The Dodgers received good news prior to Monday night’s contest with the Cardinals. The anchor to the Dodger bullpen was cleared to make his return to the mound after nearly two weeks on the disabled list dealing with an irregular heartbeat.
It didn’t take long for Kenley Jansen to see some action, coming into the ninth inning of a tie game. It also didn't take long for the Cardinals to jump on Jansen immediately, slugging back-to-back homers within the first five pitches the big man threw to Jedd Gyorko and Matt Carpenter.
The anticipation of Jansen coming back to restore order quickly vanished as the Dodgers dropped another close one late, falling 5-3 to the Cards.
With the loss, the Dodgers fall to 2.5-games behind the idle Diamondbacks and two back in the wild card.
It’s not as if the chances weren’t there all night. Los Angeles ended the night going 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position, including the last at-bat of the night when Yasmani Grandal struck out for the third time of the night.
Reaching base wasn’t a problem for the Dodgers. They loaded the bases on the first three batters in the bottom of the first. They would not score. First and second and nobody out in the fourth, they would not score.
It wasn’t until the fifth inning, down 3-0, that the Dodgers finally broke through. A Brian Dozier walk and Justin Turner double set the table for Manny Machado, who busted a line drive up the middle to score Dozier. Turner would come home on a Cody Bellinger sacrifice fly.
The momentum of the game looked like it completely swung over to the Dodger dugout on one at-bat in the seventh. Max Muncy came off the bench with two on to face flamethrower Jordan Hicks, known to throw his fastball as hard as 105-mph this season.
Muncy didn't flinch on a 103-mph sinker, lining it into left field to tie the game at three apiece. Muncy almost did it again in the ninth, working an 11-pitch at-bat in the ninth only to strike out.
Max Muncy's game-tying single with 2 outs and 2 strikes in the bottom of the 7th inning came on a 103.0 mph sinker from Jordan Hicks. It's the fastest pitch anyone has recorded a hit on this season.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 21, 2018
The Dodgers have now lost 13 of the last 21.
Alex Wood didn’t figure in the game and wouldn’t last through the fifth inning. In a game that the Dodgers needed to win, manager Dave Roberts came with a quick hook when his lefty got into some trouble in the fifth.
Already down 1-0 after a Jose Martinez solo shot on the ninth pitch of the game, Wood allowed back-to-back hits to Matt Carpenter and Martinez to bring in another run. A four-pitch walk to Paul DeJong brought Roberts out to bring J.T. Chargois from the pen.
After jumping out to a 0-2 count against Marcell Ozuna, Chargois wouldn’t throw another strike. Bouncing ball four near the grass cutout at home brought Roberts and a trainer. The right-hander would leave the game with what the team described as neck discomfort.
That brought Pedro Baez to the mound in a tough bases loaded no outs situation. The big right-hander would get out of it cheaply enough after a walk to bring home the third run, getting the next three to end the threat.
The Dodgers and Cardinals get back after it in the middle game of the series. Hyun-jin Ryu (3-0, 1.77) takes the ball against Daniel Poncedeleon (0-0, 2.04).
Home runs: Jose Martinez (15), Jedd Gyorko (11), Matt Carpenter (34)
WP - Brett Cecil (1-1): 1⁄3 IP, 1 walk
LP - Kenley Jansen (0-4): 1 IP, 3 hits, 2 runs, 2 strikeouts
SV - Bud Norris (25): 1 IP, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts