Kenley Jansen blows second save opportunity in as many nights as Giants take three of four from Dodgers


Hours before Thursday night’s series finale against the first-place San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was moved to defend his closer Kenley Jansen from the boos he heard on Wednesday night. Unfortunately for Roberts, Jansen, and the Dodgers, Thursday’s ninth inning was no kinder. 

Jansen took the ball with a 3-1 lead in the ninth and the opportunity to secure a split of the key four-game series at Dodger Stadium. Here’s how his frame went: 

  • Strikeout
  • Single
  • Strikeout
  • Double
  • Walk
  • Infield single (out call overturned on review), run scores
  • Walk (Roberts ejected arguing checked swing call that would’ve been strike three), run scores
  • Single, two runs score
  • Pitching change

As you may have surmised, the above sequence entailed some level of controversy. First, there was the review of the Thairo Estrada grounder that turned a fielder’s choice out into an RBI single: 

And then there was what would’ve been strike three swinging on the 3-2 pitch to Darin Ruf. However, first base ump Ed Hickox ruled that Ruf checked his swing: 

Instead, Ruf drew a bases-loaded walk that tied the game and ensured that Jansen blew the save and heard boos for a second straight night. On the other hand, Giants fans will be sure to note that called strike one against Ruf appeared to be outside the zone. Soon thereafter, LaMonte Wade Jr. dropped the hammer: 

Jake McGee pitched a scoreless bottom of the ninth for his 20th save. As for Jansen, he entered this series with an ERA of 1.45 on the season, and now that figure stands at 3.05. 

After that first strikeout in the ninth, Jansen and the Dodgers had a 96.8 percent chance of winning the game. The Giants, as you witnessed above, then got busy defying the odds and wound up prevailing by a score of 5-3. Wasted was a gem of a start by Walker Buehler, who allowed one run on five hits in 7 1/3 innings while striking out nine and walking one. 

For San Fran, Wade had two hits and two RBI, and three relievers combined for three scoreless. By taking three of four in L.A., the Giants now lead the NL West by three games over the Dodgers. That means the Dodgers are now closer in the standings to the third-place Padres than they are the Giants. The Giants are also now on pace for 103 wins, which would tie their highest total since moving to San Francisco from New York. 

Best of all? These same two teams start another series on Tuesday. 


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