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This was a well earned and hard fought win against a tough team. Dodger starter Ross Stripling looked hot early on, but the Phillies ran up his pitch count which led to his early departure from the game in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Dodgers had a three-run lead entering the bottom of the fifth thanks to four solo home runs from Max Muncy, Yasmani Grandal, Chris Taylor, and Joc Pederson. Muncy and Grandal went back-to-back in the top of the first against opposing starter Zach Eflin.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) July 23, 2018
Dodgers 7 10 1
Phillies 6 8 0
Eflin, a former Dodger who was acquired in the Matt Kemp/Yasmani Grandal deal and then traded to the Phillies the next day for Jimmy Rollins back in 2014 was just activated off the disabled list due to finger blisters. It’s unknown if the blisters were still bothering him or not but Eflin had come into the game with a 6-0 record and a 2.32 ERA over the last two calendar months.
The Man. pic.twitter.com/6bfo4gsdpe
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) July 23, 2018
Eflin didn’t last long in this game as he allowed three earned runs over 2.2 innings and walked three. He made 75 pitches and gave up three of the four Dodger homers. The Philadelphia bullpen gave up the other dinger. Unfortunately the Phillies got to Stripling in the fifth frame hitting two home runs, including a game-tying three-run shot from Rhys Hoskins to put four runs on the board and exit the inning with a 5-4 lead. A single from Jorge Alfaro and a double from Jesmuel Valentin put two on with one out. Stripling got a clutch strikeout on Carlos Santana but Hoskins deposited the ball into the left field stands. Odubel Herrera added a solo home run for good measure and it appeared the Dodgers had left Strip in for too long. Left hander Zac Rosscup had to come in and record the final out by striking out Nick Williams.
The Dodgers tied the score in the seventh thanks to Manny Machado’s unbelievable talent. The guy is next level. With one out he tripled into the right field corner. A shallow fly to center from Max Muncy didn’t look deep enough to score Machado but he races home sliding in head first to beat the throw and tie the game at 5-5. Great slide!
The game remained tied in the top of the ninth as Philadelphia brought in standout reliever Seranthony Dominguez. But Dominguez had control issues. Newly recalled Alex Verdugo (called up because Justin Turner was placed on the disabled list) drew a lead-off walk. Joc singled and after Machado struck out, Muncy walked. With Grandal at the plate, a wild pitch scored Verdugo to give the Dodgers a 6-5 lead. After another walk to Grandal to load the bases, Kemp’s single into left scored the second run of the inning to put the Dodgers up 7-5. We’ll find out later on how important that wild pitch was. Cody Bellinger grounded into an inning ending double play but the Dodgers had the lead.
In the bottom of the ninth, Kenley Jansen was called into close things out. Maikel Franco hit his second home run of the game on Kenley’s first pitch of the inning to cut the Dodger’s lead to 7-6. Franco knocked in the first Philadelphia run of the game with his second inning solo home run. Kenley would settle in and retire the next three batters, striking out Andrew Knapp and Alfaro to end the game.
Speaking of which, I know I complain a lot about the Dodger bullpen, but they were excellent today. Over 4.1 innings the Dodger relievers allowed just one run on one hit, no walks and struck out six. Five relievers, Rosscup, J.T. Chargois, Daniel Hudson, Scott Alexander, and Kenley were brilliant tonight. The series continues tomorrow and won’t get any easier as Kenta Maeda is due to counter Aaron Nola with first pitch scheduled for 4:05 PM PST. The Dodgers improved to 56-44 and maintain their 1.5 game lead in the National League West.