Dodgers fall 1-0 to Arizona; Giants up lead to six games

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The Giants have all but wrapped up the NL West with 20 games left to play.

San Francisco held on to beat Colorado 9-8 on Tuesday, while the Dodgers fell 1-0 to the Diamondbacks, giving the Giants a six-game lead in the NL West.

The Giants won on another off night from Madison Bumgarner, who allowed five runs and 11 hits in 4 1/3 innings of work. The Giants used seven relievers to get through the remaining 4 2/3 innings, with Guillermo Mota providing the best showing. He struck out four of the five hitters he faced in the sixth and seventh innings.

Still, the official scorer made the call to give the win to George Kontos, who got two outs after replacing Bumgarner in the fifth. Kontos was then removed for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the inning.

The Giants’ offensive star was Brandon Belt, who had a solo homer and a two-run double as part of a four-RBI night. Bumgarner went 2-for-2 with a three-run homer of his own to make a big contribution in another outing in which he just didn’t have it. He’s allowed at least four earned runs in four straight starts now, and he may well have taken a fourth straight loss tonight if not for the homer.

The Dodgers’ loss was a much different affair, with two teams combining for just nine hits. The game’s lone run was unearned after Paul Goldschmidt reached on a Hanley Ramirez error to start the seventh. Miguel Montero doubled in him, tagging Clayton Kershaw with a very tough loss.

Ian Kennedy pitched 7 1/3 scoreless innings for Arizona. He’s 2-1 with a 0.91 ERA against the Dodgers this year and 11-10 with a 4.61 ERA versus everyone else.

Yoenis Cespedes blames a lack of golf for his early season slump

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Back during the 2015 playoffs the sorts of New York media types who love to find reasons to criticize players for petty reasons decided to criticize Yoenis Cespedes for playing golf the day of a playoff game. The Mets won the series with the Cubs during which the controversy, such as it was, occurred and it was soon dropped.

It was picked back up again in 2016 when Cespedes, while on the disabled list with a strained quad, was seen playing golf. Despite the fact that everyone involved said that golf did not contribute to his injury and that golf would have no impact on his injured quad, it was deemed “a bad look” by a columnist looking to get some mileage out of bashing Cespedes for having a hobby that probably half of all ballplayers share. They did it when he showed off his fancy cars too, by the way, even though just about every ballplayer has a fancy car or three. When you’re a superstar in New York — especially when you’re one with whom the media is not particularly close for various reasons — you’re going to catch hell for seemingly nothing.

Now there’s a new twist to the Cespedes golf saga. Yoenis himself says that his poor start — he’s hitting .195/.258/.354 and leads the league in strikeouts — is due to . . . not enough golf! From the New York Times:

He gave a possible reason for the poor start this weekend: not playing enough golf, a hobby beloved by many baseball players. And, yes, he is serious.

“In previous seasons, one of the things I did when I wasn’t going well was to play golf,” he said after a game on Friday in which he struck out four times but still drove in the go-ahead run in the 12th inning. “This year, I’m not playing golf.”

The story says Cespedes quit golf last summer because he worried that it was contributing to hamstring problems. He’s thinking about going back to it soon, as he thinks it’ll help his swing. Given that he’ll catch hell either way, he may as well do what he wants.