LOS ANGELES — Alex Wood continued his magnificent May, and the Dodgers backed him with some big shots against Jake Arrieta to take the opener against the Cubs, 4-0 on Friday night at Dodger Stadium.
Wood continued his pattern of success, striking out eight in his five innings while inducing four ground outs and no fly ball outs. Wood held the Cubs scoreless in his five innings, running his scoreless streak to 25⅓ consecutive innings, the longest streak in the majors this season.
“It’s nice when you can get the ball on the ground, these days with guys trying to elevate so much,” Wood said.
With the five scoreless frames on Friday, Wood is the first Dodgers pitcher with four consecutive scoreless starts since Clayton Kershaw from July 8 to Aug. 1, 2015.
Wood in May has made five starts, allowed five total runs (four earned), and has five wins, to go with 41 strikeouts and seven walks for the month.
“He’s as confident as any player I’ve ever been around,” manager Dave Roberts said.
Chase Utley hit a solo home run in the third inning against Arrieta, the second home run in as many days for Utley, for his first two home runs of the season. Utley also later stole a base, joining Yasiel Puig (twice) and Cody Bellinger as the only Dodgers to hit a home run and steal a base in the same game in 2017.
After a Corey Seager walk in the fourth inning, Yasmani Grandal continued his own torrid May with an RBI double, his career-best 10th of this month.
Adrian Gonzalez added some insurance with a two-run shot in the sixth inning, a no-doubter to dead center clubbed 429 feet for his first of the season.
“I really haven’t seen him to get into a ball like that in a couple years,” Roberts said. “It’s just coming off [his bat] a lot better. Hopefully he’s figured something out.”
It snapped a drought this season of 35 games and 131 plate appearances, both the longest of Gonzalez’s career.
Since his return from the disabled list on May 18, five of Gonzalez’s seven hits are for extra bases.
“If I’m healthy, I feel like I can do things. If I’m not, I feel like I’m fighting myself more than I’m fighting the pitcher,” Gonzalez said. “It’s still not 100%, but it’s getting better.”
About the only negative for Wood on Friday was that he needed 91 pitches to complete five innings, and was removed for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the fifth in what was at the time a two-run game.
But the bullpen was more than up to the task, with Pedro Baez contributing two scoreless innings and Chris Hatcher did the same to close out the win.
Wood even saw seven pitches in his one at-bat, striking out in the third inning against Arrieta. Wood has averaged 4.3 pitches per plate appearance this season, a mark topped on the team only by Logan Forsythe and Joc Pederson. Wood’s explanation was pretty simple.
“When I swing, I’m just not hitting it as often,” Wood said, laughing.
These two teams have split four games this season, but thanks to Friday the Dodgers now lead the Cubs in total runs scored in their contests, eight to seven.
Brandon McCarthy takes the mound on Saturday afternoon, a tweener 4:15 p.m. PT start because of the national Fox broadcast. He will face John Lackey, who ranks third among active pitchers with 425 career starts.
Home runs: Chase Utley (2), Adrian Gonzalez (1)
WP - Alex Wood (6-0): 5 IP, 2 hits, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts
LP - Jake Arrieta (5-4): 6 IP, 5 hits, 4 runs, 1 walk, 9 strikeouts