Corey Seager, Chase Utley, and Chris Taylor all hit solo home runs and Taylor added a two-run triple as the Dodgers beat the Braves 6-2, snapping their two-game losing streak. Yasiel Puig also added a go-ahead RBI single in the sixth inning. Despite a respiratory infection, Rich Hill pitched 6.1 innings of two-run ball in which he struck out eight batters and walked only two.
Throughout most of the first half of the season, it was Alex Wood who helped us forget about Hill’s terrible starts, but last night, Hill is the one who helped us forget about Wood’s terrible start the night before. Since the time he modified his delivery six starts back, against St. Louis, Hill has a record of 4-1 with an ERA of 1.93. Whatever changed, I hope it stays like that. Even though he was fighting a respiratory infection, Hill battled through 6.1 innings and allowed only two runs.
“He wanted to be the stopper, you could see it,” Dave Roberts said of Hill. “You look back to that St. Louis start — from now to that start, [the difference] is stark. I’m not going to say I wasn’t hoping, which isn’t a good strategy. But Rich and [pitching coach] Rick Honeycutt, they worked it out.”
The Dodgers and Braves continued the trend of scoring in the first inning, but this time the Dodgers scored first. It seems like Julio Teheran would have learned last year not to throw a fastball to Seager. He didn’t, however, and when Teheran threw the fifth fastball of the at-bat Seager, who already had two career home runs against Teheran, hit a no-doubt shot to right field. The ball landed one-third of the way up the pavilion and the Dodgers took an early 1-0 lead.
The Dodgers added another run in the third inning, thanks to a home run by Chase Utley. Teheran threw a curveball for strike one, then decided to throw a fastball. Tyler Flowers asked for the ball down, but Teheran threw it too high. Utley turned on it and drove it into the Braves bullpen for a solo home run. As Utley stepped on home, Dodgers play-by-play announcer Joe Davis said, “Chase Utley reminds us that the silver fox has still got it.”
The Braves managed to tie the game in the fifth inning, but that was the closest they ever got to the lead. Rich Hill hit Teheran with a pitch to start the inning, then Ender Inciarate flew out. Johan Camargo then doubled, sending Teheran to third. Freddie Freeman then grounded out, allowing Teheran to score and Camargo to go to third. Former Dodger, Matt Kemp then came to the plate and he hit a curveball into left field for an RBI single, tying the game at two.
The Dodgers retook the lead in the sixth inning and never looked back. Yasmani Grandal led off with a single, then Logan Forsythe singled. Next, Joc Pederson decided to ruin the great start to the inning by grounding into a double play. The good news is that Grandal made it safely to third base. Puig then came to the plate and he hit the ball about 70 feet up the third base line. The only player who had a chance to make the play was Teheran and it was even tough for him. The only place he could throw was home, so that’s what he did. The throw beat Grandal to the plate, but Flowers tried to tag him with only one hand. The ball went to the backstop, allowing Grandal to score, making it 3-2.
In the seventh inning, Chris Taylor entered the game in left field as part of a double-switch and he led off the seventh inning. Teheran threw a fastball over the heart of the plate and Taylor hit it to right-center field. The ball landed in the first row of bleachers for a solo home run. Chris Taylor had come off the bench and extended the Dodgers’ lead to 4-2.
Chris Taylor continued his amazing hitting in the eighth inning. With one out, Kiké Hernández singled, then with two outs, Austin Barnes singled, putting runners on first and second. Taylor then came to the plate and what can’t he do? He can hit, run, catch, and throw. In this case, he drove the ball to right center field. Both runners scored and Taylor reached third base with a two-run triple. Kenley Jansen immediately stopped warming up and Brandon Morrow continued.
Keys To The Game:
Tagging With One Hand:
In the sixth inning, Yasiel Puig was awarded an RBI single when Tyler Flowers lost control of the ball. Puig hit the ball somewhere between 40 and 70 feet down the third base line. Julio Tehran’s only play was at home and the ball got there before Yasmani Grandal reached the plate. Flowers, however, tried to tag Grandal with only one hand, causing him to lose control of the ball when Grandal slide into home. The ball kicked away and Puig made it to second. One of the first things that a player learns in little league is that they must tag the runner with two hands. Flowers forgot to do that and the Braves paid the price.
The Best Quote Of The Year:
This quote by Rich Hill is my favorite of the whole year. He said it in a post-game interview.
“It’s much more fun when you don’t stink.”
The Braves will hand the ball to rookie Sean Newcomb and the Dodgers will have Clayton Kershaw take the mound in the final game of the four game series between the Dodgers and Braves. Newcomb is looking for his first win since June 27. This year he has a record of 1-5 with a 4.86 ERA. Kershaw has made 14 straight starts without a loss and has a record of 11-0 since May 6. The Dodgers will look to avoid losing their first series since early June. The game will start at 1:10 pm PT and be televised on SportsNet LA.