Nick Hundley

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Dodgers finally snap 11-game losing streak

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The Dodgers losing streak ended at 11 last night as Clayton Kershaw played the stopper in a 5-3 win over the Giants.

It wasn’t necessarily easy. Kershaw, while picking up his 17th win of the year, was not dominant, surrendering a homer to Kelby Tomlinson in the third inning before Chase Utley tied it up with a homer of his own in the fourth. L.A. scored three more in that frame thanks to a Corey Seager sac fly and a two-run double from Yasiel Puig. Kershaw would work out of a major jam in the sixth inning — the Giants loaded the bases with no one out but came away with only one run — and left the mound with fist pumps and yells and stuff.

Reliever Ross Stripling allowed one more run to make it 4-3 in the seventh but Justin Turner doubled home a run to make it 5-3 in the eight. Things got shaky again for the Dodgers in the ninth as Kenley Jansen gave up three singles to load the bases with one out before bearing down to strike out Buster Posey and Nick Hundley to secure the win.

It was only one game but it was a big relief for the reeling Dodgers who, in addition to stopping the streak, clinched at least the second Wild Card in the National League, ensuring their fifth straight playoff appearance. They also notched their 93rd win. They have 17 games left and, on balance, they come against losing teams. If they end the season with 100 wins and some semblance of momentum heading into the playoffs, this skid will be a mere footnote.

Watch: Pablo Sandoval snaps 0-for-39 streak with a home run

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It’s only been two months and change since the Giants signed Pablo Sandoval to a minor league contract, and already they’ve seen the best and worst he has to offer. Sandoval replaced a concussed Brandon Belt in August and promptly slashed .288/.329/.394 through his first 18 games with the club. By the end of the month, his surge at the plate fizzled into an 0-for-39 streak, during which he managed just four walks and a single run scored over 11 consecutive games.

On Friday, the Giants caught a glimpse of the old Sandoval again. He ripped into a 1-2 changeup from the White Sox’ Lucas Giolito, sending it a projected 413 feet into the right field bleachers for a three-run homer in the fourth:

One four-RBI performance does not a comeback make, however, and Sandoval still has a long way to go if he wants to prove he can return to the .300+ average, 20+ homer production he maintained during his peak years with the Giants in 2009-2011. The answer, according to club manager Bruce Bochy, might have something to do with the two off days he gave the third baseman on Wednesday and Thursday.

I’ll take the blame a little bit,” Bochy told reporters following Friday’s win. “I probably should have rested him a little bit more. We went through a tough part of the schedule, the doubleheader, playing in Florida and getting in late — he’s the one guy that didn’t get a break or miss an inning. It might have caught up with him.

The home run not only snapped Sandoval’s skid, but kickstarted an impressive rally from the 56-87 Giants, who added another six runs to their eventual 9-2 win. Buster Posey stole home in the sixth, followed by a sac fly from Sandoval and a seventh-inning RBI double by Brandon Crawford. Denard Span went deep in the ninth with his 11th homer of the year, while Nick Hundley sprinkled a pair of runs to cap the win with a two-run single off of Juan Minaya. With the win, the Giants are 2-8 in their last 10 games and sit a cool 21 games out of playoff contention.

And That Happened Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Reds 7, Brewers 1: Luis Castillo allowed one run over eight innings and struck out ten. Yesterday Bill explained why we should all be keeping an eye on that guy going forward.

Twins 10, Rays 6: Minnesota ended a three-game skid and took back possession of second Wild Card position from the Angels. Eduardo Escobar had three hits and three RBI and Brian Dozier and Ehire Adrianza both homered

Rangers 12, Braves 8; Braves 5, Rangers 4: The first game of the doubleheader had an announced attendance of over 19,000 based on who bought tickets for the cancelled night before, but there were fewer than 1,000 people in attendance. It just looked and sounded weird, man. I’m used to seeing that at Turner Field on occasion, but in the new ballpark it’s kinda strange. Anyway, Elvis Andrus drove in three runs with four hits, including a homer, which was his 20th on the year. I’d say he did it “against his old mates” but it was about 5,000 years ago that the Braves traded him away. The Braves split the twin bill, somehow surviving five walks from starter Julio Teheran in the second game, Here’s Teheran afterward:

“I know five walks is a lot but I didn’t want to throw the ball over the plate where they could hit it.”

