The Dodgers flew into the windy city for their annual series at the cracker jack box of Wrigley Field. The club was smarting from their shutout loss last night to the Yankees. The Dodgers were looking to make history as the team was trying to win their eleventh straight game on the road, which they eventually did. The Cubs certainly made it annoyingly hard though.
They peppered the Dodger pitching staff with wind blown home runs all game. The Cubs had five hits on the game, and four of them were of the home run variety. The Dodgers made some mistakes in this game, fortunately the Cubs are really bad.
Starter Ricky Nolasco turned in another mediocre performance. He pitched five frames, allowing three runs on four hits, and whiffing six. Three of those hits were home runs. His opponent rookie left hander Chris Rusin was doing alright, until the Dodgers knocked him out of the box in the sixth.
The Dodgers fell behind early when Nolasco served up a pair of solo home runs to something called a Junior Lake, and his home run buddy Anthony Rizzo. Both players would hit two solo home runs each. Lake’s second came in the third, and Rizzo’s second in the eighth off of Paco Rodriguez put the Cubs at a 5-4 hole at the time. The Dodgers would rally back to tie the game and then take the lead.
The Dodgers had tied the game in the third when Yasiel Puig walked, Gonzo singled, and Hanley’s two-run double scored them both.
The Dodgers retook the lead 5-3 in the sixth when Van Slyke singled, Mark Ellis walked, and after both men were sacrificed over to second and third, both runners came home on a two-run pinch-hit single from Jerry Hairston. In the same frame, Puig doubled Jhair to third, and then Gonzo’s single scored Jhair, but Puig was thrown out at the plate in what seems like the thousandth Dodger tootblan in the last ten days. That put the Dodgers up 5-3.
The Dodgers had two guys thrown out on the bases, Van Slyke was picked off of second, second base! in the seventh inning after he had doubled. It seems like the Dodgers have at least one guy thrown out at the plate per game. Or so it seems. The Dodgers added an insurance run on a booming home run from Puig. The Dodgers’ bullpen performed admirably. Chris Withrow pitched an inning and a third scoreless frames, and Kenley Jansen blew away the Cubs to pick up his 15th save. Nolasco got the win despite giving up all of the home runs. The Dodgers had six runs on 12 hits, and Puig, Gonzo, and Van Slyke all had two hits each. The Dodgers won 6-4.
Ricky Nolasco starts the bottom of the first inning by whiffing David Dejesus. Nolasco then throws meatball number one to Junior Lake who hits it onto Waveland Avenue. 1-0 Cubs. Meatball number two to Anthony Rizzo also gets hit onto Waveland Avenue but this one to right field. That makes it 2-0 Cubs before the chairs are warm. Former Dodger catcher Dioner Navarro grounds out, and Nate Schierholtz flies to right.
In the top of the second Hanley Ramirez is called out on strikes like a statue, Juan Uribe singles to right. Scott Van Slyke flies out. Mark Ellis lines an 0-2 pitch down the left field line for a double. That advances Uribe to third. The Cubs predictably intentionally walk Tim Federowicz to go after Nolasco. The pitcher grounds out leaving the bases loaded.
The Dodgers threaten in the top of the third. After Crawford flew out, Puig walks, and moves to third on a single from Gonzo. Hanley’s line drive double down the left field line easily scores Puig, and somewhat narrowly scores Gonzo and the Dodgers tie it up at 2-2! Hanley takes third on the throw, as Lake bobbled the ball in left. With Hanley at third, Uribe whiffs, and Van Slyke pops it up.
Nolasco coughs up the tie in the bottom of the third. Nolasco whiffs DeJesus and Rizzo, but serves up another home run to Lake, (his second of the game), and the Cubs take the lead 3-2.
Move to the top of the sixth, with the score still 3-2. The Dodgers knock Rusin out of the game when Van Slyke singles to left, and M.Ellis works a walk. Rusin is hooked quickly, and we hope against hope that the pitcher being called in is matt Guerrier. It is not, instead Michael Bowden is called in to pitch. Fedex bunts the runners over to second and third. Pinch-hitter Jerry Hairston singles up the middle to drive in two, and the Dodgers retake the lead! Score is now 4-3. After Crawford flies out to right, Puig doubles down the first base line, sending Jhair to third. Gonzo’s dunks a flare single to center, Hairston scores, and Puig flies around third to try and score, but DeJesus’s throw is right on the money to tag him out and end the inning. Of course the one time in 12 years Dioner Navarro properly blocks the plate is as a Cub. The Dodgers lead 5-3.
With Nolasco hit for in the top half of the sixth, J.P. Howell comes in for relief in the bottom half of the sixth. He walks Rizzo. Slow as molasses in January Navarro hits into a nifty double play. Hanley makes a nice stop and a neat little flip to Mark Ellis to turn two. Hanley gets style points on that one. Howell then continues his inability to throw strikes by issuing his second walk to Nate Schierholtz. Then there is a botched force play on a Starlin Castro grounder. Hanley makes a wide throw, M.Ellis tried to bare hand it but dropped it and everybody is safe. An error is given to Hanley and rightfully so. Mattingly brings a hook for Howell, and calls in flame thrower Chris Withrow. Chris blows away pinch-hitter Cody Ransom and the Dodgers get out of it.
Right hander Eduardo Sanchez pitches the top of the seventh inning for the Cubs. The inning wouldn’t be a Dodger inning without at least one guy getting thrown out on the bases, or picked off. Van Slyke gets a two-out double, but then gets picked off of second base. Don’t ask me how that happened.
Withrow shows his skills by pitching a scoreless 123 bottom of the seventh inning. He whiffs Barney the dinosaur, and gets Julio Borbon to ground out, and DeJesus to pop up. Hector Rondon retires the Dodgers in order in the top of the eighth, and we go to the bottom half of the eighth.
Paco Rodriguez is in to pitch this frame, and serves up the fourth home run of the night by Dodger pitching. After Junior Lake grounds out, his home run buddy Anthony Rizzo, homers again, his second of the game putting the Cubs behind 5-4. Paco gets Schierholtz looking on a called third strike to end the inning.
With Rondon still on the bump, Puig hits his eleventh home run of the season into the left field bleachers, well above the ivy. That extends the Dodger lead to 6-4 in the top of the ninth. Move to the bottom of the ninth. Kenley Jansen comes in again to close up shop for the Dodgers. Jansen whiffs Castro for the first out. Jansen blows away Cody Ransom and Barney, and the Dodgers record a historic win! Final score of 6-4.
With the win, and coupled with Arizona’s loss in Texas means the Dodgers gain back the game they punted away yesterday and the lead in the NL West goes back to 3.5 games.
Topics: A.J. Ellis, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Chris Withrow, Don Mattingly, Hanley Ramirez, Juan Uribe, Kenley Jansen, Los Angeles Dodgers, Mark Ellis, Ricky Nolasco, Scott Van Slyke, Tim Federowicz, Yasiel Puig