Dodgers 5, Braves 3: Bullpen strong, as are Gonzalez, Grandal and Utley

Ross Stripling‘s third big league start was considerably rockier than his first two. This time, Stripling made it through just 3 2/3 innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks, while striking out four Braves’ batters.

Stripling, who threw 76 pitches (48 for strikes), was removed in the fourth inning after allowing a two-out, bases-loaded single to Daniel Castro. Coming off a strong performance yesterday, Adam Liberatore escaped his inherited jam with a strikeout of Freddie Freeman.

For a while, it felt like another frustrating night for the Dodgers offense. Julio Teheran, scratched from yesterday’s start because he was sick, held them scoreless through four innings. Several Dodgers hit the ball well off the Braves’ starter without much to show for it, including Corey Seager, who, after just missing two home runs yesterday, drove another one today that was barely foul.

Howie Kendrick singled off Teheran in the top of the fifth, and made it all the way to third on Nick Markakis‘ error, then came in to score on a base hit by Joc Pederson. Teheran got one out in the top of the sixth, but after giving up a base hit to Justin Turner, he was replaced by left-handed reliever Eric O’Flaherty. Adrian Gonzalez, who cares not for your LOOGYs, proceeded to tie the game on a 404-foot home run to center field, which had an exit velocity of 105 mph.

That was it for the Dodgers’ offense for a while, but the Dodger bullpen did an excellent job holding the Braves’ offense. J.P. Howell was perfect for an inning and two-thirds, and Chris Hatcher added his own clean inning and a third. Yimi Garcia allowed a leadoff single to start the eighth, but managed to leave the runner stranded, although the distance of his fly ball outs may be cause for concern. Joe Blanton issued a walk in the bottom of the ninth, but kept the Braves from scoring, sending the game to extra innings.

(I should note here that this is my second recap, and both games have gone to extra innings. I take full responsibility, and I apologize.)

The Dodgers rallied for two runs in the top of the tenth. It started when Jason Grilli gave up a single and stolen base by Chase Utley (2-for-5 on the night, plus some excellent defense at second base), then a walk to Seager. Utley came into score on what was ruled a double by Justin Turner, but was actually terribly misplayed by Mallex Smith (which is a real person’s name). An intentional walk to Gonzalez loaded the bases, and a one-out single by Yasmani Grandal (2-for-3 with two walks and a double) gave the Dodgers a bit of insurance.

Kenley Jansen then delivered a perfect bottom of the tenth, capping off an all-around superb performance by the Dodgers’ relief corps.

It’s an early one for West Coast folks tomorrow, a 9:10 a.m. Pacific start time, as Clayton Kershaw faces Matt Wisler.

About Sarah Wexler

Sarah Wexler
Sarah Wexler is a native Angeleno and longtime Dodger fan. She began blogging about baseball in 2012 on her Tumblr, New Grass On The Field, where she covered an array of topics but especially enjoyed exploring baseball history. She is now a reporter/producer for MLB.com. She earned her master's degree in Sports Management from Cal State Long Beach. She graduated from New York University in 2014 with a bachelor's in History and a minor in American Studies. She's an avid Springsteen fan, which is a big boost to her baseball writer cred.