After a disastrous four-game stretch for the Dodgers in which they were swept by the Padres and then no-hit by the Cubs, they have now rallied with three wins in a row to close a series win at home against Chicago, capped by a 7-1 victory this afternoon.
After starting the game by facing the minimum in the 1st thanks to a double play, Adbert Alzolay immediately dug himself a hole in the 2nd. He hit Matt Beaty, walked Chris Taylor, and then walked Gavin Lux to load the bases, that brought up Zach McKinstry, who promptly roped a grand slam for a 4-0 lead.
After getting the next two batters out, Alzolay was then victimized by an error that allowed Mookie Betts to reach. That set the table for Cody Bellinger, who smashed a homer for the second game in a row to make it 6-0.
Alzolay allowed two singles in the 3rd as well, but managed to get out of the jam, and his day was over early after that.
Meanwhile, Clayton Kershaw was off to a hot start. He retired the first six batters he faced, then got into minor trouble in the 3rd after a single and a balk, but ended up striking out the side. The 4th was a bit different, as after getting the first two outs of the frame, he was victimized by a Javier Baez oppo taco to make it 6-1. After basically a miracle double from Joc Pederson, not only off a lefty but Kershaw, Clayton got through the frame with an out.
Tommy Nance took over for Alzolay in the 4th, giving up a double but nothing else. He continued in the 5th and surrendered a single, stolen base, and wild pitch, but the Dodgers couldn’t capitalize. In his third inning, though, he gave up a one-out triple to Mookie Betts past a diving Kris Bryant, which was cashed in by a Cody Bellinger sacrifice fly to make it 7-1.
On the other side, Kershaw was cruising, retiring seven in a row after Joc’s double. That was broken up in the 7th by a lead-off walk to Baez, but he faced the minimum in the inning thanks to a double play from Joc. Kershaw then continued in the 8th, a rarity for him nowadays, getting through another scoreless frame for a masterful performance: 8 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 13 K, 101 Pitches.
After Rex Brothers closed the book on the Dodgers with scoreless innings in the 7th and 8th, Phil Bickford took over for the Dodgers. Bickford just yesterday threw 1.2 innings, but got a whole frame on just three pitches and has started to look great, as I wrote about this morning. Well that continued with a 1-2-3 inning that included two strikeouts to end it.
The third consecutive win makes the Dodgers 47-31 on the year. With the Giants losing, the lead in the NL West is down to 3.5 games.