After scoring a series win against the Brewers in Milwaukee, the Dodgers continued on with their toughest stretch of the season tonight against the Phillies in Philadelphia. Yet the Boys In Blue continued to get the job done, coming back against the Phils late in the game to escape with a 7-6 victory.
Of course, the most important thing tonight is this being the start of Chase Utley‘s last regular season games in Philadelphia before he retires at the end of the season. The Silver Fox got his first at-bat in the 2nd and was promptly handed a massive standing ovation.
After he flew out to the warning track in left, there were amazingly groans as if Phillies fans were praying an opposing player hit it out, and he was given another ovation as he returned to the dugout.
Utley got an ovation of some sort every single at-bat, and that level of love and respect has to be a dream of every player.
All that said, there was still a game to be played. The Dodgers jumped out to an early lead in the 1st, as after Zach Eflin got two quick outs, Max Muncy stepped up and smacked his 23rd dong of the season to dead center.
The dong party continued almost immediately, as Yasmani Grandal followed by connecting to left-center for his 14th dong of the year for back-to-back shots.
Things continued in that direction as Chris Taylor smacked an oppo dong for his 12th of the year and Joc Pederson absolutley destroyed a lined homer to right for his 14th in the 3rd and 4th innings, respectively.
So the offense got back to hitting homers, but unfortunately Ross Stripling continued a trend of allowing homers. He surrendered a solo shot to Maikel Franco in the 2nd, and then blew the lead in the 5th, surrendering a three-run shot to Rhys Hoskins and then a solo shot to Odubel Herrera as they went back-to-back to give the Phillies the lead and that knocked Strip out of the game.
Aside from the three homers, Stripling looked fine, striking out six and giving up just four other hits and walking none in his 4.2 innings. Unfortunately, the homers did count and he’ll have to work to limit the amount of fat pitches he’s leaving for hitters as they adjust to his hot start to the season.
LOOGY tryout Zac Rosscup entered and got out of the 5th with a strikeout, continuing to do his job after they were unsatisfied with Edward Paredes. JT Chargois was then asked with the 6th, and he continued to look solid after his stint in the minors, getting a 1-2-3 inning with a strikeout.
With one out in the 7th, the bats of the Dodgers came alive thanks to new acquisition Manny Machado, who tripled down the line in right. That brought up Muncy, who muscled a shallow fly ball to center that I definitely didn’t think had any chance of scoring the run. However, Machado continued to show off his speed and athleticism in the inning, scoring the tying run with a great slide.
Daniel Hudson took over in the 7th and turned in another quality outing, going 1-2-3 with a strikeout. That handed the ball to the red-hot Scott Alexander, who for now has seemingly avoided the Dodgers Digest Curse (well … for two outings), as he got a 1-2-3 frame in the 8th as well with two grounders and a strikeout.
That pen showing proved important in the 9th, as the Dodgers rallied off Seranthony Dominguez, who had not allowed a run since June 24. Alex Verdugo started the inning by drawing a seven-pitch walk, and Joc followed with an oppo single on a 100 mph fastball up to complete an eight-pitch at-bat. With one down, Muncy then drew a walk to load the bases, and then a wild pitch with Grandal at the plate gave the Dodgers a 6-5 lead.
Grandal then drew a walk to load the bases again, and Matt Kemp capitalized with a sharp single to left for a 7-5 lead.
That brought in Kenley Jansen, the guy with a share of the National League lead in saves. On the first pitch he threw, Franco hit another homer, cutting the lead to one. However, Jansen rebounded by inducing a infield pop and getting two strikeouts to put the game away.
The Dodgers get to 56-44 with the victory, and maintain their 1.5-game lead in the NL West, as the Diamondbacks also won tonight.