In what has been a relatively low-scoring series, the Cubs and Dodgers traded home runs on Wednesday night, but unfortunately for Los Angeles the home team's long ball came with a runner on base, and with it a 2-1 Chicago victory in the third game of a four-game series
Kiké Hernandez struck first, hitting the second pitch of the game from Jon Lester into the left field bleachers for a quick 1-0 lead.
The Dodgers would get three more hits off Lester, including a double by Trayce Thompson, but none of them came in the same inning, keeping the Dodgers from doing any further damage. Lester struck out 10 and walked none, throwing 113 pitches in his eight innings.
Lester had streaks of 10 consecutive batters retired and 15 consecutive batters retired, the latter from innings five through nine to finish his first complete game of the season.
Mike Bolsinger had an ominous start, allowing his first two batters to reach on just five pitches, hitting Dexter Fowler and walking Jason Heyward in the first inning. But Bolsinger was able to rebound, throwing 12 of the next 13 pitches for strikes, including two strikeouts, to get out of the frame.
Bolsinger would strike out six in his five innings, and allowed only two hits, though the wildness came back to haunt him a little bit. He hit another batter, but it was his second walk — to Fowler in the third inning — that proved to be the biggest regret, as Kris Bryant two batters later launched one over the center field wall to give the Cubs a 2-1 victory.
The start by Bolsinger was the ninth straight by a Dodger allowing three or fewer runs, and the bullpen that followed was stellar.
Pedro Baez retired all six batters he faced, in the sixth and seventh innings, including two strikeouts, and Casey Fien struck out three batters in a scoreless eighth. Fien has struck out seven of his 10 batters faced as a Dodger.
After two straight one-hit wins — one by each team — to open the series, Wednesday saw the two teams combine for seven hits. But it was a walk, and the disappearing of the Dodgers' offense over the final five innings, that tiled the scales in Chicago's favor.
The Dodgers have allowed four total runs in this series in Chicago but so far have lost two of three games because of an unreliable offense that, even with the various pitching injuries the club continues to endure, is the festering wound that needs to be addressed before any realistic thoughts of October success are entertained.
The Dodgers try for a winning road trip with an 11:20 a.m. PT start on getaway day Thursday, with Julio Urias making his second major league start in the series finale. The Cubs will counter with right-hander Kyle Hendricks.
Home runs: Kiké Hernandez (3); Kris Bryant (12)
WP - Jon Lester (6-3): 9 IP, 4 hits, 1 run, 10 strikeouts
LP - Mike Bolsinger (1-2): 5 IP, 2 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts