Ross Stripling threw 4.2 scoreless innings and the Dodger bullpen was strong, combining for 4.1 innings pitched, allowing just one run on two hits as the Dodgers beat the Cubs 2-1. Alex Verdugo tripled then scored on an error in the 5th inning and Cody Bellinger drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in the 8th as the Dodgers used small ball to manufacture runs.
Stripling didn’t have an easy start, allowing 5 hits and one walk over 4.2 innings, but he battled out of jams. Runners reached third base 3 times against him and there were runners on base in 4 innings. But despite this, Stripling still managed to get out of trouble.
Looking at the scoresheet, it’s clear that we don’t give Rocky Gale enough love. Gale hasn’t done much with the bat in the Majors, but his defense saved the day for Stripling. In the first inning, he caught Javier Báez trying to steal second base with two outs.
But Gale came up with an even more clutch play in the second inning. The Cubs had runners on the corners when a comebacker was hit to Stripling. Gale told Stripling to throw home and start a rundown. Gale executed his part of the rundown perfectly, saving a run and not allowing the other runners to advance.
In close games, there’s no margin for error. And when the defense does mess up, it can be game-changing. And that’s what happened in the 5th. Verdugo tripled to lead off the inning and put some pressure on the Cubs. Chris Taylor then hit a ground ball to Javier Báez, who let it past him for a run-scoring error.
The Dodgers scored in the 8th inning without the benefit of a hit (unless a hit batsman counts). Seager led off with a walk, then avoided a tag to reach second on a groundout. The Dodgers then loaded the bases with a hit batsman and walk. This brought Bellinger to the plate. Instead of looking for a pitch to crush, Bellinger went with an outside pitch and hit a deep sacrifice fly to extend the Dodger lead.
The Dodgers are back in LA for a short 3-game series against the Pirates. Chris Archer will pitch in the opener against Hyun-Jin Ryu at 7:10 pm on Friday. Archer is 1-1 with a 2.74 ERA and Ryu is 2-1 with a 3.10 ERA. The Dodgers are 9-4 at home this year and the Pirates are 6-4 on the road.