Chris Denorfia hit a game-winning sacrifice fly to deep center field, well over the five-man infield and nearly over the outfield as well, bringing home Matt Szczur with the only run in a Cubs' 1-0 victory over the Dodgers in 10 innings on Tuesday night at Wrigley Field.
The Dodgers have scored two or fewer runs in 21 of their last 37 games. This was the sixth time the club has been shutout in 2015.
This was the Dodgers' first 1-0 extra-inning loss since a defeat to San Diego on Sept. 21, 2008.
Joel Peralta, fresh off the disabled list after missing two months, appeared in his first game since April 23. He did not record any outs. Peralta allowed a single to right field by Mike Baxter, a scorching single by Matt Szczur off the glove of Alberto Callaspo at third base, then walked pinch-hitter Dexter Fowler to load the bases with nobody out.
Peralta threw 11 pitches, five for strikes.
That put Kenley Jansen in a nearly impossible situation, trying to get three outs without a run scoring. He got one out on a ground ball to first base, setting up Denorfia for his heroics.
Dodgers defensive alignment in a tie game with the bases loaded and one down in the bottom of the 10th. pic.twitter.com/Ir1mwZHYWA— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) June 24, 2015
The defensive alignment didn't matter, as Denorfia got a fastball he could drive and hit the ball deep enough to deliver the game winner.
Zack Greinke pitched well yet again with six scoreless innings, lowering his ERA to an MLB-best 1.70. He allowed five batters to reach base, and struck out five. But Greinke also labored and threw 111 pitches in his six frames.
In his last nine starts Greinke is 0-2 with seven no-decisions despite a 1.79 ERA.
Jason Hammel matched zeroes with Greinke and lasted longer, into the eighth inning, allowing just two hits and two walks in his 7⅔ innings, with six strikeouts.
All of the noteworthy moments came via pop ups early.
In the second inning, Hammel popped up into foul territory and a fan caught the ball that appeared headed for the glove of first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. After replay, the fan was ruled to have interfered with Gonzalez, ending the inning, but more amazingly the fan was holding his infant child the whole time, captured beautifully by Dodgers photographer Jon SooHoo.
Thanks for the third out, man. pic.twitter.com/xDQxIuaqx9— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) June 24, 2015
Callaspo led off the third inning with a double, and now has a .380 on-base percentage as a Dodger, but pop outs by Jimmy Rollins and Greinke helped kill the rally.
In the sixth, the Dodgers got a gift scoring opportunity when Yasiel Puig hit a pop fly to right field. Only right fielder Baxter and center fielder Matt Szczur had no clue where the ball was, losing it in either the lights or the night sky. The ball dropped 30 feet in front of them, allowing Puig the time to get to third for a triple. But he was stranded when Joc Pederson popped out to shortstop to end the inning.
Jason Motte, who got the save Monday night, pitched a scoreless 10th inning on Tuesday with one strikeout for the win.
The Dodgers are now 3-3 in extra innings.
Mike Bolsinger starts on Wednesday night for the Dodgers, while Kyle Hendricks gets to pad his stats by starting against them.
Home runs: none
WP - Jason Motte (5-1): 1 IP, 1 strikeout
LP - Joel Peralta (1-1): 0 IP, 2 hits, 1 run, 1 walk