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Bellinger's 2nd career slam lifts Dodgers in NY

Mammoth homer backs Wood's 6 steady innings in series opener
MLB.com @kengurnick

NEW YORK -- If Cody Bellinger hadn't been such a sensation last year, hadn't set the bar of expectations so high, he probably wouldn't be getting so many questions about his "sophomore jinx" this year.

Bellinger landed another blow to the notion of a disappointing 2018 on Friday night with his second career grand slam, powering the Dodgers to a 5-2 win over the Mets at Citi Field.

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NEW YORK -- If Cody Bellinger hadn't been such a sensation last year, hadn't set the bar of expectations so high, he probably wouldn't be getting so many questions about his "sophomore jinx" this year.

Bellinger landed another blow to the notion of a disappointing 2018 on Friday night with his second career grand slam, powering the Dodgers to a 5-2 win over the Mets at Citi Field.

View Full Game Coverage

With Yasiel Puig adding an insurance solo shot in the ninth inning, the support was enough for Alex Wood's second consecutive win.

Grand slams mean 40% off pizza

Wood and Bellinger were both National League All-Stars a year ago. Wood (3-5) won't be returning this year, and Bellinger will need help, despite his 13th home run.

He's on pace to hit 28 homers, nothing to be ashamed of, unless his NL-rookie-record 39 of last year is the benchmark. But his average is down from .267 to .232, the OPS down from .933 to .782 and with 36 RBIs he'll have trouble matching last year's 97. He was hitting .167 with runners in scoring position entering Friday's game.

"It's been difficult," said Bellinger. "But it's been a good learning lesson, I guess. The guys in the clubhouse keep me even-keeled. It hasn't been too hard. The game's hard. Maybe I've tried too hard. When you don't start off, you want to help the team and you try too hard."

Video: LAD@NYM: Puig lines a solo home run to left field

Bellinger isn't using excuses, but he's carrying a heavy load in the lineup for a second-year player. Corey Seager is gone for the season. Justin Turner missed six weeks and hasn't really driven the ball since returning from a broken wrist. Chris Taylor hasn't duplicated last year's breakout season.

Manager Dave Roberts said Bellinger has adjusted with a wider stance at the plate.

"It was still a short swing, but the results were a 500-foot homer," said Roberts. "It was a really good swing."

Bellinger said he hasn't tinkered much with his swing because it worked for him last year. The adjustments he said he's trying are in mental approach.

Video: LAD@NYM: Jansen K's Smith to earn his 19th save

The home run came on a Zack Wheeler 0-2 pitch. Wheeler and Wood had been locked into a scoreless duel, but Joc Pederson worked an eight-pitch walk and Max Muncy followed with a four-pitch walk. Turner was robbed of a hit by left fielder Brandon Nimmo's diving catch, but Matt Kemp loaded the bases with a flare single.

Statcast™ projected the home run at 401 feet, although it arced into the upper deck. Bellinger said he wasn't swinging for the fences.

"I was just thinking of hitting the ball and I got it on the barrel," he said. "Good things can happen when you don't try too hard. Obviously, pitchers are making adjustments and they made them quick. I'm trying to do it back to them now. It's a cat and mouse game. One of the hardest games to play."

Video: LAD@NYM: Wood retires Frazier, strands a pair in 5th

The Mets answered right back with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, when Michael Conforto singled and Jose Bautista slugged his first Mets homer.

Both defenses pulled off run-saving gems to keep the game scoreless through five. In the top of the third with two out and Enrique Hernandez on third base, Pederson's drive to left-center was snagged with a lay-out dive from Conforto.

And in the bottom of the fifth, with two out and Mets on first and second, Turner short-hopped Todd Frazier's sharp grounder to third and threw him out at first.

Wood (3-5) also escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the second inning for his second consecutive winning start. Kenley Jansen pitched the ninth inning for his 19th save.

Video: LAD@NYM: Wood fans 7 over 6 innings of 2-run ball

"The last two [starts] I've made steps forward," said Wood. "The previous three-start stretch, I've never had a stretch like that my whole career. Three in a row like I had was something I've never dealt with. You start thinking, 'What do I do? Where do I go? What do I throw?' -- the list goes on and on. To see light at the end of the tunnel, you feel good about it."

"He's back for me," said Roberts.

SOUND SMART
The Dodgers have won their past 10 games against the Mets.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
The Dodgers tend to forget to cover third base against the Mets (remember the 2015 postseason?), and they did it again in the eighth inning. Again it came in a defensive shift, when Muncy dropped a Conforto double-play grounder. Asdrubal Cabrera was safe at second and just kept going to third because, well, Turner was in right field. The Dodgers quickly regrouped and halted the rally when Bautista grounded into a double play.

