It looks like reports of the Dodger’s demise were greatly exaggerated. The boys in blue piggybacked off of their exciting 9-7 win in the series opener on Thursday by making a commanding statement on Friday night at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. If the Dodgers are making a statement, they certainly did that in the second game of the series by shutting out and shutting down the Cardinals 3-0. The win pulls them even in the Wild Card race, and at the moment one game behind the Rockies, with Colorado currently losing in San Francisco.
Rookie phenom Walker Buehler completely manhandled the Red Birds with a dominating performance. The young hurler tossed eight innings and limited the Cardinals to just two hits, two walks and struck out nine. Buehler mixed an impressive repertoire of 99 MPH heaters and knee buckling off-speed pitches throughout the night. Buehler retired the first 13 batters he faced until Paul DeJong’s line drive single in the bottom of the fifth. The Cardinals had just four runners reach base against Buehler, and only two runners reached scoring position.
Dodgers 3 7 0
Cardinals 0 2 0
Dodger wild horse Yasiel Puig provided most of the offense single handedly with two solo home runs. One in the top of the second, a laser shot into the left field shrubs, and a bomb in the top of the ninth against Cardinal reliever Tyler Webb. The third Dodger run was plated in the top of the seventh on a passed ball. St. Louis starter Jack Flaherty pitched just as well as Buehler did, tossing six innings of one-run ball and striking out eight. Flaherty actually took the loss but he definitely did not deserve it. That’s baseball folks.
The Dodgers started the game by stranding two in the top of the first. Puig smashed his first home run in the top of the second. The Dodgers had another opportunity in the top of the fifth when Enrique Hernandez singled and a wild pitch moved him to second. But Buehler whiffed and Joc Pederson grounded out.
The bottom of the fifth gave Buehler his first taste of trouble in the game when he allowed the one-out single to DeJong (The Card’s first base runner of the night) and after Kolten Wong’s loud out to right, Harrison Bader singled DeJong to second. Buehler got Yadier Molina to sharply ground out to third with Justin Turner making a great play to throw him out.
With the boys in blue up 1-0, they looked to add more in the top of the seventh. St. Louis reliever Dakota Hudson began the frame by hitting Cody Bellinger with a pitch. Although the call was fairly questionable. Puig’s ground ball single to left put two on with none out. Pinch-hitter Chase Utley’s fly to left moved the runners over to second and third. After Buehler struck out, Joc came to the plate with a chance to knock in a pair. The next pitch gets away from Molina, allowing to Bellinger to score on the passed ball. A rarity for the sure handed veteran Molina. Nobody was covering and Molina’s throw back to the plate goes wide with Matt Adams getting to the ball and tossing to Hudson to tag out Bellinger who also tried to score. But the damage was done and the Dodgers took a 2-0 lead.
Buehler continued to dominate, recording a 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh. Turner and Max Muncy both walked in the bottom of the eighth, but the Dodgers couldn’t score. Buehler started to run out of gas in the bottom of the eighth, but was able to escape a late inning jam. A lead-off walk to Kolten Wong followed by a ground force out from Bader (with Dozier and Machado making a terrific play) brought Molina up with a chance to redeem himself. He popped out though, but Buehler walked Jedd Gyorko to put the go-ahead run to the plate. Buehler strikes out Matt Carpenter to preserve the Dodger lead.
In the top of the ninth, Puig blasted his second home run of the night and the Dodgers went up by a 3-0 score. Move to the bottom of the ninth. In comes big man Kenley Jansen to close shop. He hits Munoz with a pitch to start the inning. GULP…..Adams lines out to Bellinger who tries to tag Munoz for a double play. It looked like he might have gotten it, but the review upheld the original call on the field. Marcell Ozuna pops up for the second out, and Kenley whiffs DeJong looking for the final out of the game. Dodgers win it 3-0!
The Dodgers look for the series win on Saturday morning as Rich Hill counters John Gant. The Dodgers are looking good! First pitch is scheduled for 10:05 AM PST. Hey even I am starting to feel optimistic, and that scares the crap out of me. Happy Friday people!