Dodgers 1 2 0
Cubs 0 7 1
WP- Fife (4-3)
LP- Villanueva (2-8)
S- Jansen (17)
The Dodgers epic quest to take the National League West continues as they looked to sweep the lowly Chicago Cubs in four games. The Dodgers sat out Yasiel Puig who injured his wrist while making a diving catch in game three the day prior. Stephen Fife was recalled while Scott Van Slyke optioned once again back down to AAA-Albuquerque. Fife would allow the Dodgers rotation an extra days rest before they head to Busch Stadium to take on the tough St. Louis squad.
It was another low-scoring pitcher’s duel between Stephen Fife and Carlos Villanueva. Fife pitched commendably, and he turned in 5 1/3 scoreless innings of work. Villanueva shut the Dodgers down after they scored one in the second inning thanks to a RBI single by A.J. Ellis. Chris Withrow brilliantly got out of a bases loaded jam in the bottom of the sixth to preserve the razor thin one-run lead by the Dodgers.
After an annoying beach ball delay in the bottom of the seventh, the Dodgers lose Hanley Ramirez from the game after he injures himself falling over the left field wall to make a catch in foul territory. Hanley is seen clutching his shoulder as he heads to the clubhouse. We will keep you updated on Hanley’s condition as we hear news.
Kenley Jansen follows a strong inning from J.P. Howell, and the closer strikes out the side in the bottom of the ninth to give the Dodgers their 14th consecutive road win and their 61st win overall. Even though the Dodgers only mustered 2 hits, their excellent pitching overcame the offensive shortfall.
Carlos Villanueva retires the Dodgers in order in the top of the first as we get things under way in game four at Wrigley Field.
Stephen Fife does not start off the top of the first inning well as he allows a free pass to lead-off hitter David DeJesus. Junior Lake is luckily retired on a fly ball to Skip Schumaker who is playing right field. Anthony Rizzo breaks his bat on a little grounder which is picked up by Adrian Gonzalez for the force out at second. Fife was dodging flying pieces of lumber and wasn’t able to get to the first base bag to attempt a double play on that. Dioner Navarro hits a slicing double to left field. Nate Schierholtz grounds out to second, and the Cubs strand two runners. Fife made 18 pitches in the inning.
In the second inning, former Dodger Dioner Navarro is seen breaking Hanley’s bat at the plate after the slugger draws a walk to lead-off the inning. That’s not a good idea Pudgito. Andre Ethier walks, and that’s back-to-back walks by Villanueva which has been par for the course for Cubs pitching in this series. A.J. Ellis gets a base hit to center, and Hanley brings in the first Dodger run on the RBI single by A.J.! Schumaker and Juan Uribe both fly out. Fife strikes out to end the inning, but the Dodgers lead 1-0.
Fife pitches a nice 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the second. Donnie Murphy strikes out swinging for the third out.
Villanueva counters with a 1-2-3 inning as well as he sends down the Dodgers in order in the top of third.
DeJesus singles with one out in the home half of the third. Fife strikes out Lake, and that’s the bearded right-hander’s third strikeout. Rizzo proceeds to single to center field, and the Cubs have runners on first and third with two outs. Dioner Navarro grounds out to third to end the inning. Thanks, Dioner!
Andre Ethier doubles to center field with one out in the top of the fourth. That’s Dre’s 24th double on the year. A.J. Ellis and
Schumaker both fly out, and Dre is stranded.
In the bottom of the fourth, Schierholtz leads off with a single to center. Cody Ransom pops up, and Mark Ellis makes a nice play to retire Logan Watkins for the second out. Fife intentionally walks Donnie Murphy to get to the opposing pitcher. Villanueva grounds out, and the Dodgers are still leading 1-0.
Villanueva is pitching very well too, and he strikes out both Uribe and Fife in the top of the fifth. Crawford flies out to deep right field to end the scoreless frame.
Skip Schumaker makes a good catch as he runs down a ball hit by Junior Lake in foul territory. He has to make the catch on the corner of the bullpen mounds down the right field line as he runs toward the wall. Rizzo strikes out, and Fife has now pitched five scoreless frames.
A lead-off walk by MEllis is wasted in the top of the sixth as Gonzalez, Ramirez, and Ethier all are retired consecutively by the Cubs.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Cubs manage back-to-back singles by Navarro and Schierholtz which prompts a coaching visit to the mound as the Dodgers bullpen begins to stir and get someone up. Fife rears back to strikeout Cody Ransom after a 9-pitch at-bat for the first out. Logan Watkins softly singles to left field, and the Cubs have the bases loaded with one out. That’s going to be all for Fife who pitched admirably. Chris Withrow will come in from the Dodgers bullpen. Withrow induces a pop-up from Murphy for the second out. Can Withrow get the Dodgers out of this jam? He’s throwing some heat and touched 97-mph on a fastball to Murphy. Cole Gillespie grounds out to end the inning!
Stephen Fife pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings while allowing 7 hits with 5 strikeouts and 2 walks on 98 pitches.
James Russell comes out of the Chicago bullpen for the top of the seventh. Carlos Villanueva pitched 6 innings while allowing 1 run on just 2 hits with 5 strikeouts and 3 walks on 101 pitches. The long-haired lefty Russell retires the Dodgers in order.
There’s a beach ball delay to begin the bottom of the seventh inning. David Dejesus pops out on a scary play. Hanley Ramirez runs down the ball in foul territory down the left field line, but he pulls a Justin Sellers and flips over the wall into the stands after he catches the ball. He is holding his right shoulder as trainers take him out of the game. Nick Punto will replace Hanley at shortstop. Withrow strikes out Lake immediately thereafter the unfortunate incident. Anthony Rizzo is called out on strikes even though he is hit with a pitch while in the act of swinging. Way to go Withrow!
Pedro Strop is in for the top of the eighth for the Cubbies. Mark Ellis reaches safely on an error by Rizzo who drops a easy pop-up with two outs in the inning. Gonzalez grounds out.
J.P. Howell comes out of the Dodgers bullpen for the bottom half of the eighth. Howell pitches a very easy and quick 1-2-3 inning as we head to the ninth.
In the top of the ninth, Strop walks Nick Punto and he hits Ethier with a pitch. A.J. Ellis lays down a bunt which is picked up by Strop to get Punto out at third on the force. Schumaker strikes out for the second time. Juan Uribe flies out, and now it will be up to Kenley Jansen to protect the 1-0 lead in the bottom of the ninth.
Logan Watkins looks at strike three for the first out in the bottom of the ninth. Starlin Castro strikes out swinging. Welington Castillo is also blown away, and Kenley strikes out the side! He picks up his third save in the last four games.
The D-backs, Giants, and Rockies all lost today, so the Dodgers now lead the division by 5 1/2 games. Their incredible run is now 31-7.
The Dodgers now leave for St. Louis for a four-game series at Busch Stadium. Zack Greinke will counter Adam Wainwright for game two on Monday afternoon. It will be almost impossible to sweep the Cards at home, but the Dodgers will certainly be looking for a series win in the postseason preview.