Video: LAD@NYM: Cabrera advances to third on fielding error

HE SAID IT
"I missed my flight." -- A pleased Clayton Kershaw, after maneuvering his way out of a rehab start and into Saturday night's Dodgers-Mets game

Video: Kershaw to return from DL on Saturday vs. Mets

UP NEXT
Kershaw will come off the disabled list and start Saturday night's game against Jacob deGrom and the Mets in a 4:15 p.m. PT start, forgoing a previously scheduled Minor League rehabilitation assignment. It will be Kershaw's second Dodgers start since May 1, having been sidelined by biceps and back issues.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Cody Bellinger

Kershaw back tomorrow vs. deGrom

MLB.com @kengurnick

NEW YORK -- Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw will come off the disabled list and start Saturday night's game against the Mets, forgoing a previously scheduled Minor League rehabilitation assignment, manager Dave Roberts announced before Friday night's series opener at Citi Field.

Kershaw has been limited to one start since May 1. He first went on the DL with left biceps tendinitis, was activated for one five-inning start on May 31, then went back on the DL with a strained lower back. Kershaw will be opposing Mets ace Jacob deGrom and his Major League-leading 1.51 ERA. deGrom has posted a 0.90 ERA with 90 strikeouts in 70 1/3 innings over his last 11 starts.

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NEW YORK -- Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw will come off the disabled list and start Saturday night's game against the Mets, forgoing a previously scheduled Minor League rehabilitation assignment, manager Dave Roberts announced before Friday night's series opener at Citi Field.

Kershaw has been limited to one start since May 1. He first went on the DL with left biceps tendinitis, was activated for one five-inning start on May 31, then went back on the DL with a strained lower back. Kershaw will be opposing Mets ace Jacob deGrom and his Major League-leading 1.51 ERA. deGrom has posted a 0.90 ERA with 90 strikeouts in 70 1/3 innings over his last 11 starts.

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After bullpen sessions and a simulated game, Kershaw was to make a rehab start on Saturday night for Triple-A Oklahoma City in Omaha, Neb. But with rain expected in Omaha, as it is in New York on Saturday, Dodgers management was convinced (in large part by Kershaw) to call an audible.

"We're going to keep him here with us," Roberts said. "With the weather uncertainty in Omaha, to make his start is probably the best thing for him and for us. We don't know how much he's going to pitch. Obviously, there is a limitation with him.

"Yeah, there's weather [expected in New York]. As I understand it, there's a potential delay, but we'll be mindful of it. We're not going to do anything to put him in harm's way."

Video: ARI@LAD: Kershaw K's 12 over seven dominant innings

Caleb Ferguson, originally announced as Saturday's Dodgers starter, will remain active and serve as a long reliever to take over if Kershaw's start is cut short. That means Kershaw's return will force the removal of another player from the active roster.

"He did play a little weatherman," Roberts confirmed of Kershaw's role.

Roberts had initially expressed concerns about Kershaw's readiness for Major League competition, with the lefty having pitched only five innings in the past six weeks.

"The thing is, we're going to obviously monitor the length for tomorrow," Roberts said. "We feel comfortable and confident."

Kershaw, a three-time National League Cy Young Award winner, began the year with some tough luck, going 1-4 despite posting a 2.76 ERA and a 3.46 FIP. Eyes will likely be on the radar gun on Saturday, as the southpaw was recording the lowest fastball velocities of his career before landing on the DL.

Rich Hill will start for the Dodgers on Sunday, and Kenta Maeda will start on Monday.

Worth noting

Chris Taylor, removed from Wednesday's game due to a tight left hamstring, was not in the starting lineup on Friday night, but he said he would probably be available off the bench to pinch-hit. Roberts said he will be re-evaluated on Saturday. Enrique Hernandez started at shortstop.

Video: ATL@LAD: Buehler K's Camargo, leaves with injury

• Rookie right-hander Walker Buehler is still experiencing some pain in his microfractured rib, but he'll throw a bullpen session to determine if he's close to being activated off the DL. Buehler made three starts before the injury was diagnosed. It was caused by a 108-mph line drive that drilled him on May 21, but Buehler wasn't placed on the DL until he had to be removed from a June 8 start with pain and difficulty breathing.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Clayton Kershaw

Utley back from DL to face Mets in New York

MLB.com @kengurnick

NEW YORK -- Dodgers veteran infielder Chase Utley was activated from the disabled list before Friday night's game against the Mets at Citi Field.

Utley, whose activation was pushed back until Friday in the wake of bullpen usage during Tuesday's doubleheader, had been on the DL since May 30 due to a left thumb sprain. After the Dodgers' 4-0 loss to the Cubs on Wednesday, catcher Kyle Farmer was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City to accommodate Utley's return.

