San Francisco Giants Shut Los Angeles Dodgers Down: One Game Back in NL West

Bleacher ReportContributor ISeptember 5, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 05:  Jonathan Sanchez #57 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the seventh inning at Dodger Stadium on September 5, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. The Giants defeated the Dodgers 3-0.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The Giants won the rubber game in the Dodgers series behind another brilliant performance by Jonathan Sanchez. He went seven scoreless innings, striking out nine, walking just one, and yielding only three hits.

Pablo Sandoval hit a sacrifice fly in the second inning, and that would be all the Giants needed as the Dodgers were shut out for a league-leading 15th time this season. Juan Uribe did, though, add a two-run home run in the seventh inning in his first at-bat of the game (he had been intentionally walked in his previous two games), as the Giants won 3-0. 

The Padres, meanwhile, lost their 10th game in a row. Here's some notes on their freefall from first place: 

Only two other teams in history have dropped 10 straight games and made the playoffs.

The Padres' slide ties the 1932 Pirates for the longest losing streak by a first-place team.

This losing streak is tied for the Padres' third longest in franchise history.

During the streak, the Padres have been outscored 55-23.   

The Giants are now a measly one game out of first place in the NL West. To put that in perspective, on August 25, a week and a half ago, the Giants were six and a half games back. They are back in the thick of the race in this division. 

Jonathan Sanchez did something he rarely does: pitch well in two consecutive starts. His two consecutive quality starts (8.0 IP, 1 ER last start) mark the first time he's done so since April 14 and April 20, earlier this season. He also reached 10 wins on Sunday, the first time he's done so in his career.

Tomorrow: The Giants face the Arizona Diamondbacks, who have won seven of their last 10, despite losing their last two games. Ian Kennedy will face Madison Bumgarner. Kennedy is coming off a 12-strikeout performance, and has a decent 3.05 ERA in three starts against the Giants this year.

Buster Posey has five hits in six at bats (.833) against Kennedy, two of which were doubles. Bumgarner is coming off of a good start, too, in which he went six innings and allowed just one earned run. In his one start against the Diamondbacks this year, he went seven innings and gave up two earned runs.