Kenta Maeda shined as the Dodgers got the win in their final game before the All-Star break.
The game got off to a great start when Kenta Maeda put together a 1-2-3 first inning and escaped the inning by only throwing 14 pitches. The Dodgers got on the board in the bottom of the first inning when Howie Kendrick led off with a double and Corey Seager singled to right center to collect another RBI and give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead. However, the Dodgers would leave two more runners on when Trayce Thompson struck out to end the inning.
The Dodgers would add another run in the bottom of the second when Yasmani Grandal led off with a single. Scott Van Slyke came up to bat and also singled. With two runners on, Maeda came to the plate and tried to bunt up the third base side, however his bunt was too hard and turned into a fielder’s choice. Grandal was called out at third. They would get one more run when Kendrick singled in Van Slyke.
The Padres would finally get on the board in the top of the fifth inning when Derek Norris hit a solo shot and sent one yard. The score was now 1-2, Dodgers. In the bottom half of the same inning, Adrian Gonzalez hit a solo home run to left. In the last 12 games, Gonzalez has a .450 batting average, with 6 doubles and 10 RBI’s. He requested a day off from Dave Roberts in the middle of June and Gonzo has been on fire since. The veteran clearly knows what he needs and when he needs a quick breather. The Dodgers now led by a score of 3-1.
Maeda was great today! He went seven innings, allowed one run, and struck out 13 batters. He was pretty much lights out to the Padres offense. He held them to just two hits and the one run he allowed was a mistake on one pitch to Norris. Maeda also did what Dodger starters have not been able to do, go deep in a game. The last starter to go seven innings was Clayton Kershaw on June 20. Also, his 13 strike outs on the day set a new career high.
Joe Blanton came in from the bullpen to pitch the eighth inning. All he did was get a quick 1-2-3 outing and hand the ball to Kenley Jansen. Jansen came in and things started a little shaky. Travis Jankowski reached first on an infield single to lead off the top of the ninth and then Jansen walked Melvin Upton Jr. With two runners on and no outs, Wil Myers struck out. Jansen then had to work a difficult at bat against Matt Kemp. He finally got Kemp to strike out after what felt like a 50 pitch AB as Kemp continued to foul them off. It took Jansen 30 pitches but the inning finally ended when Yangervis Solarte flied out to left and SVS was there to catch the wall and secure with win.
The Dodgers head into the All-Star break at a season high 11 games over .500. Maeda was the player of the game, no doubt about that. The Dodgers are now 6 games back in the NL West. The Giants will be facing the Diamondbacks later this evening. Dodger players are now officially on their All-Star break. Here’s to hoping they come back refreshed and ready to take over first place from the Giants. The Dodgers will be back Friday night in Phoenix as they face the Diamondbacks for a 6:40 PM start.