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NEW YORK -- Dodgers veteran infielder Chase Utley was activated from the disabled list before Friday night's game against the Mets at Citi Field.

Utley, whose activation was pushed back until Friday in the wake of bullpen usage during Tuesday's doubleheader, had been on the DL since May 30 due to a left thumb sprain. After the Dodgers' 4-0 loss to the Cubs on Wednesday, catcher Kyle Farmer was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City to accommodate Utley's return.

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Utley has a history with the Mets. After an Utley takeout slide into second broke the leg of Mets infielder Ruben Tejada in the 2015 postseason, Utley was a wanted man when the Dodgers played in New York the next year. On May 28, 2016, Mets starter Noah Syndergaard retaliated with a purpose pitch behind Utley and was ejected. Later that game, Utley slugged a solo homer and a grand slam.

Video: Must C Chase: Utley delivers after Mets ejections

"That performance by Chase was pretty special, so we have to give them what they want," said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Chase Utley

Peters, Smith lead Tulsa to win

MLB.com @GoldenSombrero

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Friday.

A trio of Twins prospects put on a hitting clinic on Friday night as Alex Kirilloff, Luis Arraez and Ben Rortvedt each hit a home run and together combined for 11 hits and 10 RBIs to lead Class A Advanced Fort Myers over Bradenton, 14-7.

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Friday.

A trio of Twins prospects put on a hitting clinic on Friday night as Alex Kirilloff, Luis Arraez and Ben Rortvedt each hit a home run and together combined for 11 hits and 10 RBIs to lead Class A Advanced Fort Myers over Bradenton, 14-7.

Promoted to Fort Myers earlier this week, Kirilloff, Minnesota's No. 3 prospect (No. 71), furthered his breakout campaign by going 4-for-6 with five RBIs, three a product of his first Florida State League home run in the fifth inning, in his second game with the Miracle. The 20-year-old outfielder was 1-for-6 with one run scored in his Fort Myers debut on Thursday.

Kirilloff goes deep

Fully healthy after having his entire 2017 season wiped out by Tommy John surgery, Kirilloff, the Twins' first-round pick in '16, has emerged as one of the better offensive prospects below the Double-A level in his first full season. In 67 games between Fort Myers and Class A Cedar Rapids, he's slashing a robust .337/.392/.610 with 14 home runs, 20 doubles and 61 RBIs.

:: Complete prospect coverage ::

Arraez (No. 21) put Fort Myers on the board with a leadoff home run, his first of the season, and ultimately finished a triple short of the cycle, going 5-for-6 and scoring four runs in his second career five-hit game. He's tallied multiple hits in six of his past 10 contests, during which he's hitting .447 (21-for-47). Overall, the 21-year-old second baseman owns a .304/.358/.412 batting line in 51 games this season.

As for Rortvedt, the Twins' No. 22 prospect went deep in his first two at-bats, hitting two-run shots in the second and fourth innings, to record his first career multihomer game. The 20-year-old catcher's homers were his first in nine games with the Miracle and gives him three homers in 48 games for the season. He's hitting .290/.340/.420 overall after slashing .224/.284/.315 with one home run over 89 games with Cedar Rapids in his first full season.

The rest of the best performances from top prospects Friday

• No. 5 overall prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. (Padres' No. 1) put Double-A San Antonio on the board with a third-inning solo shot and went on to finish 3-for-5 with two runs scored in a 3-0 win over Midland. The 19-year-old shortstop is having a strong campaign in the Texas League, sporting a .276/.348/.490 slash line with 12 homers, 64 runs scored and 11 steals despite a dismal first month of the season (.177/.231/.333, 34 K in 24 games).

Tatis Jr.'s solo homer

• No. 20 overall prospect Hunter Greene (Reds' No. 2) took the loss but still completed a career-high 6 2/3 innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits as Class A Dayton fell to South Bend, 3-2. The 18-year-old's heater was up to 101 mph in the first inning and he faced the minimum through three before scuffling in the subsequent frame. Greene recovered to retire seven of the final 10 batters he faced, ultimately striking out seven and issuing zero walks in the outing. He hasn't allowed more than two earned runs in six straight starts, dating back to May 18.

Greene's seventh strikeout

• No. 62 overall prospect Kyle Lewis' (Mariners' No. 1) and Evan White's (No. 2) solo home runs accounted for all of Class A Advanced Modesto's offense in a 9-2 loss against Stockton. It marked the fourth home run of 2018 for both players, and together they collected five hits, with White finishing 3-for-4 and Lewis 2-for-4.

