A solid pitching performance and some timely miscues helped the Dodgers to a 3-1 win Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium.
Alex Wood was pretty good in his second start of the season: 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R/ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 105 pitches, 69 strikes, 12/2 GO/AO. While he nibbled with his pitches early on and got himself into trouble, he worked out of it and would go onto retire 11 of the final 12 hitters he faced. He allowed a solo home run on a bad pitch to Nick Ahmed in the third inning, but that was it. The 12 ground ball outs were a season-high for a Dodger pitcher. Dave Roberts sent him out to start the eighth inning and he gave up an infield single on a close play at first base. Despite the curious move (which I’ll touch on later), the Dodger bullpen needed this outing after a rough go of things on Tuesday afternoon.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Adrian Gonzalez hit a 411-foot home run to right-center field on a 3-2 pitch from Rubby De La Rosa. It was his first homer of the season, and just the Dodgers’ fourth.
There was a spot of controversy in the fifth inning. After an Ahmed error made it 2-1 Dodgers, Chase Utley slid into second and forced Ahmed to get out of the way. He threw a strike to first base, but Paul Goldschmidt juggled the ball and Corey Seager was safe at first base. Utley, essentially, slid sideways in an attempt to break up a potential double play. It’s surprising the slide rule wasn’t called there, which would have ended the inning with it being a 2-1 game. It wasn’t a dirty or malicious slide, but under the new rules, it could have been called.
Yasiel Puig chipped in two hits of his own — both hit at 100-plus MPH, because of course they were. Utley added two hits of his own. Seager took an 0-fer and snapped his 11-game hitting streak (dating back to last season).
Justin Turner got hit by two pitches tonight — one on the upper-thigh, one on the top of his left hand. He stayed in the game after the seventh-inning hit-by-pitch. Joc Pederson was also hit by a pitch, but none of them appeared to be anything close to intentional (despite Arizona’s infamous reputation for things like this).
Pedro Baez came in to relieve Wood in the eighth and promptly pumped a 97 MPH fastball right down the middle. It was hit 100 MPH, but right to Pederson. He would then walk Jean Segura on four pitches, because why not. It’s usually better when relievers start an inning clean, especially after a starter turns in seven quality innings. There was no need to send Wood out for the eighth. Thankfully, Kenley Jansen exists. He struck out pinch-hitter David Peralta and got Goldschmidt to fly out to deep left-center field. He retired Arizona 1-2-3 in the ninth inning to pick up the save.
The Dodgers improve to 5-4 with the win. They’ll play the rubber game of the series on Thursday night. Ross Stripling (0-0, 1.23 ERA) takes on Robbie Ray (0-0, 3.00 ERA). With a lefty on the hill, expect a heavy diet of right-handed hitters. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. Pacific time.