, who tossed a scoreless 10th in his first appearance against his former club.
Puig broke a 1-1 tie with a two-out double to score Dee Gordon in the seventh. Gordon pinch-ran for A.J. Ellis and stole second, advanced to third on a sacrifice by Mark Ellis and scored on Puig's first-pitch laser into the gap in left-center.
"It wasn't that bad of a pitch," said Giants catcher Buster Posey. "He made a good swing at it."
But Kenley Jansen couldn't preserve the slim lead in the ninth and blew his first save since June 29. Pablo Sandoval greeted Jansen with a leadoff single. Pinch-runner Juan Perez stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a single to center by Gregor Blanco. Jansen had converted his last 18 save opportunities.
Before that, the Dodgers bullpen squashed a Giants rally in the eighth as Ronald Belisario entered with the bases loaded and one out, getting Hunter Pence to bounce into a double play. Juan Uribe fielded the ball at third and tagged the bag before firing a strike across the diamond to nail Pence, who is 1-for-10 lifetime against Belisario.
Zack Greinke battled through six innings and kept the Dodgers in the game, but settled for a no-decision in his first start against the Giants this season. The right-hander allowed a solo homer to Pence in the second for the only damage against him. Greinke needed 78 pitches to navigate four innings and exited with his pitch count at 107.
"It was a weird game," said Greinke, who allowed four hits with five strikeouts against two walks. "They weren't getting on base much, but I made a lot of pitches. It was weird. Lately I haven't made a lot of mistakes, that's the key. I've been getting out of jams, no big innings. Just small stuff."
Greinke has given the Dodgers nine consecutive quality outings, and is unbeaten in his last nine starts.
Ramirez was removed after six innings as a precaution because of mild left hamstring tightness. The shortstop was 1-for-3 before he was replaced in the field by Nick Punto to start the seventh.
Ramirez missed 28 games earlier in the season when he strained the same hamstring. He did not answer questions after the game.
"He gets tight during the games and he always says he's fine," Mattingly said. "We couldn't take the risk right there with him. He wanted to stay in the game. But we got to the point where I just couldn't take that chance."
J.P. Howell relieved Greinke to open the seventh after a bit of controversy. Howell was announced, but Paco Rodriguez emerged from the bullpen and started to warm up. Home plate umpire Gerry Davis met with manager Don Mattingly and Rodriguez was sent back to the 'pen. Howell tossed a scoreless inning, which ended with a strike 'em-out, throw 'em-out double play.
L.A. has come from behind to win 34 games this season, including 27 victories when the opponent scores first. The Dodgers are 10-5 in extra innings year.