The Dodgers responded to a 16-inning loss with a decisive win in game two.
Both offenses were quiet in the first two innings, save for Howie Kendrick extending his hitting streak to 15 games with a single to center. He was caught stealing immediately, but after a terrible start to the season, Kendrick is balancing out and creeping back up to that .280-.290 range, and if he can stay there it improves the offense a bunch, even if his left field defense is Crawfordesque.
After a quiet two innings, the Dodgers lit up Mike Leake in the third. They small-balled their way to some runs after Andrew Toles reached on an infield single and Joc Pederson reached on an outfield single. With runners on the corners, Kenta Maeda laid down a perfect bunt and Toles’ speed led to the first run. The Cardinals messed up covering the bunt and no one was at first, so Maeda reached safely. Chase Utley sacrificed the runners to second and third, and Corey Seager hit an infield single to short that drove in a run. Maeda made a heads-up play on the basepaths to get to third, but it didn’t really matter as Justin Turner crushed a ball to the right-center gap to clear the bases and put the Dodgers up 4-0.
Maeda cruised to the fifth, facing the minimum in each of the first four innings. He allowed a hit in the first, but immediately erased that on a double play. Maeda got bitten by the home run bug in the fifth, as last night’s Cardinal hero Matt Adams hit a homer to lead off the inning. Maeda got the next three outs relatively easily, but the shutout was over.
The Dodgers would respond with a first-baseman-leadoff-homer of their own, as Adrian Gonzalez crushed a dinger to dead center to lead off the top of the sixth. Unlike Maeda, Leake couldn’t limit the damage, as Yasmani Grandal and Toles each hit one-out singles. Toles took second on a pitch in the dirt, and Pederson laced a single that scored Grandal. Toles was caught in between third and home, but a throwing error by Adams allowed him to score to make it 7-1.
Maeda’s tendency to struggle the third time through the lineup popped up again, as he gave up another run in the sixth. Alberto Rosario hit a single to right to start the inning. Toles had trouble getting to it, but took his Puig impersonation too seriously and nearly threw Rosario out at second after the bobble. It looked out, but it was called safe on the field and the review didn’t change that. After the single+error, Kolten Wong pinch-hit for Leake and singled, and Greg Garcia hit a sac fly that Pederson had to make a great catch to track down. Maeda got a second out, but gave up a single and was pulled for Luis Avilan after 5.2 innings. Avilan threw one pitch and got Adams to fly out to end the threat.
Avilan threw a clean seventh and Ross Stripling, who was called up before the game, got the final six outs to even up the series. The offense broke out against a pitcher they should break out against, and the pitching performed well all day. Great response to a long 16-inning loss the night before.
The Dodgers look for the series win tomorrow night on ESPN with Scott Kazmir on the hill. The Giants snapped their losing streak earlier today, so the Dodgers remain four back.