LOS ANGELES -- Another day, another series of body blows to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Brandon Belt, Hunter Pence, Tim Lincecum and the rest of the San Francisco Giants treated the hosts like a punching bag Saturday night in their 19-3 victory, scoring more runs than any team in the 51-year history of Dodger Stadium.
If it could get any worse, the Dodgers also watched another key player leave early because of an apparent injury.
Yasiel Puig was lifted for a defensive replacement in the top of the sixth, a half-inning after he was drilled up high by a pitch from Lincecum, and one inning after he made a diving catch in shallow center field that left him grimacing.
Whether Puig left early because of injury or the one-sided score, the Dodgers are suddenly looking quite thin at the top of their lineup with their magic number to clinch the National League West still stuck at four.
Hanley Ramirez left Thursday’s series opener against the Giants with tightness in his hamstring, which was later connected to an irritated nerve in his back. Andre Ethier limped off the field during Friday’s loss with pain in his left ankle. Matt Kemp, the team’s No. 3 hitter to open the season, is still trying to work his way back from an ankle injury.
Now it’s Puig who could be looking for a place to sit in the crowded trainer’s room.
He robbed Buster Posey of at least one RBI with a bases-loaded diving catch in the fifth inning, only to see the next batter, Pence, hit a grand slam to stretch the lead to 12-1. He appeared to be in pain as he returned to his position, but stepped to the plate in the bottom half of the inning after Alex Castellanos homered off Lincecum.
Puig, who raised his fists after delivering his only base hit in Friday’s loss -- a single to left field -- took the first pitch from Lincecum in the upper-body area. He stayed in the game and scored on a single by Adrian Gonzalez, but was replaced by Skip Schumaker in the top of the sixth.
Even if Puig isn’t as banged up as it appeared, the Dodgers must feel like they’ve been delivered a series of uppercuts by the Giants, who handed them their third double-digit loss of the season and first since June 28.
Pence drove in a career-high seven runs, giving him three home runs and nine RBIs in the series, which concludes with a 1:10 p.m. (PT) start Sunday. Belt had five hits and six RBIs and reached base safely in all six trips to the plate, including a two-run homer in the seventh inning. Lincecum even had two hits for San Francisco.
The Dodgers remain in the driver’s seat for their first playoff berth in four years. But at this rate they might have to rush some players back from injury, a scenario they’re hoping to avoid.