SAN FRANCISCO -- A 162-game baseball season is filled with peaks and valleys. What the Giants went through on their six-game homestand felt like a freefall from a cliff. The Giants' stagnant offense made Dodgers starter Vicente Padilla look like a Cy Young Award candidate, as the Dodgers beat the Giants, 8-2, at AT&T Park to complete a three-game sweep.
"There's no sugar coating it -- we didn't play well the whole homestand, but today we just got our tails kicked," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. It was the fifth straight loss for the Giants (40-37) and ninth in their past 11. It also was the first time they have been swept by Los Angeles at home since July 2007. After going 1-5 on the homestand, the Giants now head to Colorado for a four-game series sitting in fourth place, 5 1/2 games behind San Diego. "We obviously didn't do the things we're capable of doing and we had a rough homestand," said Aaron Rowand, who went 3-for-4 with a home run. "You've got to turn the page. You can't carry the baggage of a homestand or a game to the next day, otherwise it affects your performances." When asked if he thought the losing streak had carried over to Wednesday, Rowand said he didn't notice any different energy or effort. Still, from the get-go, it seemed as though the Giants never really had a chance. Sure, neither team scored until the third inning. But minutes after Rowand led off the bottom of the first with a single, Aubrey Huff grounded into yet another double play to end the inning. Los Angeles scored the game's first runs in the third when a line-drive single by Matt Kemp got past Giants left fielder Pat Burrell, allowing Jamey Carroll and Rafael Furcal to score. It wasn't a baserunning gaffe or a rally-killing double play, but once again -- with two outs at the time -- it was another easily avoidable mistake. "You've got to recover from these things, just like [Pablo Sandoval's] baserunning," Bochy said. "It's going to happen and hopefully we pick each other up." The Giants didn't. In the fifth inning, the Dodgers scored three runs off Giants starter Jonathan Sanchez (6-6, 3.26 ERA) on a two-run homer by Furcal and a solo shot by Kemp, before tacking on another three in the seventh inning against the bullpen. That was plenty for Padilla (2-2, 5.05), who held the Giants to one run on three hits. The Giants averaged 1.3 runs per game in the six-game homestand. "Embarrassing," Huff said in an attempt to describe the Giants offense. "As an offense we just haven't gotten anything together this whole series, pretty much this whole homestand. The pitchers have gotten hit, but you can't blame them -- they probably feel like they have to throw a shutout." One of the more exciting things to happen Wednesday came in the seventh inning. With one runner on and no outs, Padilla came to the plate to face reliever Santiago Casilla. Padilla squared to bunt, and Casilla whizzed a 96-mph fastball to the right of the right-handed-hitting Padilla. The pitch was more than likely retaliation for when Padilla hit Rowand in the head on April 16 in Los Angeles, although Rowand and Bochy declined to comment. Regardless of the intent, the Dodgers still got the last laugh of the incident, as Padilla eventually reached after striking out on a passed ball and Los Angeles scored three runs. The Giants now are 8-17 against National League West foes this season, the worst mark in the division. The Dodgers, meanwhile, are 21-5, while Colorado (16-14) and San Diego (15-13) are above .500. San Francisco is well aware of those numbers and, with a four-game set against Colorado coming up, knows how big the upcoming series is in hopes of staying within striking distance. "It's the difference. It's going to determine where you're at, at the end of the year," Bochy said. "This is going to be a tight race ... and we're not doing well. And really, more than anything, we're not scoring runs in our division and that's our biggest issue: We're getting shut down."
Cash Kruth is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.