While things looked dire this afternoon midway through the series rubber match, the bats exploded to close strong in a 11-9 win over the White Sox. The Dodgers have now started their short road trip with a series win thanks to the pen barely hanging on.
Tyler Anderson came into the game with a 26-inning scoreless streak, but it was clear that was going to be under threat early when he labored through a 29-pitch inning in the 1st. Still, despite a single and a walk, he didn’t give up a run and got a clean 2nd as well. However, the 3rd started with a bizarre play where Josh Harrison tripled off the netting and the top of the wall, then scored on a ground out to end the streak at 28.1 innings.
The 4th then truly brought his run to an end with a walk, single, AJ Pollock ground-rule double, and walk to load the bases ending his night.
3 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 2 K, 81 Pitches.
Brusdar Graterol entered and did alright, hitting a batter to force in a run with his first pitch but otherwise just giving up a sacrifice fly, both runs belonging to Anderson to make it 4-0.
On the other end, things looked relatively hopeless early, like a replay of the Michael Kopech start. Through four innings, Dylan Cease allowed just two singles and a walk, with one of those singles being immediately erased thanks to a caught stealing. However, while Cease started the 5th with a modest 65 pitches, he threw 45 to get just two outs in the frame. Why was he allowed to do that? Who knows, but it worked out for the Dodgers.
The rally started with one out, as Cody Bellinger singled and Gavin Lux followed with a walk. Austin Barnes then appeared to hit a potential double-play ball to Jake Burger at third, but he did hit it hard and it ricocheted off Burger for an error to load the bases. After Cease rebounded with a strikeout of Mookie Betts, the unearned runs then piled up behind a Freddie Freeman double to score two, a Trea Turner infield single (also to Burger) for another run, a steal from Trea, and then a Max Muncy double to plate two more and give the Dodgers a 5-4 lead. After Cease issued a walk to Will Smith, his day was over.
Matt Foster entered but didn’t help immediately with a walk of Justin Turner to load the bases, then he uncorked a wild pitch to score Muncy and push the lead to 6-4 before he got the final out of the inning to end the rally at six runs.
After all that, Phil Bickford took over to protect the new two-run lead in the 5th, and seemed on his way with two quick outs. But Burger tried to makeup for his mistake, popping a no-doubt homer to cut the lead to 6-5.
No matter, the Dodgers piled on in the 7th with a two-out rally off Bennett Sousa. Lux started with an infield single and he found himself at second after a pair of groundouts. Freddie then came through again with a single blooped to left for a run.
After Freddie advanced to second on a wild pitch, Tony La Russa choose to walk Trea intentionally despite a 1-2 count. Well, Muncy took that personally and drilled a three-run opposite field shot to make it 10-5.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers pen seemed to be rolling with Caleb Ferguson getting two strikeouts in a clean 13-pitch inning and Evan Phillips following with a clean 10-pitch inning to get them through seven.
However, Alex Vesia started the 8th in basically the worst way possible with back-to-back walks on eight pitches. An infield single followed to load the bases, and then a Yasmani Grandal liner hit Vesia’s glove for a single, which Vesia then threw wildly past Freddie for an error to score another and make it 10-7.
Remarkably, after a visit from Mark Prior, he got back-to-back strikeouts and then a fly out to end it. Praise the god.
For a while, it did seem like the White Sox pen had quieted the Dodgers. They got a single and walk in the 7th, but didn’t score and then had a clean 8th. But Jose Ruiz was not sharp in the 9th, giving up a Smith double, walking Justin, and later giving up a double to Lux to push the lead to 11-7.
With a four-run lead in the 9th, Dave Roberts (probably wisely) decided not to take any chances, bringing in Daniel Hudson with Craig Kimbrel still out.
After back-to-back lead-off singles, Hudson did get a strikeout, but then brought the tying run to the plate with a walk that loaded the bases. With old friend Pollock up, Hudson threw a wild pitch to score a run, and then Pollock hit an infield single into the shift that scored another run to make it 11-9. All of a sudden it was nail-biting time. Another old friend Grandal was the winning run, but he got him to pop foul and won an eight-pitch battle for a strikeout to end it.
35 pitches ends with a Dodger win.
This is honestly incredible stuff.
Part of the charm.
Who should you credit for the win? Me, of course.
The Dodgers improve to 37-20 on the year and now hold a 2-game lead in the NL West over the Padres.
The team will now continue their road trip in San Francisco tomorrow at 4:15 PM HT/7:15 PM PT/10:15 PM ET with Walker Buehler looking to rebound for the Dodgers and Jakob Junis (I think?) going for the Giants.
Amazingly, we have a T-shirt already, and even more amazingly they basically put “fucking” on it.