That’s four straight wins for the Dodgers, and four straight games scoring at least five runs, with 26 runs during that stretch.
One night after rain halted play for one hour, 44 minutes in the series opener, the rain came a little earlier on Tuesday. The two teams only got two innings before the skies opened up, continuing a streak that covers every Dodgers game in the state so far this season.
Dodgers 2021 games in Pennsylvania
|Tue, Jun 8||Pirates||0:30||W, 5-3|
|Wed, Jun 9||Pirates||1:10||W, 2-1|
|Thu, Jun 10||Pirates||1:15||W, 6-3 (8 innings)|
|Tue, Aug 10||Phillies||1:44||W, 5-0|
|Wed, Aug 11||Phillies||0:57||W, 8-2|
On a relative basis, Wednesday night’s 57-minute delay was shorter than the Dodgers are used to in the Keystone State, nine minutes shorter than the average delay of the five games in Pennsylvania this season.
For what it’s worth, Weather.com forecasts a two-percent chance of rain around game time on Thursday afternoon, so perhaps the streak will end.
Pitching strategies varied on Wednesday, with Phillies manager Joe Girardi holding back starter Kyle Gibson, opting for a pair of relievers until the rains came. Dave Roberts, on the other hand, stuck with his starter, and David Price had one of his most impressive outings of the year, considering the circumstances.
Price threw 35 pitches in two scoreless innings before the rain delay, and remained in the game after roughly an hour off the mound.
“The bullpen threw a lot yesterday, and I needed to go out there and give us a couple more innings,” Price said.
He pitched a scoreless third, and induced a ground ball that could have been an inning-ending double play in the fourth had Trea Turner not overthrown a wet ball to first base, extending the frame. A double followed, then a seeing-eye single by Ronald Torreyes gave the Phillies their first two runs.
Two runs in four innings might not seem all that great, especially considering he induced only one swing and miss. But add in the weather interruption and the fact that Price has pitched five or more innings only twice this season, this was a welcome start. Especially considering the current state of the Dodgers pitching staff, needing innings wherever they can find it over the next few weeks.
Price left with a lead, thanks in large part to the first extra-base hit of his career, an RBI double off Gibson in the top of the fourth that produced one of the biggest smiles you’ll ever see.
“He’s got a two-game hitting streak,” a smiling Roberts said of Price’s double.
That was the third run scored in the fourth inning. The first two came on one of the best at-bats of the season. Cody Bellinger, mired in a horrific slump for pretty much all of this injury-plagued season, fouled off nine pitches from Gibson before going opposite field and hitting one over the left field wall for the first runs of the game.
“I knew it was long,” Bellinger said of the 13-pitch plate appearance, the longest of his career. “We were both grinding. He was making good pitches, and I just continued to foul them off. He left one in the middle of the plate that I saw well, and tried to put a good swing on it.”
“I thought it changed the game,” Roberts said. “They bring in their starter Gibson to get some length and finish the game, and that homer was a huge lift for us and kind of a back breaker for those guys.”
For good measure, Bellinger later in the game had a 10-pitch at-bat, then in the ninth he homered again, this one a towering shot down the right field line, just inside the foul pole.
He saw 38 pitches in five at-bats on Wednesday, and fouled off 19. Bellinger hit two balls in fair territory, and both left the park.
“We need Belli to be Belli,” Price said. “To put as many balls foul as he did, then hit a two-run homer, that’s a really good sign.”
After four home runs in his first 51 games of the season, Bellinger has four homers in his last four games.
“I’m feeling stronger, I’m feeling healthy,” Bellinger said. “That helps you feel better at the plate as well.”
Philadelphia’s strategy of waiting to deploy Gibson got him through one more out than Price, and the Dodgers scored six runs off him. Three insurance runs came in the seventh, two thanks to a pair at unexpected positions.
Corey Seager’s ground ball got under the glove of Alec Bohm, a third baseman starting his first game of the season at first base, scoring Turner. One batter later, a pitch from Gibson found its way through catcher Andrew Knapp’s legs for a passed ball, plating Max Muncy. Knapp entered the game in the second inning after All-Star catcher JT Realmuto took two foul tips off his mask.
What a relief
For the second straight night, the bullpen recorded more outs than the Dodgers starter, and for the second straight night LA relievers put up zeroes. The Dodgers’ bullpen has combined for 10 relief appearances and 10⅔ scoreless innings in the first two games of the series, allowing five hits and four walks, with 17 strikeouts.
Effective relief by Brusdar Graterol, retiring all six batters he faced, earned him the win, and the insurance runs in the seventh bought him a second inning on the mound. In between, Graterol batted for the first time ever in the majors. He popped out, but more importantly was ready to swing right out of the gate.
Graterol in his last nine appearances has allowed only one run in 9⅓ innings, with nine strikeouts (a 25-percent strikeout rate) and two walks.
Home runs: Cody Bellinger 2 (9)
WP — Bursdar Graterol (3-0): 2 IP, 2 strikeouts
LP — Kyle Gibson (8-4): 4⅓ IP, 6 hits, 6 runs (3 earned), 3 walks, 3 strikeouts
Getaway day features a morning start out west (10:05 a.m. PT, SportsNet LA). Mitch White will pitch the bulk of innings for the Dodgers on Thursday, either by starting or following an opener. Closer-turned-starter Ranger Suarez starts on the mound for the Phillies.