Hmm.

Athletics 3, Angels 1Sean Manaea pitched shutout ball into the seventh inning, Khris Davis homered and the A’s stopped an eight-game losing streak.  A’s third baseman Matt Chapman was ejected after an exchange between him and Angels catcher Juan Graterol in the bottom of the fourth inning triggered by Graterol claiming that Davis was stealing signs from second base. No word on whether he was using an Apple Newton or a Palm Treo or anything to do it. I mean, it’s the A’s. Their budget is going to be lower than the Red Sox’ for such things.

Cubs 1, Pirates 0: Gerrit Cole and Jose Quintana exchanged zeroes — Cole did it for eight innings, Quintana for six, his friends in the pen for three more — but Alex Avila tripled in a run in the top of the ninth to push the Cubs over. It wasn’t some rocket shot to the corner or anything either. The Pirates were shifting on Avila, he broke his bat and blooped one opposite the shift and Leonys Martin scored easily from second base. Tough luck for Cole after allowing only two hits in his start.

Red Sox 6, Blue Jays 1: Doug Fister gave up one run over seven innings and Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a two-run homer and drove in three. It’s crazy that on a team with Chris Sale, David Price and Rick Porcello that Fister has been their most reliable pitcher of late.

Royals 13, Tigers 2: On Tuesday night the Tigers beat the Royals 13-2. Last night Kansas City returned the favor. This game was tied heading into the seventh, by the way, before the Royals scored four in that inning and seven runs in the eighth. That’s bad even for the Tigers bullpen. Sal Perez hit two homers. Brad Ausmus wasn’t literally reading want ads in the dugout last night, but I bet he was doing so mentally speaking.

Mets 6, Phillies 3: Robert Gsellman pitched pretty well until the sixth inning, when he gave up three runs, but thankfully for him and the Mets the game ended after six innings due to rain. Travis d'Arnaud homered. Brandon Nimmo drove in two via two sacrifice flies. I like to call that “pulling a Black Sabbath,” which is to be super great without any hits. OK, I lied, I don’t like to call it that. I just made it up on the spot.

Nationals 8, Marlins 1: Gio Gonzalez tossed five shutout innings and seven different Nats hitters drove in a run.  Ryan Zimmerman and Michael A. Taylor each hit homers. It was the Nats’ eight straight victory over Miami.

Indians 5, White Sox 1: Cleveland keeps on rolling, taking its 14th game in a row to tie a franchise record. Here Carlos Carrasco starred, allowing one run on three hits in a complete game and needing only 97 pitches to do it. The lone run came on a homer with two outs in the ninth. Carlos Santana hit a two-run home run and had three hits in all.

Giants 11, Rockies 3: San Francisco snaps its 10-game losing streak at Coors Field, thanks to Joe Panik‘s five hits. He drove in two, and went 12-for-15 in the series. Nick Hundley and Austin Slater knocked in two runs each as well while Gorkys Hernandez did them one better and knocked in three.

Astros 5, Mariners 3: It was tied 3-3 in the top of the ninth when Cameron Maybin walked up and hit a two-run homer. That gave Houston a sweep and their seventh straight win overall. After the late August skid Houston found themselves on, this little run has to give hope to the Dodgers who . . .

Diamondbacks 3, Dodgers 1: . . . lost once again to the red-hot Diamondbacks, who took their 13th straight. Their streak of innings without trailing ended, but it’s all good, as pinch-hitter Adam Rosales doubled in the go-ahead run in the seventh inning and Taijuan Walker and three relievers held Los Angeles to one run. The Dodgers have lost six in a row and 11 of 12.

Cardinals 3, Padres 1: Jack Flaherty threw five innings of one-run ball and Stephen Piscotty hit a two-run homer in the seventh to give St. Louis their first runs — and only necessary runs — of the game. St. Louis has won four straight and six of seven.

Yankees vs. Orioles — POSTPONED:

Can someone send a runner
Through the weather that I’m under
For the feeling I lost today?
Can someone send a runner
For the feeling I lost today?
You must be somewhere in London
You must be lovin’ your life in the rain
You must be somewhere in London
Walking Abbey Lane