LOS ANGELES — On Thursday night, the Dodgers scored all their runs via the home run in their victory over the Cubs. Though all their runs didn’t come from the long ball on Friday night, home runs are what put them over the edge and helped them pick up the 5-3 victory.
After an Anthony Rizzo two-run shot in the first, the Dodgers found themselves down multiple runs in the first inning for the second consecutive night. LA was able to come from behind and win yesterday, and they did the same again today.
After a Max Muncy double, Matt Beaty stepped up to the plate with two outs in the second inning. He connected on an 80-mph change-up, sending his first career home run into the right-field bleachers.
“I don’t usually hit balls that high, so off the bat I knew I got it good.” Beaty said. “The launch angle and everything was right, so I knew it was gone.”
While in Oklahoma City, Beaty had three home runs in 28 games. Through his first 17 with the Dodgers, he still had yet to hit his first. “It’s in the back of my mind,” Beaty said, “Hey I haven’t hit a home run yet, I try not to put too much pressure on myself. Just going up there and take every at bat as it is.”
A home run from Kris Bryant gave the Cubs the lead yet again in the third. Their lead was short-lived, as Justin Turner countered with a solo shot of his own, tying the game at three. For Turner, it was the 100th homer of his career, and his 92nd as a Dodger.
The Dodgers took the lead in the fourth, from the most unlikely hitter in the lineup. With two outs and a runner on second, Rich Hill and his beautiful batting stance squeaked one in between third and shortstop, bringing in the go-ahead run. “I’ll take any hits I can get,” Hill said. “Just stuck the bat out there, and fortunately got a hit.”
With the RBI, he now has 13 for his career. When asked if that was the first time he ever had a game-winning hit, he jokingly said he didn’t know. “You have to back to the 20’s or 30’s.”
For Hill, he truly did it on both sides tonight. He threw seven innings, allowing three runs while striking out seven and issuing no walks. Early on, it looked like it would be a rough outing for Hill. He allowed two runs in the first, and a total of three through the first three innings. Over his last four innings, he was nearly unhittable, retiring 12 of the final 13 batters he faced.
For most pitchers, they see a decrease in efficiency every time they go through the order of the lineup. Not Hill. Unlike most pitchers, he actually improves against hitters each time through the lineup. “I always say ‘the hitter gets to see us three times and we get to see them three times as well’,” Hill said. “I think the curveball got better as the outing went on. Just continued to change the shape of it and work it to both sides of the plate and up and down in the zone. It’s a tough lineup to navigate through. Just kept making pitches, that was it.”
Hill continued his stellar start to the season, as his ERA sits at 2.60 through his first nine starts. He hasn’t allowed more than three runs in a start this season.
Pedro Baez threw a scoreless eighth, continuing his recent stretch of dominance that seems to have flown under the radar. Dating back to April 25, Baez has an ERA of 1.67. He has 14 strikeouts in 16 2⁄3 innings of work, and is holding opponents to right under a .160 average. “He showed you how mentally tough he is,” Kenley Jansen said about his teammate. “All the stuff he went through, still being out there and being consistent with it, he helped us win a ballgame.”
Jansen closed things off in the ninth for his 20th save of the season. For Jansen, he struck out the side, and continued his recent stretch of dominance. In his last 10 appearances, Jansen has 16 strikeouts, one walk. and has allowed no runs on only four hits.
Although it’s been his best stretch of the season, he’s not satisfied with it. “I’m not going to be satisfied with what I do,” he said. “Whether I do great or bad. It’s always just making sure you know what you’re doing out there. Being consistent. I just want to be consistent.”
WP: Rich Hill (4-1) 7 IP, 7 SO, 3 ER, 0 BB
LP: Kyle Hendricks (7-5) 4 1⁄3 IP, 5 ER, 1 SO
SV: Kenley Jansen (20) 1 IP, 3 SO
Home runs: Matt Beaty (1), Justin Turner (7), Anthony Rizzo (18), Kris Bryant (15)
The Dodgers will square off against Yu Darvish tomorrow. They’ll counter with Walker Buehler on the mound. First pitch is at 6:10 p.m. PT.