The 2021 Dodgers’ offense hit a low on Thursday night when Chicago’s Zach Davies, Ryan Tepera, Andrew Chafin and Craig Kimbrel combined to keep them hitless. L.A. looked to turn the page and focus on Jake Arrieta in the second game of the four-game series Friday at Dodger Stadium, and that’s just what they did thanks to a late-inning two-run homer by AJ Pollock that broke the tie and gave the Dodgers a 6-2 win.
In an ironic twist, the Dodgers faced Arrieta the game following the no-hitter. He also threw a no-hitter against the Dodgers on Aug. 30, 2015. There’s no way the Cubs can no-hit the Dodgers in two straight, right?
Before the game, Dave Roberts said they’d limit Tony Gonsolin to about 50-60 pitches. The Cat Man looked to snap the Dodgers’ 4-game losing streak. Meanwhile the Giants keep winning, pulling further in front of the Dodgers in the NL West standings.
In the fifth consecutive game, and on the second pitch of the game thrown by Gonsolin, the opposing offense hit a home run in the first inning against the scuffling Dodgers. Kris Bryant wasted no time and crushed a Gonsolin four-seamer out over the left center field wall to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead.
A no-hit rerun crisis was averted when Cody Bellinger finally connected with a solid line drive base hit to center.
Belli stole second and advanced to third on a Will Smith groundout. The Dodgers scratched out a run to tie the game when Gavin Lux‘s grounder deflected off first baseman Anthony Rizzo, allowing Bellinger to come home on the scoring groundout.
In the bottom of the third, the Dodgers took a lead for the first time in the series and the first time since Sunday. Zach McKinstry jumped all over the first pitch he saw from Arrieta for his fourth home run of the year.
The Dodgers had an opportunity in the inning to add to their 2-1 lead when they loaded the bases with two outs, but they failed to cash in the two walks issued by Arrieta (one was intentional to Bellinger). Nevertheless, the good news is that the Dodgers got themselves their first lead in a week, and Bellinger’s hamstring looked fine on the base paths.
Since the Bryant home run in the first, the Cubs went down 11 straight at-bats vs. Gonsolin who racked up seven strikeouts through the first four frames. It was a very promising start for Gonsolin who has been battling shoulder soreness. After the first inning homer to Bryant, Tony’s splitter was very effective. He induced a bunch of swings and misses (11). Gonsolin’s splitter tonight: 57% CSW (Called Strikes + Whiffs ) and 70% Whiff. He made 69 pitches (37 strikes) with one run off one hit, seven strikeouts and two walks.
In a bit of levity, Pollock doubled with one out in the home half of the fourth, and Justin Turner seized the opportunity to roast him.
Victor Gonzalez was the first arm out of the bullpen for the Dodgers in the fifth, getting two outs but giving up a single and a walk. Gonzalez has struggled with his command this season, walking 14 in 24 innings pitched.
Joe Kelly was the next arm out of the pen for the Dodgers and rose to the occasion, striking out Bryant with a 89-mph changeup to preserve the one-run lead. Kelly has really turned things around in June, coming into tonight’s game with a .091 ERA in the last 14 1/3 innings.
The Dodgers wasted scoring opportunities in the fifth and sixth innings when they stranded a small island. The offensive ineptitude continued, and they went 0-for-8 with RISP, stranding nine men on base.
Kelly got the first two outs of the 6th as well, but then hit a batter and David Price got the last out in the inning. Jimmy Nelson started the top of the 7th, walking Jason Heyward, the leadoff hitter. It looked like he couldn’t find a grip on the ball. After a mound visit by Mark Prior, Nelson gave up a single to Jake Marisnick, who found a hole to right field. The Cubs got the tying run to third and the go-ahead run to second on a sac bunt by Sergio Alcantara. With old friend Joc Pederson up, Roberts went to Blake Treinen. Heyward scored on Pederson’s sac fly to tie the game 2-2.
Chafin, who pitched the eighth inning of the combined no-hitter, was brought in by David Ross to face Bellinger with one out in the seventh. The plan worked. Belli struck out against Chacin’s slider.
Treinen pitched a scoreless eighth to preserve the tie, and the bullpen battle continued. Ryan Tepera took the ball again for Chicago to open the bottom of the eighth, and Gavin Lux walked to open the door for the offense. Finally the Dodgers’ bats woke up — at least for the moment — when Pollock hit a two-run home run to break the tie.
Kenley Jansen came in to close it out in the ninth. Despite Heyward, who got on base for the fourth time in the game with a leadoff single, the Dodgers’ bullpen got the upper hand this time around.
With the much-needed win, the Dodgers tie up the series and improve to 45-31 overall and 24-13 at home.
Julio Urias (9-3, 3.99 ERA, 3.60 FIP, 1.068 WHIP) makes his 16th start of the season Friday, a new career-high. He faces right-hander Alec Mills (3-1, 5.18 ERA, 4.73 FIP 1.485 WHIP). First pitch is at 4:15 PM PST on FOX.