The Dodgers offense couldn’t figure out Joey Lucchesi‘s “churve,” and Rich Hill was erratic. But the offense overcame Hill’s less than stellar start, Manny Machado‘s revenge and Joe Kelly‘s best effort to screw things up again. They got the job done by grinding out long at-bats and taking walks. Max Muncy also murdered a baseball for a three-run dong.
Hill was all over the place in the first inning. He was throwing his fastball in the 90s, then he dropped down to 66 mph to strike out Franmil Reyes swinging.
Hill surprised everyone by throwing three change-ups, but it remains to be seen if he will continue to develop it and use it more.
Regardless, Machado struck again in the first inning for the second straight game, connecting with a Hill curveball for a solo home run to left field to give the Padres a 1-0 lead. The Dodgers’ left-handed starters are not exactly fooling Machado, and he’ll be tormenting L.A. pitching for years to come in the NL West.
The wheels came off for Hill in the third. A leadoff walk to the opposing pitcher, botched double play, a throwing error by Hill on a pickoff attempt, and a second homer by Machado gave the Friars another two runs and a 3-1 lead.
Hill was walking a tightrope the whole night. Dave Roberts had enough after his left-hander allowed back-to-back singles with nobody out in the bottom of the fifth. Roberts brought in Pedro Baez to face Machado. This time the Dodgers’ infield was able to execute the 5-4-3 double play they messed up earlier to get two big outs. Baez induced a groundout to third from Hunter Renfroe to shut down San Diego in a big spot.
Hill’s final line: 4 IP, 3 R, 7 H, 3 K, 1 BB on 85 pitches (55 strikes).
The one-hour and two-minute sixth inning was like a game-within-a-game. The two teams combined to throw 91 pitches in the sixth inning, and they scored eight runs between them.
The tides turned once Lucchesi began to tire in the sixth, setting up a five-run inning for the Dodgers’ bats. After a Corey Seager leadoff single and a walk to David Freese, Andy Green also went to his bullpen. He brought in — you guessed it — another lefty.
Brad Wieck might be tough on lefties, but so is Mr. Muncy. With an epic bat drop at the end, Muncy absolutely crushed a three-run dong to right field to give the Dodgers a 4-3 lead.
The Dodgers added a fourth run in the sixth after Verdugo doubled, Taylor singled, and Matt Beaty‘s RBI single chased shell-shocked Wieck from the game. The battered Padres reliever gave up four hits in 1/3 of an inning.
The onslaught continued. Justin Turner beat out the throw at first on a double play attempt and Taylor scored on the play, plating the fifth run of the frame for the Dodgers.
The Padres got one back in the home half of the sixth against Kelly. Eric Hosmer‘s leadoff single was cashed in by a Ty France double, the final result of a 14-pitch at-bat. Once Kelly loaded up the bases, Roberts finally hooked him. My blood pressure didn’t immediately go back down though. Yimi Garcia barely got away with one, nearly serving up a bases-clearing double to Kinsler on a ball that went just foul. Then Garcia hit Kinsler with a pitch to bring in a run and narrow the lead to one run.
Garcia then pitched very carefully to Reyes, and he got him to chase for a big strikeout. Up comes Machado, with two dongs already in the bank. Garcia walked him, bringing in the tying run, before finally escaping with the game reset.
The Dodgers immediately loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the ninth against closer Kirby Yates. Verdugo, with three hits already on the night, took a walk to bring in the winning run. For the second night in a row, the Dodgers stole the lead versus Yates in the ninth inning.
Also for the second night in a row, Kenley Jansen locked things down, pitching around a walk in the 9th to shut the door on San Diego and secure the series win for the Dodgers.
The Dodgers improve to 22-13 on the season and 10-9 on the road.
They’ll go for the series sweep to end their California road trip on a high note in San Diego on Sunday afternoon at 1:10 PM PST. Kenta Maeda (3-2, 4.41 ERA, 4.77 FIP) takes on 22-year-old left-hander Nick Margevicius (2-3, 3.23 ERA, 4.29 FIP). The Dodgers get their first look at the rookie in his seventh major-league start.