Ross Stripling‘s major league debut — well, the part he pitched, anyway — went nearly as well as the Dodgers could have realistically hoped. All the rookie right-hander did was deliver 7 1/3 hitless innings, thanks in part to that curveball of his that was breaking right practically all night long.
Unfortunately, baseball games generally go at least nine innings.
Stripling started his night off with three perfect innings, aided by a few excellent plays from his defense. He ran into some trouble in the fourth inning, when he issued back-to-back walks to Joe Panik and Hunter Pence, but maneuvered his way out of the jam with a Brandon Belt fly out and a ground out by Matt Duffy.
Matt Cain started off matching Stripling with four scoreless innings, but the Dodgers put two runs on the board in the 5th with a leadoff double from Joc Pederson, a one-out single from A.J. Ellis, and base hits from Chase Utley and Corey Seager.
Meanwhile, Stripling carried on, facing the minimum through three more hitless innings. He started the 8th inning with a fly ball out, then issued a walk to Angel Pagan. With Stripling at a predetermined limit of 100 pitches, Dave Roberts found himself in the unenviable position of deciding whether or not to pull his pitcher. Stripling, a mere two years off of Tommy John surgery, appeared to be losing some of his sharpness. Had Roberts left him in and he’d blown it, we never would’ve heard the end of it. If Roberts removed Stripling and the bullpen blew it … well, that’s exactly what happened.
Chris Hatcher came in and, on a 3-1 count, gave up a two-run home run to Trevor Brown. That’s when things really started to unravel. Hatcher walked Ehire Adrianza, and, displeased with umpire Jeff Kellogg’s ball and strike calls, decided to say something about it. Roberts ran in to intervene, and got himself ejected. He managed to save Hatcher, though, who ended the inning with two ground ball outs.
After the Dodgers were retired in order in the top of the 9th, Pedro Baez delivered a beautiful frame, striking out two and inducing a Duffy ground out. With the rain pouring down, the Dodgers and Giants headed to extra innings.
Justin Turner notched a two-out single in the top of the 10th, but was left stranded. In the bottom half of the inning, Brandon Crawford took the second pitch he saw from Joe Blanton deep, and thus ended a rather tumultuous evening.
Did you miss extra-inning walk-offs in AT&T Park? Because I sure didn’t.