Howie Kendrick

Another Dodgers choke job clinches memorable decade for Giants fans

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AP

Another Dodgers choke job clinches memorable decade for Giants fans

The 2010s were one hell of a decade for Giants fans.

Not only did they get to celebrate three World Series titles in a span of five years, they also got to watch their bitter rivals choke time, and time, and time, and time, and time, and time and time again.

The Washington Nationals put the cherry on top of San Francisco's phenomenal decade, coming from behind to defeat the Dodgers 7-3 in Game 5 of the NLDS on Wednesday night, thereby ending Los Angeles' season.

And, really, it couldn't have happened any other way.

Leading 3-1 in the top of the seventh, Clayton Kershaw came on in relief of Dodgers starter Walker Buehler. He struck out Adam Eaton to end the inning, but that would be the only out he recorded on the night.

After the Dodgers went in order in the bottom of the inning, Kershaw came back out to start the eighth. What happened next made every Giants fan laugh, and every Dodgers fan cry.

Twice.

First, Kershaw gave up a lead-off homer to Anthony Rendon. The very next batter -- on the very next pitch! -- Kershaw served up a 449-foot blast to Washington's Juan Soto, tying the game at 3-3.

Seriously, you couldn't make it up.

Kershaw was pulled immediately thereafter, and Kenta Maeda struck out the side to get out of the inning. The three-time Cy Young winner could only look on from the dugout as the game eventually went into extra innings.

Adam Eaton drew a lead-off walk for Washington in the top of the 10th, and Rendon followed that up with a double off the wall in left. Soto was intentionally walked to load the bases. And then Howie Kendrick crushed the Dodgers' dreams.

Kendrick clobbered a 410-foot grand slam over the center-field wall, silencing Dodger Stadium. Sean Doolittle plowed through the Dodgers in order in the bottom half of the inning to close it out, and that was that.

Another division title. Another playoff choke job.

The Dodgers won 106 games during the regular season, their most in franchise history. They had a $200 million-plus payroll, fourth-highest in the majors. They led the National League in runs, home runs, total bases, RBI, slugging percentage, OPS, ERA and shutouts. They led Game 5, 3-0 

And they won two more playoff games than the Giants.

[RELATED: Source: Giants to interview A's coach Kotsay for manager]

Look, the Dodgers definitely had a better season than San Francisco.

Gee, when have we heard that before?

As for which of the long-time rivals had the better decade, though, that is quite oppositely one-sided.

Dodgers trade versatile former All-Star to Phillies

Dodgers trade versatile former All-Star to Phillies

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies got the veteran hitter they wanted.

Howie Kendrick was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday for first baseman Darin Ruf and utilityman Darnell Sweeney.

"Howie Kendrick brings a proven, veteran presence to our young lineup," general manager Matt Klentak said. "He is a hard worker, a great teammate and a true professional hitter. In addition, Howie's defensive versatility provides significant flexibility to our roster, which should prove to be valuable to our club in 2017."

A 2011 AL All-Star, Kendrick hit .255 with 26 doubles, eight home runs, 40 RBIs, a team-leading 10 stolen bases and a .326 on-base percentage for the NL West champion Los Angeles Dodgers. The 33-year-old Kendrick made 123 starts - 79 in left field, 23 at second base, 14 at third base and seven at first base - and made only five errors.

Kendrick is a career .289 hitter with 95 homers, 595 RBIs, 111 stolen bases and a .332 on-base percentage. He is signed to a deal that pays him $10 million next year in the final season of his contract.

Kendrick will likely begin the season as the starting left fielder.

Ruf hit .205 with three home runs and nine RBIs last season. The 30-year-old has a .240 batting average with 35 homers in his career. Ruf never played to his potential after hitting 38 homers at Double-A Reading in 2012 and three more for the Phillies in a brief September call-up that season.

Sweeney spent the entire season at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He hit .233 with six homers, 35 RBIs and 12 stolen bases. Sweeney played second base, third base, shortstop and center field for the Iron Pigs.

The Phillies got Sweeney from the Dodgers in a trade for Chase Utley in August 2015.