The Dodgers took advantage of two bad throws by the Cubs in the eighth inning, nipping Chicago 1-0 in the finale of a highly-exciting weekend series at Dodger Stadium.
Andrew Toles was hit by a pitch as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning, then as he jogged to first Dodger Stadium organist seized the moment by playing ‘Hit Me With Your Best Shot’ by Pat Benatar.
The Dodgers were truly able to take advantage when the Cubs decided to fire away. First, on a slow bouncer up the third base line by Howie Kendrick, pitcher Trevor Cahill uncorked an errant throw to first base that instead went down the right field line, putting two runners in scoring position.
After Corey Seager walked and Justin Turner struck out for the second out, Adrian Gonzalez hit a ground ball to Javier Baez that could have ended the inning. Baez could have easily thrown to first to retire Gonzalez, but he instead opted for the shorter throw to second base. The caveat here was that second baseman Ben Zobrist was shifted into short right field for the left-handed Gonzalez, so by the time he got to second base, a sliding Seager beat him to the bag by a whisker, extending the inning and allowing Toles to score the game’s only run.
Kenley Jansen, pitching for a third straight day and for the fifth time in the last six days, retired the Cubs in the ninth for his 39th save of the season.
In each of his first two major league starts, Brock Stewart was done in by a five-run inning, once in Milwaukee and once in Colorado. On Sunday, it was a completely different story.
Stewart still had a few big innings, but they involved the right-hander striking out six straight batters, including all three in a perfect third inning. Stewart struck out eight in his five innings on Sunday, allowing no runs on two hits with two walks.
With his spot up in the fifth inning, Stewart was lifted for a pinch hitter despite having thrown only 80 pitches. He also singled in the third inning for his first major league hit.
Don’t look now, but Dodgers starters have lasted five innings or longer in six straight starts.
No more against Lester
Stewart had to put up zeroes, if only to match Jon Lester, who struck out six of his own in six scoreless innings on Sunday. Lester struck out 10 Dodgers in a complete-game win at Wrigley Field on May 6, working around a first-inning run.
Counting Sunday’s effort, Lester now has a 14-inning scoreless streak against the Dodgers.
The Dodgers move on to Denver for three games, calling up a rookie from the Arizona League in Kenta Maeda to start the series opener at Coors Field. The Rockies will start Jon Gray in Monday night’s 5:40 p.m. PT contest.
Home runs: none
WP - Joe Blanton (5-2): 1 IP, 1 hit
LP - Trevor Cahill (3-4): ⅓ IP, 1 hit, 1 run, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Sv - Kenley Jansen (39): 1 IP, 1 strikeout