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You can’t blame Rich Hill for this loss though. The curveball master (now sporting a full growth) was excellent as he pitched six scoreless innings en route to a no-decision. Hill returned from the disabled list and I’m guessing his finger was blisterless. Hill spun his trademark curveball with ease flummoxing the Chicago hitters through the night. Hill would allow just three hits and two walks while striking out six.
But Hill was a tad shaky in the early innings. The Cubs loaded the bases in the top of the second but Hill was able to pitch out of it getting a force out from Kyle Schwarber and a grounder from opposing starter Mike Montgomery. That was really the only trouble that Hill would get into until the bottom of the sixth when the Cubs would put runners at first and third. In that frame Javier Baez’s bunt single and Anthony Rizzo’s line drive single put the Dodgers in a jam. Hill would strike out Willson Contreras looking on a called third strike to end the inning, keeping the Cubs from scoring.
Dodgers 1 9 0
Cubs 2 8 0
Hill and the Dodgers would be locked into a pitching duel because opposing southpaw Montgomery was just as effective. The Dodger bats were unable to get the big hit and despite getting runners on base throughout the game, they just couldn’t get them in. Sound familiar? The Dodgers loaded the bases in the top of the second on two walks and a single. But Austin Barnes and Hill both whiffed and Chris Taylor flied out.
The Dodgers got two on in the top of the third, but Yasiel Puig lined out and Cody Bellinger struck out. The Dodgers got a lead-off double from Logan Forsythe in the top of the fourth and still couldn’t score. For the record Forsythe had the game of his life going 3 for 4 with two doubles, a single and a walk. In that inning Barnes, Hill and Taylor all made out without even advancing the runner. Excellent fundamentals boys!
The Dodgers finally scored in the top of the sixth. Bellinger walks and with two outs stole second. Light hitting Austin Barnes singles past the hole at short to score Bellinger and give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead. The lead wouldn’t last. In the bottom of the seventh, the Cubs would tie it. Erik Goeddel on the mound and not having allowed a run in Dodger blue this year (14.1 scoreless innings) gives up a massive solo blast to Kyle Schwarber to tie the game at 1-1. Let’s move to the top of the ninth.
The Dodgers had yet another opportunity to score. Guess what happened? Logan doubled and pinch-hitter Yasmani Grandal flies out. After Joc Pederson is intentionally walked, Taylor strikes out and Enrique Hernandez pops out. In the bottom of the ninth lefty Edward Paredes got two huge strikeouts (Schwarber, Happ) to get out of the inning.
The Dodgers had yet another chance to break the tie in the top of the tenth and again couldn’t do it. With Justin Hancock on the mound, Justin Turner walked. Max Muncy struck out and Puig flies out. But Bellinger strokes a single up the middle to send Turner to third. After Logan walks to load the bases, the Cubs made a pitching change. Up came Grandal with a chance to be the hero. Could he do it? Would he do it? Nope, he weakly flies out and the Dodgers are denied again.
In the bottom of the tenth the Dodgers essentially waived the white flag by bringing in Brock Stewart who was added on as the 26 man for the double-header. He’s been terrible all season and to nobody’s surprise he was terrible again. Stewart immediately gives up a triple into the right field corner to Kris Bryant. With a runner at third and nobody out the game was all but over. Predictably Stewart failed to record an out. Baez was intentionally walked and then with the infield playing up (because they had to at this point), Albert Almora Jr. banged a single through the infield into right field to plate the winning run. Dodgers lose.
In case you were wondering, the Dodgers stranded 13 runners on base today and were 2 for 15 with runners in scoring position in the nightcap. That’s just not going to get it done. It could have been much worse if not for the Farmer double in the first game. The Dodgers have to face Jon Lester in the rubber game on Wednesday afternoon. Ross Stripling will counter as the Dodgers look for the series win. Here’s hoping the bats get going again.