BOSTON - Kenta Maeda was tagged with the loss in his shortest outing in the majors as the Los Angeles Dodgers were defeated by the San Francisco Giants 7-1 in the final game of the regular season on Sunday.
Maeda (16-11) was knocked out in 2⅔ innings after giving up five runs and nine hits while walking two and striking out just three in a 67-pitch outing and unable to end his first season in style in front of 41,445 at AT&T Park.
“I wasn’t cutting corners. I pitched as I always do,” said the 28-year-old, who was bidding to become the first Japanese major leaguer to post 17 wins in his rookie year.
“It happens. A pitcher has to get outs even at times like these, but I wasn’t able to pitch how I should have. It’s easier to shift gears in the postseason as the only thing that’s important will be the team winning,” he said.
Los Angeles, the NL West champion, plays Washington in the Division Series.
Maeda allowed two runs on six pitches in the first inning when Buster Posey connected for a no-out, two-run single. Posey drove in another run on a line drive in the second to cap a three-run frame, making it 5-0.
Maeda was removed after getting two outs and loading the bases in the third.
Matt Moore (13-12) threw three-hit ball for eight innings for the win.
Yu Darvish also won 16 games in his first year in 2012, and five other Japanese pitchers earned double-digit wins as rookies — Masahiro Tanaka (13), Hisanori Takahashi (10), Daisuke Matsuzaka (15), Kazuhisa Ishii (14) and Hideo Nomo (13).
The Giants secured the second NL wild card with the victory.
“We found a way to get back to where we need to be,” ace left-hander Madison Bumgarner said. “If we play like we have been the last three days, we’ll be tough to beat.”
San Francisco, which won World Series titles in 2010, ’12 and ’14, plays at the defending NL champion New York Mets on Wednesday night in the NL wild-card game, with the winner advancing to a Division Series against the Chicago Cubs. Bumgarner, the 2014 World Series MVP, will face Noah Syndergaard.
Cubs 7, Reds 4
In Cincinnati, Matt Szczur doubled home two runs with two outs in the ninth inning, and Miguel Montero followed with a homer as Chicago finished one of its most successful seasons with a flourish.
With victory No. 103 in the books, the Cubs headed back to Wrigley Field for their first playoff game on Friday against the winner of the NL wild-card game.
Chicago’s Munenori Kawasaki finished 1-for-1.
Nationals 10, Marlins 7
In Washington, Max Scherzer earned his 20th victory and drove in a career-high four runs.
Ichiro Suzuki was 1-for-1 for the Marlins. Ichiro, who recored his 3,000th MLB hit earlier this season, finished the year batting .291 with 95 hits, one home run and 22 RBIs in 327 at-bats.
Phillies 5, Mets 2
In Philadelphia, Ryan Howard’s farewell game with the Phillies ended with a win, as Cesar Hernandez hit a tiebreaking RBI single in the seventh.
Howard, the last player remaining from the 2008 World Series championship team, was honored in a pregame ceremony. The Phillies are planning to pay Howard a $10 million buyout instead of exercising a $23 million club option for 2017.
Cardinals 10, Pirates 4
In St. Louis, a win on the final day of the season was not enough for the Cardinals, who missed the playoffs for the first time since 2010.
Brewers 6, Rockies 4
In Denver, Andrew Susac hit his first homer of the season, a two-run drive in the 10th inning that lifted Milwaukee to a win over the Rockies.
Diamondbacks 3, Padres 2
In Phoenix, pinch-hitter Phil Gosselin’s RBI single with two outs in the ninth inning lifted Arizona over San Diego.