After an impressive run, the Dodgers found themselves mired in a bit of a slump again entering tonight, losers of three in a row. They didn’t look all that sharp in this game either, but they gritted their way through it and Chris Taylor delivered a signature moment in a 14-pitch bases-loaded, bases-clearing double that eventually resulted in an 9-4 win to start the series against the Cardinals.
Jack Flaherty has rebounded nicely from his somewhat down 2020 season so far in 2021, and he looked solid again tonight against the Dodgers. However, with one out in the 2nd he got burned by back-to-back solo shots from Gavin Lux and Taylor, their fourth and seventh of the year, respectively.
Flaherty settled down after that, though. He faced the minimum in the next three frames, having a walk erased by a strike ’em out, throw ’em out double play.
Trevor Bauer didn’t look his best last time out against the Astros, and things started rocky again today, allowing a lead-off double to Tommy Edman. But Bauer escaped that early trouble no worse for wear and then put it into cruise control, facing the minimum over the next four innings, giving up just a walk that was erased by a double play.
The 6th didn’t go quite as planned, as Justin Williams started the inning by crushing a ball down the line in right and off the foul pole to cut the lead to 2-1. With one down, Edman reached on Zach McKinstry‘s second error of the day, and then Dylan Carlson followed by waiting on a hanging curve and the powering it for an oppo homer to give the Cardinals a 3-2 lead.
Ryan Helsley took over for Flaherty in the 6th and he got into trouble with one out, giving up a double to Max Muncy and then a single to Justin Turner to corner the runners. His night was over quickly as Genesis Cabrera was then summoned and he started wildly, issuing back-to-back walks to Cody Bellinger and Will Smith to force a run in and tie the game at 3-3
After rebounding with a strikeout, the stage was set for Chris Taylor to continue his great season, and he did just that. Battling through a 14-pitch war with Cabrera, CT3 eventually came out on top, lining a 3-2 fastball at the top of the zone the other way into the gap to plate all three runners and make it 6-3.
Now with a comfortable lead, Bauer was allowed to bat to end the inning and continued in the 7th. After getting an out, he then allowed his third homer of the day, this time to Tyler O’Neill to cut the lead back down to 6-4. After getting a pop out, he then surrendered a single off Lux’s glove and that spelled the end of his night: 6.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 5 K, 94 Pitches.
Victor Gonzalez relieved him and struck out his man to get through the 7th. Nate Jones, who is apparently now a high leverage guy, came in and pumped nothing but strikes to get through the 8th on nine pitches.
Daniel Ponce De Leon got the 7th for the Cards, getting in trouble due to a single and a passed ball to start the inning, but eventually got out of it. He couldn’t say the same in the 8th, as with one out Gavin Lux smashed his second dong of the night, CT3 followed with another double, and with two outs Matt Beaty singled down the line to drive in another run.
After Seth Elledge entered in relief, Betts smacked a double for his fourth time on base in the game, driving in another run to make it 9-4.
With Kenley Jansen no longer needed to close it out, Phil Bickford entered and cruised through the final inning for the win.
The victory moves the Dodgers to 32-22.
The two teams do it again at the regular time tomorrow, 4:10 PM HST/7:10 PM PST/10:10 PM EST. The Dodgers will go with a pen game against John Gant.