Rich Hill was every bit as impressive as the Dodgers hoped in his debut with the club, pitching six scoreless innings to help the Dodgers to a fourth straight victory, 1-0 over the Giants on Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium. The win gave the Dodgers a three-game lead over San Francisco in the National League West, their largest division lead of the season.
Justin Turner homered in the fourth for the game’s only run.
The start for Hill came 23 days after he was acquired by the Dodgers, and 38 days after his last major league start, with Oakland. But in that July 17 start Hill left after just five pitchers, experiencing the same blister problems on his left hand that has kept him sidelined since. So in reality, his last real start was July 7, so this start on Wednesday was nearly seven weeks in the making.
Hill was incredibly effective on Wednesday, holding the Giants scoreless on five hits for six innings. The left-hander with a flourishing hop to finish his delivery struck out three and walked none, keeping San Francisco off balance all night with a combination of fastballs and curves.
The three-week wait for Hill’s Dodgers debut was probably worth it just for this first-inning curve to catch Brandon Crawford looking:
Hill threw 63 of his 81 pitches for strikes, and even though his pitch count was low he was pulled after his six innings, understandable for his first real start in 48 days.
Hill also batted for the first time in a major league game for the first time since June 25, 2009. He struck out twice in his two at-bats.
Johnny Cueto was nearly as good in his six strong innings for the Giants, striking out six while allowing just four hits and a walk.
But one of those hits was a home run by Turner in the fourth inning, one of five hits he has in the series.
Turner’s career-best month for home runs entering this season was six, hit in June 2015. His blast to left field of Cueto on Wednesday was Turner’s sixth home run this August, with seven games remaining in the month. This is following eight home runs this June, and seven more in July.
The home run was one of two hits on the night for Turner, who is hitting .343/.361/.729 with 14 extra-base hits in 18 games in August.
The Giants threatened against Joe Blanton in the eighth, putting runners on the corners with two outs, down a run. Crawford then tattooed a ball to deep right field, but on its way out of the park the ball decided to cut short the trip, instead falling in Josh Reddick’s glove at the right field wall to end the inning.
Kenley Jansen struck out two in a perfect ninth for his 37th save, giving him 604 career strikeouts, tying Jim Brewer for the most by a reliever in Dodgers history.
The Dodgers send Ross Stripling to the mound in the series finale on Thursday, his first start in seven days. The Giants counter with left-hander Matt Moore, acquired on Aug. 1 from Tampa Bay.
Home run: Justin Turner (24)
WP - Rich Hill (10-3): 6 IP, 5 hits, 3 strikeouts
LP - Johnny Cueto (14-4): 6 IP, 4 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts
Sv - Kenley Jansen (37): 1 IP, 2 strikeouts