On July 11, 1804 it was Alexander Hamilton vs. Aaron Burr. On April 22nd, 2015 it was Clayton Kershaw vs. Madison Bumgarner. The most anticipated pitcher's duel in modern history pitted the reigning NL MVP against the 2014 World Series MVP for the first time in MLB history.
The duel lived up to the hype as the pair of aces nearly matched each other in the scorecard. Unlike the Hamilton-Burr duel however, this matchup ended in a draw as both pitchers received no-decisions and it became a battle of the bullpens in the waning innings.
The Giants bullpen would win in the end as Joe Panik hit a walk-off sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth and San Francisco defeated the first place Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 on Wednesday at AT&T Park.
After the game, the outcome was mired in controversy as Dodgers manager Don Mattingly believed that the winning run in Gregor Blanco should have been called out on the previous play due to interference by San Francisco third base coach Roberto Kelly.
"They missed the call," said an angry Mattingly after the game. "I don't know who was supposed to be watching but they weren't watching. He [Fieldin Culbreth] didn't see it. He was watching the play. I don't know why the third base umpire's watching the play."
Mattingly argued the call in real time with third base umpire Fieldin Culbreth, but the umpire admitted he didn't see the play. After the game however, Culbreth saw the play and believed no interference was made.
"I told Don I did not see him grab him," said Culbreth. "There ends up being contact but the rule is pretty specific in the fact that he had to touch and physically grab him and assist him in returning to the base. That did not happen."
Regardless of the call, the Dodgers still had an opportunity to win the game if they could get out of a bases loaded one out jam. But with Yasiel Puig called in as a fifth infielder, reliever J.P. Howell surrendered a long fly ball to Panik that easily scored the winning run and gave San Francisco back-to-back wins over their rivals.
"It showed a lot of character for this team to scrap out a win against Kershaw," said Panik after the game.
Kershaw (1-1) got a no-decision allowing two runs on three hits with nine strikeouts over six innings.
Kershaw got into trouble in the third when he allowed a leadoff single to Joaquin Arias and followed up with a walk to Brandon Crawford. Bumgarner sacrificed the runners over and Nori Aoki brought in the game’s first run on a ground ball to Jimmy Rollins at short.
Alex Guerrero continued to be the Dodgers’ savior as he hit his second pinch-hit homer of the season. Guerrero sent a 92 MPH fastball into the seats in left in the top of the 7th to tie the game at 2-2 and chase Bumgarner from the game.
Bumgarner countered Kershaw with two runs on six hits with six strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings and is now winless in his last three starts.
"It's always fun playing the Dodgers – no more than usual," he said, talking down the hype.
Chris Heisey was called up before the game and started in center field as another right-handed bat in place of Joc Pederson. Heisey has been hot to start the season in Triple-A Oklahoma City with four homers and seven RBIs. Heisey was 0-2 with a walk in his Dodgers debut.
Adam Liberatore was sent down to Triple-A OKC to make room for Chris Heisey on the 25-man roster. Before the game, the Dodgers acquired Xavier Cedeno from the Washington Nationals for cash considerations.