Rich Hill walked a career-high seven batters over four-plus innings and the Cardinals capitalized on the extra baserunners, beating the Dodgers 6-1. Mike Leake pitched eight innings in which he allowed one earned run on four hits without walking a batter and striking out five. The Cardinals took advantage of a fielding error by Cody Bellinger, scoring two runs as a result of the play.
Mike Leake reclaimed the NL ERA title from Clayton Kershaw on Wednesday with his dominant outing. It looked like Leake had all his pitches working for him, as he used breaking balls and fastballs to get outs. The Dodgers were unable to do anything against him until the eighth inning when Cody Bellinger drove in a run with a sacrifice fly.
The Cardinals got to Rich Hill in the second inning after he loaded the bases with walks. Kolten Wong got a fastball over the middle of the plate and lined it into left field for a base hit. Two runs scored on the single and the Cardinals took a 2-0 lead. Hill then walked Leake, the pitcher, and loaded the bases again. He got out of the inning after that, but allowed two runs and walked four batters.
The Cardinals took advantage of another walk and an error in the fifth inning to extend their lead. Hill walked the leadoff man Stephen Piscotty, then Matt Carpenter reached on a bunt single. Jedd Gyorko then hit a fastball on the ground to left field and Cody Bellinger charged it in case the Cardinals sent Piscotty to the plate. St. Louis wisely held Piscotty but the ball rolled right past Bellinger. As Bellinger chased it down, Piscotty and Carpenter scored and Gyorko advanced to third. Gyorko then scored on a sacrifice fly by Yadier Molina. Once the Dodgers were finally out of the inning, the Cardinals had a 5-0 lead.
Sergio Romo entered the game in the seventh in an attempt to keep the Cardinals at bay. After Romo recorded an out, Molina stepped up to the plate. In a 2-1 count, Yasmani Grandal gave Romo a target down and away. Romo threw a slider the went high and away, allowing Molina to get his bat on the ball. The ball traveled over the wall in left field and the Cardinals had a 6-0 lead.
Keys To The Game:
Missing The Zone:
The Dodgers issued a total of nine walks during Wednesday night’s game, seven of them issued by Rich Hill. By walking nine Cardinals, the Dodgers allowed each batter to come to the plate an extra time. If a pitcher is going to miss the strike zone that many times, it needs to be with a pitch that a batter swings at and misses. Mike Leake threw balls in the dirt during the game, but they got swings and missed to record strikeouts. Overall, a pitcher, especially a Major League pitcher, should not walk more than three batters in a game.
The Dodgers made two great defensive plays on Wednesday night, both of them coming in the first two innings. In the first, Chris Taylor robbed Dexter Fowler of extra bases with a leaping catch in center field. In the second inning, the Cardinals had the bases loaded against Rich Hill for the second time when Fowler popped a ball into short right field. Chase Utley chased down the ball and made an over-the-shoulder catch, saving a run. A frustrated Dexter Fowler was now 0-2.
It’s a rubber match between the Dodgers and the Cardinals, Michael Wacha will take the mound for the Cardinals and Kenta Maeda will make his return from the DL for the Dodgers. Wacha is 1-2 with a 3.57 ERA in four career starts against the Dodgers. Maeda, who hit the DL with hamstring tightness, will look to pick up where he left off in his last start when he pitched 8.1 innings on May 10 in a 5-2 win over the Pirates.