Game 13: Umpire Fieldin Culbreth decides the outcome of Dodgers’ 3-2 loss — or does he?

MLB rule 7.09(h): A runner shall be called out when “in the judgment of the umpire the base coach at third base or first base, by touching or holding the runner, physically assists him in returning to or leaving third base or first base.”

This is only one photo frame depicting the interaction between Giants third base coach Roberto Kelly and runner Gregor Blanco in the ninth inning, but it sure looks like 7.09(h) applies here. Doesn’t it?

Don Mattingly sure thought it did. The Dodgers manager popped out of the dugout immediately after the play. If Blanco is out, the Giants have runners on first and second base and two outs, not the bases loaded with one out. Maybe the game is still going. Here’s what Mattingly saw:

But — you knew a “but” was coming — here’s how third base umpire Fieldin Culbreth recalled his conversation with Mattingly, as transcribed by a pool reporter:

“Don came out and asked me did I see him grab him. I told him no, I did not see him grab him. 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. If he doesn’t physically assist him in returning to the base then there’s no interference.”

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Game 11: Dodgers 7, Rockies 0.

Adrian Gonzalez

Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez flips the ball to first base with pitcher Brandon McCarthy covering for an out during the third inning Sunday. (Getty Images)

The Dodgers have won seven straight games, and can do no wrong.

Who knows. One of these days, Hyun-Jin Ryu might even pitch.

The photo gallery is here. The box score is here. I talked to Don Mattingly, A.J. Ellis and Brandon McCarthy after the game:
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Game 10: Dodgers 7, Rockies 3.

Jimmy Rollins

Jimmy Rollins stole his third base of the season in the Dodgers’ 7-3 win over the Colorado Rockies. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Staff photographer)

The Dodgers and Colorado Rockies are tied for first place following the Dodgers’ 7-3 win, their fifth straight. The Dodgers won’t always be this hot, but they can always draw on some lessons from this winning streak.

I couldn’t squeeze all of Clayton Kershaw‘s postgame remarks into the story. That’s a shame, because the fact that he did not win his first game until his third start is significant for a pitcher who’s won three of the last four National League Cy Young Awards. Here’s what he said:

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