SAN FRANCISCO -- As out-of-kilter as things have been the past month, maybe it took batting out of order Saturday for the Giants to restore some order to their rapidly deteriorating season.
Either that, or perhaps it was just freshly minted All-Star Madison Bumgarner deciding somebody needed to stop the Giants' bleeding and took it upon himself to get it done.
Whatever, the Giants left AT&T Park with a 4-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers and finally feeling a little better about themselves despite a humiliating gaffe usually only seen in Little League -- batting out of turn. In this case, it happened to a struggling major league club in a nationally televised game.
How'd it happen? The Giants have a new electronic lineup board in their clubhouse, and according to manager Bruce Bochy, the lineup was incorrectly entered onto it from the one he had written out by hand and given to third base coach Ron Wotus to present to the umpires and the opposing team.
The players saw an incorrect lineup on the new board with Buster Posey batting third and Pablo Sandoval batting fourth -- and that's the lineup that was also given to the media, the public address announcer and the scoreboard operator.
Hence, in the bottom of the first, Posey came up to the plate third after Gregor Blanco had doubled to open the inning and was sacrificed to third. Posey doubled down the line to score Blanco, but Dodgers manager Don Mattingly sprang out of the dugout waving the lineup card, and as Posey said afterward, "I figured something wasn't right."
Sandoval was called out, Blanco returned to third and the Giants wound up not scoring when Posey batted again as the No. 4 hitter and hit a fly out to right field.
Fortunately for all concerned, the Giants rebounded to score three runs in the second and another in the fourth, then rode Bumgarner through seven strong innings before the bullpen finished it.
Bochy, who took full responsibility for the blunder even though it got mixed up in transit to the new lineup board, breathed a huge sigh of relief.
"You feel horrible. It cost Buster a double, an RBI, and when you're struggling scoring runs, there's not a worse feeling," he said. "At that point, you're going, 'Geez, what is going on?' We've had a lot of things happen, and now that.
"So it was a huge game for us, because I would have felt horrible for the club if that were to play a part in us not winning the ballgame. This softened the blow of an error that shouldn't have happened."
Bochy said he has caught another team on a batting-out-of-order mistake but noted, "I've never been on this side. That's a first. It just set up perfectly for this to happen. Hopefully, it never happens again."
Posey expressed the same sentiment, because he was the man in the middle of it.
"I looked at the board in here and I was batting third and I looked at the scoreboard and I was batting third," said Posey. "Somewhere, something got crossed up."
The faux pas overshadowed a lot of good things that happened for the Giants, who were in dire need of some good fortune after losing 10 of 11, including four in a row.
It started with Bumgarner (9-5), who limited the Dodgers to three hits with no walks and struck out nine, including rookie sensation Yasiel Puig three times. Bumgarner also contributed a bases-loaded walk and a sacrifice fly to drive in two of the four Giants runs, so it was a true All-Star day.
"It's a huge honor to get the All-Star game, but we really needed a win today," said the 23-year-old left-hander. "I was fortunate enough to hold them to two runs, and we scored four. We needed that badly."
After Bumgarner departed, Sandy Rosario and Javier Lopez combined to pitch a scoreless eighth, and Sergio Romo nailed down the victory with a perfect ninth for his 20th save, adding a fourth strikeout to Puig's final line.