Despite Pedro Baez‘s seventh-inning 29-pitch misadventure, the Dodgers evened up the series against the Cubs by squeaking out a 3-2 win on a beautiful Saturday afternoon at Dodger Stadium.
The Cubs struck fast and early. Julio Urias was fighting his command in the first inning, and a leadoff walk was cashed in by consecutive base hits to right field by Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo. The damage was contained to one run after Urias struck out Addison Russell and Jorge Soler on breaking balls, but it took 31 pitches to get out of the frame.
Corey Seager then responded by blasting a solo home run off Jason Hammel. His 23rd long ball of the season sailed over the center field fence to tie the game at a run apiece. Seager now has the most home runs by any shortstop in Dodgers history in a single season. Bryant who?
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) August 27, 2016
With a little help from Ben Zobrist in right field, Andrew Toles doubled over his head to begin the third inning for the Dodgers. Urias, who has really matured as hitter since turning the big 2-0, helped his own cause with a groundball single to left. Chase Utley‘s RBI single gave the Dodgers a 2-1 lead.
Javier Baez prevented a second run from scoring on a fielder’s choice by cutting down Urias at the plate, who had advanced to third on a wild pitch. The Dodgers kept hitting ground balls, though, and another base hit up the middle by Justin Turner triggered Joe Maddon to hook Hammel with one out in the third.
This was Hammel’s second straight disaster start. His line: 2.1 IP, 3R, 5H, 1K, 0BB on 39 pitches (27 strikes).
After the troublesome first inning and first three batters of the game, Urias settled down nicely. He shut down the Cubs’ lineup through the next five scoreless innings, striking out eight to tie his career-high. The Red Dream initiated a great 5-4-3 double play to end the sixth and retire Soler.
Urias’ final line: 6IP, 1R, 8K, 2BB, on 94 pitches (60 strikes).
Pedro Baez came into the game for the seventh, and immediately was flustered on a Wilson Contreras bunt single. He threw the ball away drawing an error and allowing Contreras to advance to second. A questionable balk was called, and the pesky Contreras advanced to third.
After he got the other Baez to groundout, Jason Heyward won a 14-pitch at-bat vs. Baez, slapping an RBI single to left field, narrowing the lead to one. The tide of the inning was turned after Grandal hung Heyward out to dry on a steal attempt for the second out. After Baez walked Fowler, Rick Honeycutt made a trip to the mound to discuss Bryant. Baez ended up walking him, and Dave Roberts then had to bring in Adam Liberatore to face Rizzo, who grounded out to Gonzo … and exhale.
This time with Grandal behind the plate, Kenley Jansen came in for the ninth and looked to not repeat Friday’s debacle. Mad Kenley shut them down, and the Dodgers edged out the Cubs.
- Andrew Toles continues to be productive, and he collected another two hits out of the eight spot.
- Trying anything to bust out of an epic slump, Josh Reddick brought back Careless Whisper for his walk-up song. Alas, it did not work. He flew out to right field in all three of his at-bats.
The Dodgers improve to 72-57 on the season and 41-26 at home. The Giants don’t play until 6:05 PM PT tonight, so the Dodgers are temporarily 1 1/2 games up.
The series wraps up on Sunday afternoon 1:10 PM PT/4:10 PM ET. Brock Stewart (0-2, 11.25 ERA, 8.65 FIP) looks for his first Major League win. Jon Lester (14-4, 2.81 ERA, 3.67 FIP) goes to the hill for Chicago.