LOS ANGELES—Kenta Maeda is going to have to wait another time before he records his first complete game. Francisco Cervelli ruined his chance to finish the game on the mound but, nevertheless, Maeda’s masterful performance was enough to earn the Dodgers a fifth straight win and a series sweep against the Pirates.
“He was pounding the strike zone (and) using all quadrants,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “I was hoping for him to complete it, but you get to a certain point where you want to make sure you win the game. I didn’t want him to have a sour taste after that brilliant outing.”
Maeda was pulled in the ninth inning after giving up a two run shot to Cervelli, but he had already left his mark on the game. The home run was the only runs he allowed all game while pitching eight and two-thirds innings, surrendering five hits, but striking out five batters and impressively walking zero. The Pirates just didn’t seem to have an answer for him.
“He let us know right away what he was going to do,” said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. “We needed to hit the breaking ball and take that away from him, and we weren’t able to do that. He just kept throwing it and he didn’t throw a lot of fastballs.”
Maeda was assisted by a sufficient offensive and defensive effort from his teammates. Andrew Toles is unfortunately lost for the season due to a torn ACL, but in his place Cody Bellinger continued his hot streak. The youngster is boasting a .315 batting average and is now tied with Yasiel Puig for the team lead in home runs, recording his sixth in 14 career games with a two-run shot in the first inning.
“That’s the pure strength, bat to ball skills,” said manager Dave Roberts of Bellinger’s opposite-field shot. “To barrel it, an opposite-field homer, he’s wiry-strong and gets the barrel to it.”
Utley helped the Dodgers go up 4-0 with an RBI single in the first inning and a double in the fourth. Bellinger helped the Dodgers maintain that lead with some magnificent defense. In the fourth inning, he robbed Gregory Polanco of a base hit with a five star tumbling dive. The outstanding play earned him chants of “Cody, Cody, Cody” from the crowd at Chavez Ravine.
“I didn’t know what to do,” said Bellinger of hearing his name. “I just stood there and felt awkward. But it was cool.”
After leading the entire game, Grandal added another insurance run for the Dodgers with a RBI double in the eighth inning that made the score 5-0. It was far too much for the Pirates to overcome, even though they notched a two-run homer in the ninth. Grant Dayton came onto the mound and recorded the final two outs of the game. After winning five in a row, the Dodgers can leap frog the Rockies for the division lead if they sweep them in the upcoming series starting Thursday evening.
Coming off a win against the World Series champion Cubs, the Rockies will put left hander Tyler Anderson (2-3, 6.69 ERA) on the mound Thursday. Los Angeles will utilize a leftie of their own, Hyun-Jin Ryu (1-4, 4.05 ERA), who is making his first start since coming off the 10 day disabled list due to a hip contusion.