LOS ANGELES — Down a run in the seventh inning with runners on second and third and one out, the Giants were trying to rally.
Alejandro De Aza dug in at the plate, battling Dodgers ace Zack Greinke to a 2-2 count. De Aza struck out looking on his next pitch, disgustedly throwing his arms up in the air before Kelby Tomlinson lined out to end the threat.
The called strike was the tipping point for manager Bruce Bochy and pitcher Jake Peavy, who were both ejected on the way to a 2-1 loss Tuesday night, the Giants' second in the same day to their first-place rivals.
"We're fighting hard and then that happens," Bochy said of De Aza's at-bat. "That might have changed things. The guys were throwing up some good at-bats, but there was nothing he could do with that pitch. That's what makes it frustrating. You just want a chance. But he couldn't touch that one."
The Dodgers increased their NL West lead to 5 1/2 games over the second-place Giants after taking the series opener 5-4 in 14 innings in a game that ended at 12:39 a.m. PST Tuesday.
Greinke outdueled Madison Bumgarner (16-7), who was coming off a dominant August, going 5-0 with a 1.43 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 37 2-3 innings. In his first September start, Bumgarner gave up two runs and eight hits in seven innings, struck out eight and walked one.
"I just didn't expect us to be on the losing side of a 2-1 ballgame, but that's the way it goes," Bumgarner said. "You know it's going to be a tough one, going up against Greinke, and unfortunately they caught more breaks than we did."
The Giants lost their fourth in a row and now face their largest deficit of the season to the Dodgers.
"We have to bounce back," Bumgarner said. "There's no other option."
Greinke (15-3) allowed one run and five hits in 7 1-3 innings. He struck out five and walked one while improving to 7-0 in seven starts against the Giants since joining the Dodgers in 2012.
Kenley Jansen pitched the ninth for his 28th save in 30 chances.
The Giants cut the lead to 2-1 in the eighth on Matt Duffy's RBI single before Luis Avilan relieved Greinke. The Dodgers turned an inning-ending double play, with Jose Peraza stopping Brandon Belt's hard-hit grounder and shoveling the ball with his glove to Jimmy Rollins covering at second, who then fired to Adrian Gonzalez at first.
Gonzalez's RBI single gave the Dodgers a 1-0 lead with two outs in the third. Joc Pederson homered leading off the seventh, making it 2-0.
Giants: SS Brandon Crawford didn't play because his left calf swelled up after he got hit by a pitch Monday. He's expected to be out a couple of days. ... OF Gregor Blanco didn't start because his neck bothered him, but he pinch hit in the eighth and singled and scored. ... RHP Tim Hudson and CF Angel Pagan were reinstated from the DL. Pagan started and went 1 for 4.
Dodgers: RHP Joel Peralta was reinstated from the DL. ... RHP Josh Ravin was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City and placed on the 60-day DL with a left hernia.
The Giants need a win in the series finale Wednesday to avoid dropping another game in the standings. Their 5 1/2-game deficit is their largest since being 4 1/2 back on July 12 going into the All-Star break. "There's time and you have to realize that," Bochy said. "It's in our hands and it's about winning now."
Giants: RHP Mike Leake (9-6, 3.53 ERA) will make his fourth start since being acquired from Cincinnati on July 30. He came off the DL on Aug. 22 after missing 18 games with a strained left hamstring. He's 2-3 with a 5.35 ERA in six career appearances against Los Angeles.
Dodgers: LHP Clayton Kershaw (11-6, 2.24) is 6-0 with a 0.92 ERA in his last 10 starts. He has struck out 96 while walking just eight. He last faced the Giants on May 21, allowing four runs and seven hits in 7 1-3 innings of a 4-0 loss.