Baseball is such a crazy game. You can never predict it. For example, did you guys think that Scott Kazmir would shutdown the best hitting club in all of baseball on just five hits over 8.2 innings? I sure didn’t. I figured Kazmir would get lit up like a Christmas tree. Fortunately that didn’t happen. Instead Kazmir was dominant, and the Dodgers scored five runs off of a tiring Carlos Martinez en route to an impressive 5-3 victory and a series win. Don’t look now but the Dodgers have gotten hot. They’ve won six of their last eight games.
Kazmir was incredibly good. This was his best start since his Dodger debut in San Diego. Overall Kazmir tossed 8.2 frames of three-run ball (two earned), allowing just five hits and striking out seven. He walked just one and the only unearned run allowed was because Corey Seager committed his third error in two nights. Kazmir was so close to tossing his first complete game since 2014 that is was almost heartbreaking. With just one out remaining in the ninth inning he allowed a single to Randal Grichuk, and a two-run home run to Jeremy Hazelbaker. The late home run can be forgiven since Kaz was at 120 pitches.
Cardinals 3 5 1
Dodgers 5 6 2
Speaking of Seager, he made up for his little bumble later in the game. Seager had two hits, driving in a run on a single in the fifth, and hitting a solo home run in the sixth. Adrian Gonzalez homered and drove in two as well as the Dodgers scored five runs on six hits. The Dodgers were 1 for 5 with runners in scoring position and left 4 men on base.
The Dodgers scored once in the fourth, three runs in the fifth, and one more in the seventh. The game started out as a nice little pitching duel between Kazmir and Carlos Martinez, until Martinez got gassed in the fifth inning and allowed three unanswered runs. The Cardinals scored their lone run in the fifth. The Dodgers took the lead first in the bottom of the fourth when Adrian Gonzalez bombed an opposite field home run. Martinez was throwing 100 mph heaters, and in the beginning the Dodgers were unable to catch up.
The Cardinals tied the game at 1-1 in the fifth on a two-base throwing error from Seager, a wild pitch, and a sacrifice fly from Martinez. The two clubs have played some sloppy baseball in this series. The Dodgers and Cardinals have combined for nine errors in the last two games with the gloveless wonders of Busch Stadium committing most of them.
With the score tied at 1-1, the Dodgers broke through in the bottom of the fifth. Martinez tossed 40 pitches in that inning as the Dodgers scored three times. Carl Crawford walks, and Kazmir follows with a bunt single to help his own cause. The Cardinal infield was unable to handle it which put runners at first and second. Martinez then walked Utley to load the bases. Seager’s groundball single into right field scores Crawford to give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead! Justin Turner’s sacrifice fly plated another run, and Gonzo’s ground out plated the third run. Dodgers take a 4-1 lead!
Martinez was knocked out of the box after just five innings and four earned runs on five hits. Meanwhile Kazmir continued to dominate. His velocity was up and his command was excellent. Kazmir was nearing a possible complete game, which he hadn’t tossed since 2014 when he was with Oakland.
The Dodgers added one more run when Seager homered in the bottom of the seventh. That was way more than the Dodgers would need. In the bottom of the ninth, Kazmir was allowed to go back out despite his rising pitch count. He whiffed Brandon Moss for the first out. Yadier Molina grounded out to short for the second out. Then Kazmir ran out of gas. Grichuk singled up the middle under Kazmir’s glove. Pinch-hitter Jeremy Hazelbaker smashed a two-out two-run home run to make the score 5-3 Dodgers. At 120 pitches, Kazmir was taken out, just one out shy of a complete game. Kenley Jansen was brought in and he easily whiffs Aledmys Diaz for the final out.
Kazmir balances his books with his third win of the season, and Kenley picks up his thirteenth save of the year. The Dodgers win their 20th game of the season and improve their record to 20-17. They have now won three in a row and will go for a sweep of the Cardinals Sunday evening as Mike Leake will counter Alex Wood at 5:05 PM on ESPN Sunday night baseball. Keep it rolling boys!