SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Zack Greinke, for one, has little concern about the Los Angeles Dodgers closing out another NL West crown soon.
Greinke and the division-leading Dodgers were denied a playoff-clinching party for at least another day, losing to the San Francisco Giants 3-2 on pinch-hitter Alejandro De Aza’s 12th-inning sacrifice fly Monday night.
“Everyone wants to get another win and we’re playing as good as we can,” Greinke said. “We’re playing really focused baseball and maybe that’s the key. I think it’s more just playing as good as we can and not focusing too much on that ... playing how we play and things will take care of themselves instead of assuming that it’s going to happen just because.”
Andre Ethier hit a tying groundout in the top of the ninth, then the rivals needed three more innings to decide this one. With the Dodgers employing a five-man infield, De Aza hit a fly to left against Adam Liberatore for a victory that prevented the defending World Series champions from being eliminated in the pennant race.
Los Angeles had plenty of chances but ultimately lost its fourth straight game after a weekend sweep at Colorado. The Dodgers are five ahead of the Giants with six to play.
Clayton Kershaw gets the next chance to clinch the division title for the Dodgers when he pitches against 2015 nemesis and reigning World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner on Tuesday night.
“I love to be in situations like tonight against a team you have to beat,” Giants starter Jake Peavy said. “It’s nothing more than Game 7.”
The Dodgers are 0-7 at AT&T Park this season, their longest skid in San Francisco since June 1961-62, when they lost a franchise-worst nine straight away games in the rivalry.
Yimi Garcia (3-5) allowed consecutive singles to start the 12th, putting runners at the corners.
Hunter Strickland (3-3) pitched 1 2/3 innings for the win.
Greinke, who had his last turn skipped as he nursed a tender right calf, had his five-start winning streak snapped dating to an Aug. 22 defeat at Houston. He felt good physically with the extra time between starts.
Trevor Brown hit a two-run double in the second against Greinke, then Corey Seager’s RBI single in the top of the third made it a one-run game before Ethier tied it in the ninth.
Greinke struck out seven and walked three in seven innings, allowing two runs and four hits. He had beaten San Francisco in each of his previous two starts this year and was 7-0 with a 2.15 ERA in his initial nine starts in the rivalry.
Josh Osich gave up consecutive singles to start the ninth before closer Santiago Casilla entered and allowed Justin Turner’s sacrifice ahead of Ethier’s tying groundout.
Peavy yielded three hits in seven innings and hasn’t lost in seven outings since a defeat at Pittsburgh on Aug. 20.
Before Seager’s single, the Dodgers went 36 innings without a run at AT&T Park dating to the one they scored in the third inning of a 3-2, 10-inning loss April 23 in the Giants’ waterfront ballpark. San Francisco shut out Los Angeles in sweeping a home series May 19-21.
First baseman Adrian Gonzalez returned for Los Angeles after he sat out the previous two games because of a pinched nerve in his back. He ended an 0-for-15 funk with a ninth-inning single.
HARDWARE ON DISPLAY
San Francisco’s three World Series trophies were displayed on the field before the game alongside the Golden State Warriors’ NBA title trophy. “That’s impressive,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said on the big screen in congratulating the Giants.
Dodgers: 2B Howie Kendrick is dealing with some tightness in his hamstring, and manager Don Mattingly opted to start Chase Utley, with Seager playing SS in place of Jimmy Rollins until a late switch. ... The Dodgers reinstated INF-OF Kike Hernandez from the 15-day disabled list after he was sidelined with a strained left hamstring since Aug. 30. ... Mattingly still doesn’t want to guess when OF Yasiel Puig might return from a strained right hamstring that has kept him out since Aug. 28. Puig is running at about 80 percent, taking batting practice and doing outfield work. ... RHP Brandon McCarthy (Tommy John elbow surgery) has begun playing catch.
Giants: RHP Tim Lincecum visited the Giants as he rehabs from left hip surgery this month. He’s still on crutches but beginning to do some walking. He was cheered when shown in the dugout during the game.
Bumgarner and Kershaw will match up for the fourth time this season when Bumgarner (18-8) looks to become San Francisco’s first 19-game winner in 18 years. Shawn Estes went 19-5 for the Giants in 1997. Bumgarner is 2-0 with a 1.31 ERA in his 2015 outings against Kershaw (15-7), who is 0-2 with a 3.54 ERA in those starts.