The Dodgers got a nice glimpse into the future as another rookie pitcher made his debut.
The Dodgers won the finale against the Padres, 7-4. They got solid pitching for the most part, and a pair of Cuban Missiles gave them enough offense to back up their rookie pitcher.
Jose De Leon made his MLB debut on Sunday. He worked out of trouble in the first thanks to his defense. Yangervis Solarte hit a lazy fly ball to shallow left, and neither Howie Kendrick or Justin Turner took charge. It landed between them, and instead of finishing the inning, De Leon had to work out of it. He hit a batter, but got out of it with a zero.
JDL’s second inning went a lot more smooth as he tossed a 1-2-3 inning. He allowed a bunt single in the third, and followed that up by allowing Solarte to take him deep to put the Padres up 2-0.
De Leon tossed another 1-2-3 in the fourth, but got touched up again in the fifth. Alexi Amarista led off with a single and advanced to second on a sac bunt. Travis Jankowski laid down a bunt single, and De Leon threw it past Adrian Gonzalez at first to score the run. Wil Myers singled Jankowski to third, and Solarte hit a sac fly to give the Pads four runs.
De Leon came back out for the sixth and quickly struck out the side. He was pinch-hit for in the bottom of the inning.
In his debut, JDL went six innings (86 pitches) and allowed four runs, all earned. He allowed six hits and hit a batter, but struck out nine and did not issue a walk. He didn’t walk a batter in his final three AAA starts and struck out at least 10 in all of those. It could have been a cleaner debut, but he showed why fans should be excited. His fastball has some nice run and his changeup is disgusting.
The Padres took a lead in the third, but the Dodger offense quickly got it back. Justin Turner drew a one-out walk in the third. Gonzalez laid down a bunt to beat the shift and put two runners on. Yasiel Puig killed the rally by launching a three-run shot into the Dodger bullpen. It was his first dinger since July 4th and came at a pretty big time, to get the kid a lead in his debut.
Christian Friedrich began the fifth with a 4-3 lead, but walked Turner to lead off the inning. He struck out Gonzo and was pulled for Kevin Quackenbush. Puig drew a walk, and Chase Utley singled in a run to tie the game. Yasmani Grandal pinch hit for Austin Barnes and singled Puig in to give the Dodgers a 5-4 lead.
The five runs didn’t feel like enough, but Grandal provided some insurance with a two-run homer in the seventh. It was his 23rd dinger of the season, but only the third from the right side of the plate. He’s homered in two consecutive games, and this one gave the Dodgers a 7-4 lead.
Grant Dayton was the first reliever in for the Dodgers. He issued a leadoff walk in the seventh, but got two strikeouts and a groundout to keep the Dodgers in front. Dayton has 25 strikeouts in 19.1 innings, so he could be a nice piece moving forward in the bullpen.
Joe Blanton got the eighth with the three run lead and was tasked with the heart of the order. He allowed a one-out single to Solarte, but got Alex Dickerson to promptly hit into an inning-ending double play.
Kenley Jansen got some help in the ninth from Joc Pederson. Hector Sanchez drilled a double of the wall in left-center, but Pederson played the ball off the wall and fired a perfect throw to second to nail Sanchez. Jansen needed 13 pitches to close out the 7-4 win.
The Giants blew a save and lost to the Cubs in 13, so the Dodgers lead in the division is up to three games. San Francisco travels to Coors Field for three games beginning tomorrow, while the Dodgers host the Diamondbacks.
The Dodgers will see an old friend tomorrow as Zack Greinke will start for Arizona. It’ll be his first time facing the Dodgers since signing with the Diamondbacks in the offseason. First pitch is a bit earlier for the holiday, with Kenta Maeda taking the mound at 5:10.