In the first game of the post-Andrew Toles era, the Dodgers brought us Chase Utley and Scott Van Slyke as starters and Kenta Maeda to the mound. Twenty four hours ago, the Dodgers looked like a blue behemoth running over the Pirates. Now it was looking like even money for the sweep. Here’s how the game unfolded.
The blast from the kid put the Dodgers up 2-0. Then an RBI single from Chase Utley brought home Yasmani Grandal and the Dodgers were sitting pretty on a 3-0 lead.
Meanwhile, Maeda was getting plenty of routine and acrobatic defensive support to hold the Bucs scoreless through four innings.
Those days on the bench really recharged/motivated Utley, because he was it again in te fourth, with a gapper double to score Chris Taylor from first, and push the boys in blue up 4-0.
Meanwhile, Maeda was steady as she goes, and scoreless through six. Pitch count: 72. Then he was through 7 innings on 76 pitches, and heading for the 8th inning for the first time in his ML career.
Maeda made quick work of his first two batters in the eighth, dispatching them on three pitches, but he couldn’t get strike three on the next man, who fouled off five pitches before finally grounding into the 6-3 third out. Maeda finished at 89 pitches.
in the bottom of the eighth the Dodgers kept the steamroller going, with Grandal’s third hit of the night, a high-bouncing single over first base to score the Dodgers’ fifth run.
Then Maeda went to the mound in search of a complete game shutout. Harrison led off the ninth with a base hit, but it wasn’t terribly worrisome as he was the only Pirate to give Kenta any trouble all night (Harrison went 3 for 3).
However, that last batter in the eighth really took something out of Maeda, as his pitches looked tired and were hanging around the middle of the plate too much. The next batter then tagged Maeda for a two run bomb, and it was suddenly 5-2. The shutout was gone and the happy-go-lucky atmosphere was tainted, but the skipper left Maeda in for one more batter. He struck out McCutchen, and his night was through.
With one out, Grant Dayton came in for the finish. He made quick work of the next two Pirates to record his first save and complete the sweep!
Dodgers win 5-2!
On the bright side: There was a bit of cold water thrown on his game tonight with the home run, but Maeda gave 8 1/3 quality innings, was never really in trouble, and he led the Dodgers to the win. He only had five strike outs, but he had outstanding defense backing him up, and the Bucs were never able to put a rally together.
Now playing, Bugs Bunny: Cody Bellinger played left field and first base, hit a home run and made a tumbling, head over heels catch in the field.
Kenta Maeda (3-2) went 8 1/3 with 5 hits, 2 runs, 0 walks, 5 Ks. ERA 5.03