Dodgers 4, Rockies 1: King Kenta

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Apr 23, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Kenta Maeda (18) delivers a pitch in the second inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 23, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Kenta Maeda (18) delivers a pitch in the second inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Dodgers flirted with a no-hitter and got a surprising longball to take game two in Colorado. If Maeda continues to pitch like this, there is a 100 percent chance of me writing a Maeda-themed remix to Kendrick Lamar’s King Kunta. You have been warned.

I was very worried about Kenta Maeda starting in Colorado. No revisionist history out of me, I was terrified going into the game and my first priority was him coming out of the game healthy, followed by maybe pitching decently.

Of course, Maeda came 11 outs away from throwing the second no-hitter in Coors Field history. The first, as you all should know, came from former Dodger Hideo Nomo 20 years ago this September. Maeda allowed one baserunner in the first five innings when he walked Ben Paulson with two outs in the second. He got help from his defense, as Enrique Hernandez made a stellar catch in left, which prompted no-hitter talk. Seemingly every no-no has at least one great defensive moment behind it, and the butterfly effect conversation started with that catch. If Justin Turner doesn’t get stepped on yesterday, he’s probably in the lineup today, meaning Howie Kendrick is in left. Kendrick probably doesn’t make that catch, but it all ended up being meaningless when DJ LeMahieu knocked a single to center in the sixth.

Trevor Story followed the first hit with a second, which was followed by a third on a Carlos Gonzalez infield single. We went from no-hitter talk to bases loaded with one out in a blink, but Maeda got Nolan Arenado to pop out and Gerardo Parra to hit back to the box. In a way, those two outs told me more about Maeda than his previous 16, as escaping that type of jam with one of the best hitters in the NL at the plate is eye-opening. I loved the signing before I heard the terms, loved it even more after the contract was released, and now I’m pretty much ready to elope with that signing.

That’ll play.

Dodger fans should all know that dominant starting pitching doesn’t mean much if the bullpen can’t hold the lead. Luis Avilan took over for Maeda with one out in the seventh and got a weak grounder, but Corey Seager tried to make a difficult play and threw the ball in the stands. Avilan got a groundout for the second out and was replaced by Joe Blanton, who gave up an RBI double but kept the damage to a single run. Pedro Baez tossed a scoreless eighth, and Kenley Jansen closed it out.

Pitching was great (especially considering Coors), but the offense still had to do something. Much like yesterday, they did early as Seager singled and Yasiel Puig doubled with one out in the first. Adrian Gonzalez brought a run home on a groundout, and that run would end up being all the Dodgers need. They got insurance in the second on a two run bomb by A.J. Ellis (?)(!). Ellis singled in the sixth and was driven home on a Chase Utley RBI double.

Offense was good enough, pitching was spectacular. Good combination. The Dodgers look to take the series tomorrow with Alex Wood on the mound.

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