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Dodgers find their offense late to beat Blue Jays

No runs, no hits for the Dodgers in the first five innings. Four runs, eight hits in the last four innings, and a win.

Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports

A game that began with a very good pitchers' duel was decided by a clash of struggling bullpens, but this time the Dodgers flipped the script and came out ahead. Howie Kendrick singled home the game-winner to cap a two-run rally in the eighth inning, giving the Dodgers a 4-2 comeback victory on Sunday afternoon at Rogers Centre in Toronto.

The Dodgers won their first series in two weeks, and now fly home after a winning road trip.

For a while, it looked like that flight might not be so happy, with the Dodgers' self-fulfilling prophecy of a destructive bullpen helped by an offense that seems destined to keep every game close.

Demoted from his eighth-inning setup role, but not too far since he was called on a tie game in the seventh inning on Sunday, Chris Hatcher got Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista to open the inning, but then allowed two singles and a walk. The final hit would have only loaded the bases, but Thompson in right field bobbled the single by Kevin Pillar, allowing Justin Smoak to score the go-ahead run.

Hatcher in his last seven games has allowed nine runs (eight earned) on 10 hits in 5.. innings, with six walks and just two strikeouts.

With a 2-1 lead, the Jays in the eighth turned to Drew Storen, who nearly let the Dodgers back into the game on Friday night, loading the bases, and who has struggled this season since getting traded from Washington in the winter.

Storen immediately walked Chase Utley, then allowed a ground rule double to Corey Seager, the latter a sure run-scoring hit had the ball not bounced over the fence.

Toronto then turned to closer Roberto Osuna with nobody out in the eighth inning and the heart of the Dodgers' order due up. Justin Turner struck out looking, then Adrian Gonzalez was walked to load the bases.

Yasmani Grandal followed with a sacrifice fly to center field, a fly ball he knew was deep enough to tie the scoring run as soon as he hit it, as he gestured back to the Dodgers dugout a celebration of sorts.

With two outs, Kendrick delivered with a trademark single to right field to drive home the winner. Kendrick ended his road trip 7-for-20 (.350) with nearly as many hits in five games as he had in 19 games before the trip, when he was 8-for-56 (.143)

Both runs were charged to Storen, pushing his seasonal totals to 11 runs on 19 hits in 11 innings this season.

Ross Stripling was wonderful, giving the Dodgers and himself exactly what was needed on Sunday. Pitching on a full seven days rest, Stripling was sharp all game, and walked none over his six innings of work.

He struck out six, retired his final 11 batters faced and allowed just one hit, a leadoff double by Kevin Pillar in the third inning. Pillar scored on two ground balls.

The Dodgers got their own leadoff double in the sixth, into the right field gap by Thompson. It was the first hit of the game against Marco Estrada, who was putting up zeroes of his own. The Dodgers stranded Thompson, but were able to tie the game in the seventh when Joc Pederson hit a curve into the right field seats for his third home run of the road trip.

Estrada struck out eight in seven innings, allowing just three hits. Both starting pitchers on Sunday combined to allow two runs on four hits in 13 innings, with 14 strikeouts.

The Dodgers tacked on a run in the ninth, with Seager delivering an RBI single for his second hit of the day. Seager hit .375 (6-for-16) on the trip.

Kenley Jansen recorded the final four outs for his 11th save of the season, and his second this year longer than one inning. He entered in a one-run game in the eighth with the tying run on base, and got Jose Bautista on a soft liner to shortstop, an amazing diving catch by Utley, whose momentum carried him that direction after running to cover second base.

Up next

The Dodgers make the 2,500-mile trek home on Sunday night, then open a homestand at Dodger Stadium on Monday night, with Scott Kazmir starting against the Mets in the opener of a four-game series. Left-hander a Steven Matz starts for New York.

Sunday particulars

Home run: Joc Pederson (6)

WP - Chris Hatcher (3-3): 1 IP, 2 hits, 1 unearned run, 1 walk

LP - Drew Storen (0-2): 0 IP, 1 hit, 2 runs, 1 walk

Sv - Kenley Jansen (11): 1⅓ IP, 1 hit, 1 strikeout