Ok so let’s not talk about the Dodgers getting only two hits against rookie Duane Underwood Jr. and having only three hits through the first five innings. They only needed two of them, an Enrique Hernandez solo home run in the second, and another solo shot from Chris Taylor in the eighth. Kenta Maeda shutdown the Cubs over seven shutout frames and the Dodgers got a clutch double play in the top of the eighth and then survived a late Chicago rally to squeak by with a 2-1 win.
The Dodgers were flying home after sweeping the awful Mets to open a ten game home stand against the Cubs. The Cubs on the other hand had just gotten swept by the woeful Reds. The good news was that the Dodgers wouldn’t have to face Jon Lester. The bad news is they’ll have to face Lester tomorrow. On the other hand Duane Underwood, a rookie making his first MLB start or appearance looked extremely hittable. Until he wasn’t, limiting the Dodgers to just two hits across four innings.
The Dodgers did have an opportunity to score early when they loaded the bases in the bottom of the first. Two walks and a single put Dodgers on every base in the opening frame, but Yasmani Grandal flied out, the Dodgers stranding everyone. Hernandez led off the second inning with his thirteenth home run of the season, (using Utley’s bat) a laser into the left field corner.
Cubs 1 7 0
Dodgers 2 5 0
The Dodgers held onto their 1-0 lead for most of the game. The Cubs threatened in the top of the fifth, putting two runners on but Maeda got out of it when the Cubs bunted into a double play. Kyle Schwarber and Ian Happ singled to start the frame. Tommy La Stella grounded out to end the inning.
The Dodgers had a runner (Justin Turner) thrown out at the plate in the bottom of the sixth. Cody Bellinger doubled into left, Schwarber misplayed the ball as Bellinger strode into third. Turner was trying to score but was thrown out by the relay throw to Baez. Matt Kemp immediately grounded out after the Cubs made a pitching change.
Maeda was excellent. He was truly magnificent tossing seven shutout innings allowing just three hits and striking out nine. He only made 84 pitches and I have no idea why the Dodgers removed him. Southpaw Scott Alexander pitched the top of the eighth and was able to induce a clutch double play that cleaned up his own mess. That inning started when Happ and Contreras singled. There was a force out, and then Albert Almora Jr. grounded into an inning ending double play. On this play Hernandez made the stop and Bellinger’s pick at first was just in time to get Almora by a step.
Chris Taylor led off the bottom of the eighth by hitting a solo home run over the center field wall off of Justin Wilson. That gave the Dodgers a 2-0 lead. The question was would the lead hold? Kenley Jansen enters to close it out, and gets off to a shaky start. After Heyward popped out, Ben Zobrist singles off of Hernandez’s glove. Anthony Rizzo’s single to left, Zobrist advances to third on a balk and the Dodgers are really in trouble. Javier Baez drives a long fly ball to center, but Bellinger tracks it down at the warning track for a long scary out. Zobrist scores though on the sacrifice fly to make the score 2-1 Dodgers. Problem for the Cubs is that they’re still down by a run and two outs. Kenley recovers to get Schwarber to tap out in front of the plate. The Dodgers win it!
The Dodgers also picked up a game on the Dbacks after they lost their game to the Marlins. This was the game the Dodgers had to have with Lester looming tomorrow. Good thing the Dodgers have trusty Ross Stripling to counter.