Dodgers scratch for late run to upend Cubs
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[August 29, 2016]
LOS ANGELES -- Minor events can
shift tides in a major way in an intense pennant race, as the Los
Angeles Dodgers demonstrated Sunday.
Adrian Gonzalez hit a fielder's choice that brought home Andrew
Toles with the winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning to
give the Dodgers a 1-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs in front of
44,745 at Dodger Stadium.
"That's been the best team in baseball by record all year," Los
Angeles manager Dave Roberts said of the Cubs. "For us to respond
the way we did at home and to win a series against them is a good
thing going forward."
When the teams last met, the Cubs won three of four games at Wrigley
Field between May 30 and June 2. Yet Roberts believes the difference
between that Dodgers squad and the team that won this weekend's
series against Chicago cannot be measured by months.
"It's a completely different club," Roberts said. "The way our guys
have come together, the focus, the attention to detail are
Right-hander Joe Blanton (5-2) received the victory in relief. In
his lone inning of work, Blanton conceded just one hit while facing
Closer Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect ninth inning with one
strikeout for this 39th save, ensuring that the Dodgers would remain
two games ahead of the second-place San Francisco Giants in the
National League West.
Los Angeles right-hander Brock Stewart amassed a career-high eight
strikeouts, six of them in succession, and scattered two hits and
two walks during five shutout innings in just his third major-league
start. The 24-year old, who was recalled Friday from Triple-A
Oklahoma City, threw 80 pitches, including a fastball that reached
"That's normally what I do, pound the strike zone," Stewart said.
"The fastball felt good coming out of my hand and I was able to
command it. I threw some really good change-ups and a few good
sliders. It was a lot of fun."
Los Angeles kept left-hander Jon Lester from getting his 15th
victory. Lester pitched six shutout innings, conceded just three
hits and two walks and collected six strikeouts in recording his
sixth consecutive quality start and 21st of the season.
"Our pitching was fabulous," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "Their
pitching was outstanding, also. But we made the mistake. We blinked
and they win."
The Dodgers combined a hit batsman, a throwing error, an intentional
walk and a fielder's choice to score the winning run in the bottom
of the eighth against relievers Trevor Cahill (3-4) and Carl Edwards
Jr. With one out, Cahill hit pinch-hitter Toles. Howie Kendrick
followed with a ground ball off a checked swing in front of the
Cahill picked up the ball and threw it three feet to the right of
first baseman Anthony Rizzo into right field. Toles took third base
on the play, with Kendrick going to second. Then, after Cahill
walked Corey Seager intentionally and was replaced by Edwards, came
the key play of the game.
[to top of second column]
Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez (23) hits a single in the
seventh inning against the Chicago Cubs at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory
Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
With two out, Gonzalez hit a ground ball to third baseman Javier
Baez, who threw to second baseman Ben Zobrist in an attempt to
retire Seager. But Seager slid safely before Zobrist could touch
second base, and Toles scored. Maddon requested a video review but
it confirmed second-base umpire Alfonzo Marquez's call.
"That's something that needs to be communicated before the ball is
hit," Maddon said about Baez's decision to throw to second base
instead of to first. "Zobrist was way over. He can't get there in
time. Seager made a great hustle play on his part."
Chicago did not put a runner on second base against Stewart until
the fifth, when the Cubs put two in scoring position with two out.
Jason Heyward lined a lead-off single to right and moved to second
one out later when David Ross walked. Both moved into scoring
position on Lester's sacrifice bunt. But Heyward and Ross stayed put
when Dexter Fowler hit a pop fly to Enrique Hernandez in center
The Cubs had another chance in the sixth to end the scoreless
drought. Kris Bryant began the inning with a double to right-center
field and moved to third on Rizzo's ground out before Zobrist
walked. Then with two out, Heyward hit a low line drive that first
baseman Gonzalez lunged to his right to catch.
NOTES: Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins and Milt Pappas were the last
pair of Cubs pitchers to win 15 games before the end of August when
they accomplished the feat in 1971. A victory would have given
Chicago LHP Jon Lester his 15th, joining RHP Jake Arrieta, who has
16. ... The Cubs will miss facing Dodgers LHP Clayton Kershaw for
the first time since 2009. Kershaw has been on the disabled list
since June 30 because of a herniated disc. ... Los Angeles SS Corey
Seager has a chance to become the first rookie since Hall of Famer
Ross Barnes in 1876 to finish the season leading or sharing first
place in the National League in hits and doubles, according to
STATS, LLC. Seager shares first place in each category with 162 hits
and 37 doubles entering Sunday. ... Dodgers RHP Kenta Maeda will be
recalled from the Arizona Rookie League to make his start Monday
against the Colorado Rockies. The Dodgers demoted Maeda to make room
for RHP Brock Stewart, who started Sunday.
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