Dodgers 2, Padres 0: Kenta Maeda dominates on the mound and drives in both Dodger runs

The game got dicey at the end and the Dodgers wasted plenty of opportunities, but they shut out the Padres and ended the homestand with a 2-0 victory.

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After neither team did anything in the first, Kenta Maeda worked around a leadoff single in the top of the second. Matt Strahm could not replicate that, as he allowed a leadoff infield single to Corey Seager. Chris Taylor bunted him to second and an Alex Verdugo infield single put runners on the corners. Verdugo stole second, and both runners scored on a Maeda bloop single.

After Maeda’s two-out single, the Dodgers loaded the bases on an Enrique Hernandez single and Justin Turner HBP (his fourth-straight game being it, pls stop hitting him). However, Cody Bellinger grounded out to prevent the huge inning.

Meanwhile, Maeda was rolling on the mound. He struck out the final two batters of the second inning and struck out the side in the third, giving him six strikeouts through three innings.

The Dodgers kept the pressure on Strahm in the bottom of the third. Seager poked a one-out single and Taylor followed it up with a double. After scoring a run on three soft-hit balls in the previous inning, the Dodgers’ luck turned as Verdugo scorched a ball right at a drawn in infielder with the runners going on contact, removing Seager from third. With runners still on the corners, Russell Martin popped up to end the inning.

Maeda struck out a sixth-straight batter to start the fourth, but the streak snapped on a Manny Machado double that Bellinger misplayed pretty badly. Maeda recovered nicely, getting a groundout and his eighth strikeout of the game to keep the Padres off the board.

Maeda followed that up with a leadoff single to start the bottom of the fourth. The Dodgers couldn’t get him home, as a two-out Bellinger walk was the only other offense for the inning.

Thankfully, Maeda continued to shove, as he racked up two more strikeouts in the fifth inning. Maeda hadn’t struck out more than six in a game prior to this start, so this dominance was a bit of a surprise. Even more so, he had 10 strikeouts on 64 pitches through five innings, which seems hard to do.

The Dodgers went quietly again in the bottom of the fifth after another HBP was wasted. Maeda only struck out one batter in the sixth, but needed only 10 pitches to retire the Padres in order.

After a fly out, Maeda allowed a single in the top of the seventh. He struck out Hunter Renfroe for a big second out and was pulled at 85 pitches. It was probably unnecessary and a little dumb, but Scott Alexander got a ground out to end the inning.

Maeda’s final line was phenomenal. He went 6 2/3 innings and allowed three hits. He struck out 12 batters, one shy of his career high. It was Maeda’s first start of the season in which he didn’t walk a batter and it’s his second consecutive dominant outing, which is nice to see after he struggled for a couple starts.

Alexander remained in for the top of the eighth after the Dodgers failed to score. He got a hard-hit grounder to Freese, who threw to Alexander covering first and Alexander dropped the ball.

Pedro Baez relieved Alexander and struck out Wil Myers, who pinch hit in the eighth spot for the pitcher. Baez got a hard grounder to Turner for what should have been a double play, but a wide throw to first by Enrique allowed Manuel Margot to reach safely. Baez ended the inning with another strikeout.

The Dodgers threatened to add insurance in the eighth, as Martin lined a one-out double. It brought up bobblehead boy Max Muncy, who flew out and Hernandez grounded out to end the inning.

The ninth belonged to Kenley Jansen, who began his inning with some help from the defense. Franmil Reyes hit a grounder up the middle, but Hernandez made a diving stop and threw from his knees for the first out. Jansen walked Machado, and with the shift on Eric Hosmer bunted to reach base. Jansen got a huge strikeout, getting Renfroe for the second out. He then froze Alex Dickerson to finish off the game.

The Dodgers move to 29-16 on the year after completing the two-game sweep of the Padres. They finish off a 7-2 homestand, and after an off day tomorrow, begin a three-game weekend series in Cincinnati. Rich Hill starts for the Dodgers on Friday against Anthony DeSclafani, with first pitch at 4:10 PST.

About Alex Campos

Alex Campos
I've been writing about the Dodgers since I graduated from Long Beach State, where I covered the Dirtbags in my senior year. I'm either very good or very bad at puns.