Taking advantage of mistakes is a key part of winning baseball games. Hitters thrive on them and bad things happen when errors occur in the field. It was the Cubs who did the benefitting Tuesday, seizing the opportunity presented by a Yasiel Puig gaffe in right field and a pitch out over the heart of the plate.
It was a disastrous sixth inning for the Dodgers that ended in a Javy Baez grand slam, sealing an 9-4 loss to Chicago.
With a 2-1 lead after five, Dave Roberts turned to his bullpen to protect the lead. A task that Dodger relievers haven’t had much trouble with for well over a month now. But this night would be different.
Ian Happ came up with one on and one out and lined a ball out towards the gap in right field that Puig got his glove on but didn’t catch. Instead, the ball bounced off his glove to the wall, allowing runners to reach second and third. Three batters and two singles later brought Baez to the plate with the bases full.
With a solo homer already to his credit on the night, Baez launched the first pitch he saw into the Dodger bullpen in left field. A flat 89-mph fastball over the heart of the plate from Edward Paredes that had no chance.
Ross Stripling pitched well in five innings of work, leaving the game with a lead after 86 pitches. The right-hander worked hard to scatter seven hits and a walk to only surrender one run.
The walk, issued to Happ in the fourth inning, ended Stripling’s streak of 127 batters without a free pass. Had the 28-year-old escaped the start without doing so, he would’ve become the first Dodger pitcher to go five starts over a calendar month without giving up a walk to the opposition.
It would figure that on a night when the Dodgers were 3-for-6 with runners in scoring position, they couldn’t get more going on offense.
On a positive note
Cody Bellinger was 2-for-4 with an RBI-single Tuesday and is now hitting .306/.434/.758 since June 5.
The Dodgers and Cubs continue their four-game series with Alex Wood (3-5, 4.13) and Kyle Hendricks (5-7, 3.73)
Home runs: Javy Baez 2 (16)
WP - Jon Lester (10-2): 5 IP, 4 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts
LP - Yimi Garcia (1-2): 2⁄3 IP, 2 hits, 3 runs (0 earned), 1 strikeout