LOS ANGELES — — The Dodgers have a script that has worked so far this season and on Sunday, they followed it to another win. The 8-0 victory gave the Dodgers a sweep over the Phillies and extended the Dodgers winning streak to five games.
Rich Hill had another great outing. Hill pitched seven scoreless innings with nine strikeouts.
“I think everybody on the staff as a whole takes pride if you want to call that,” Hill said, “in being aggressive, attacking hitters and throwing strikes, you have good mix of doing that, and you focus in on the moment, focus in on the pitch at the end, you are going to be successful more often than not.”
But today Hill was matched pitch by pitch by Phillies starter Nick Pivetta. Though how well Pivetta pitched did not cross Hill’s mind today.
“I don’t really focus in on what the other guy is doing,” Hill said, “it’s really just about keeping your own game in check and understanding what you need to do continue to do well to get ready for that next inning.”
The Dodgers script has been good starting pitching, power, patience and timely hitting. They got all of that on Sunday though it took a while to get the offense going because of a excellent start by the Phillies starter
Pivetta pitched six scoreless innings and gave up three hits while striking out nine. He was doing a good job keeping the Dodger hitters off-balance with his knuckle curve and a fastball sitting at 94-95 MPH.
So in the top of the seventh with two out, César Hernández hit a double. After a meeting on the mound, the Dodgers intentionally walked Maikel Franco.
Phil Gosselin came in to pinch-hit for Pivetta. Hill would get him looking for his final strikeout of the game.
“I made a poor pitch a few at-bats before with a breaking ball I left over, kind of left it too much middle,” Hill said, “oh yeah, I wanted to get out of that inning without them scoring and give us a chance to win.”
So Dodgers finally got to hit against someone besides Pivetta and David Freese was able to make something happen in his next plate appearance.
Freese faced reliever Vince Velasquez and he hit a solo home run to put the Dodgers in front 1-0. And with that, Hill left the game with the slimmest of leads.
After Pedro Baez pitched a scoreless eighth, the Dodgers were able to put the game away.
In the bottom of the eighth, Max Muncy lined a shot to right-center. Bryce Harper moved to his right but then realized it was over his head. That would become a double for Muncy.
Corey Seager followed the double with a walk. Muncy moved to third on Cody Bellinger’s fly out to right. With the infield in, Alex Verdugo grounded a single to right that scored Muncy.
Freese drove in his second run of the game with a ground single to center. Verdugo moved to third to put runners on first and third again. And then things got a little crazy.
Chris Taylor laid down a squeeze bunt to score Verdugo and the throw to first got away. Freese was able to score to make it 5-0. Kiké Hernández was able to make it 6-0 with a sacrifice fly.
Finally, Joc Pederson decided that there was enough small ball in the inning so he hit a two-run homer to end the scoring and give the Dodgers an eight-run lead.
“The eighth inning was huge,” Hill said, “watching everyone come up and continue to pass the torch, keep the line moving.”
With their big lead, Joe Kelly came in to finish the game. And on this day, Kelly was able to do so in style, retiring the side in order, with two strikeouts.
Matt Beaty left the game in the top of the fifth inning with left hip tightness.
WP: Rich Hill (2-1), 7 IP, 3 H, 3 BB, 9 SO
LP: Vince Velasquez (2-3), ⅔ IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB
Home Runs: David Freese (6), Joc Pederson (18)
The Dodgers head out for an eight-game road trip starting on Monday at Arizona. The Dodgers have 32 games left before the All-Star break and 26 of them will be against the National League West.
Tomorrow evening, Walker Buehler and Robbie Ray are scheduled to start. First pitch will be at 6:40 p.m. PDT.