The boos cascaded down from the upper deck in Dodger Stadium and seemed to get louder with every step manager Dave Roberts took toward the mound in the ninth inning Wednesday night.
In a scene with a soundtrack that was all too familiar and painful, Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen was jeered in his home stadium after failing to hold a one-run lead in a 4-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants, preventing the Dodgers from gaining a share of first place in the National League West.
A sellout crowd of 52,076 saw Buster Posey lead off the top of the ninth with a pinch-hit single to right-center field and Wilmer Flores crush a two-run homer to left, turning a 2-1 Giants deficit into a 3-2 lead and handing Jansen his second straight blown save and fourth of the season.
The burly right-hander struck out Mike Yastrzemski but walked Darin Ruf and Thairo Estrada to load the bases, prompting Roberts to pull Jansen in favor of left-hander Victor González. LaMonte Wade Jr. struck out, and Curt Casali walked to force in a run that made it 4-2.
The boos were still ringing in the ears of Roberts well after Giants reliever Tyler Rogers, the sidearm-throwing right-hander who gave up a walk-off three-run homer to Will Smith on Tuesday night, retired the side in the bottom of the ninth — including Smith on a lazy fly ball to right — for his 11th save.
“It does bother me,” Roberts said of the treatment Jansen, a 12-year veteran who has 333 saves for the club, received. “The fans certainly have a right to voice their frustrations, I get that. But this guy, born and raised as a Dodger, he cares about the Dodgers and the fan base, he’s shown that on and off the field, and no one hurts more than he does.
“He’s worked real hard to get back, and he should have been an All-Star this year. He’s had a fantastic season. There was a hiccup the other day, and he had one at home. For this to not go well … I’m disappointed to hear [the boos], certainly. He’s not going to say it, but I am.”
Flores’ homer came on a 92-mph cut-fastball. It was only the second homer Jansen had given up this season and the first he had yielded in 349 cutters.
Jansen entered the game with a 1-1 record, 1.45 ERA and 21 saves in 371/3 innings of his 37 games, but the boos were reminiscent of 2020, when Jansen struggled for much of the season and lost his closer job in the postseason.
“It was just a bad one today,” Jansen said. “I can’t overthink it. I can’t let it become a mind game. You have to move on from it. Tomorrow’s a brand-new day. I’ve worked my butt off too hard to let one moment like this to mess your season up.”
How tough was it to hear boos in his home stadium?
“I didn’t get the job done today,” Jansen said. “I’m gonna focus on getting back tomorrow.”
The blown save prevented Dodgers starter Julio Urías, who gave up one run and three hits in seven innings, striking out five and walking one, from winning his 13th. After giving up a two-out homer to Yastrzemski in the first, Urías retired 18 of the next 21 batters.
Dodgers shortstop Chris Taylor, who hit two homers and a double Tuesday night, led off the bottom of the first with his 14th homer of the season and third in two nights, a 416-foot shot into the left-field pavilion that tied the score 1-1. The Dodgers took a 2-1 lead in the fourth when Cody Bellinger reached on a fielder’s-choice grounder and scored from first on AJ Pollock’s double to right.
Urías escaped a runner-on-third, one-out jam in the fifth by getting Casali to pop out to second and Webb to ground out to second.
The Dodgers acquired outfielder Billy McKinney from the New York Mets for minor league outfielder Carlos Rincon. The left-handed-hitting McKinney, 26, batted .213 (39 for 183) with a .697 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, eight homers, nine doubles, two triples and 20 RBIs in 70 games for the Milwaukee Brewers and Mets this season. … With right fielder Mookie Betts (right-hip pointer) and third baseman Justin Turner (left-knee bruise) slowed by injuries, the Dodgers recalled utility man Sheldon Neuse from triple-A Oklahoma City and returned left-hander Darien Nunez to triple A.