• No. 79 overall prospect Kevin Maitan (Angels' No. 2) launched his first home run and extended his season-opening hitting streak to seven games for Rookie-level Orem. The 19-year-old switch-hitter collected three hits for the second time in three games as he finished 3-for-5 with two RBIs and three runs scored. He's hitting .433/.500/.533 overall, with 13 hits in his first seven contests in the Pioneer League.

Maitan hits a solo homer

• No. 85 overall prospect Blake Rutherford (White Sox No. 7) drove in four with a two-run homer and a two-run double to finish 3-for-4 with three runs scored and a stolen base in Class A Advanced Winston-Salem's 8-2 win over Down East. The homer was Rutherford's second in as many days and pushed his season total to six home runs -- one more than he amassed over 134 games in his first two seasons. The 21-year-old outfielder is slashing .333/.358/.587 in June and .295/.335/.471 for the season.

Rutherford goes yard

• No. 93 overall prospect Peter Lambert (Rockies' No. 3) retired the final 15 batters he faced en route to completing seven innings of one-run ball in Double-A Hartford's 6-1 win over Binghamton. He allowed just two hits -- one being a solo home run to Tim Tebow -- and struck out five before departing after 76 pitches (52 strikes). The 21-year-old righty has been sensational in four starts this month, going 4-0 with a 1.14 ERA and 0.73 WHIP in 31 2/3 innings. For the season, Lambert leads all qualified Eastern League hurlers in ERA (tied, 2.31), WHIP (1.03) and innings pitched (85 2/3).

Braves No. 9 prospect Cristian Pache went 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs to back a scoreless effort on the mound by Kyle Muller (No. 12) as Class A Advanced Florida blanked Daytona, 3-0. Muller, a 6-foot-6 left-hander, scattered five hits over six innings and recorded four strikeouts and four walks as he improved his ERA to 3.12 through eight starts in the Florida State League. Pache's homer, a solo shot in the third inning, was his fifth of the season, and the 19-year-old outfielder is hitting .278/.303/.413 overall after logging his third multihit game in his last 10 contests.

Braves No. 30 prospect Huascar Ynoa carried a no-hit bid into the fifth inning before completing six one-hit frames in Class A Rome's 5-0 win over Augusta. He issued four walks but struck out seven in the outing, also recording seven ground-ball outs and throwing 60 of his 99 pitches for strikes. The 20-year-old righty has racked up 80 strikeouts while holding hitters to a .210 clip over 67 2/3 innings (14 starts) in his first full season.

Dodgers No. 5 prospect DJ Peters and Will Smith (No. 8) combined to record five extra-base hits and five RBIs as they powered Double-A Tulsa past Northwest Arkansas, 9-3. Peters hit a pair of solo homers and later added a double to finish 3-for-5 at the plate. Smith, meanwhile, homered for a third straight game and also hit a double as part of 2-for-4, three-RBI performance. Smith's homer was his 10th of the year, while Peters pushed his total to 14 with his third multihomer game of the season.

Peters' first homer

Orioles No. 10 prospect D.J. Stewart was one of seven players to tally multiple hits as Triple-A Norfolk hammered Louisville, 16-1. The 24-year-old outfielder registered three of the Tides' 20 hits to finish 3-for-5 with a home run, four RBIs and four runs scored. He's hitting .278/.374/.461 with seven homers in 51 games for the season.

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.

This is the most pressing question for Dodgers

MLB.com @matthewhleach

Ready or not, the non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches. It's 40 days away as of Thursday, and the first significant in-season deal of 2018 has already taken place, with Kelvin Herrera going from Kansas City to Washington.

So while the market may not get super-hot for another few weeks, clubs have reached the point of asking themselves what they have and what they need. In light of that, MLB.com is taking a look at one question each team must answer before deciding to buy, sell or stand pat. Here's the National League West.

Ready or not, the non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches. It's 40 days away as of Thursday, and the first significant in-season deal of 2018 has already taken place, with Kelvin Herrera going from Kansas City to Washington.

So while the market may not get super-hot for another few weeks, clubs have reached the point of asking themselves what they have and what they need. In light of that, MLB.com is taking a look at one question each team must answer before deciding to buy, sell or stand pat. Here's the National League West.

D-backs
The question: Who looks better, sooner: A.J. Pollock and Steven Souza Jr., or Robbie Ray and Shelby Miller?

It's pretty remarkable that Arizona is in first place without so many key players, including its second-best pitcher and second-best everyday player. All four of the above names are on the comeback trail, and how quickly and effectively they all return will have an impact on what general manager Mike Hazen will decide to do.

Ray and Pollock, in particular, are the keys. Ray, returning from a strained right oblique, should provide a significant boost to a rotation that has been effective at the top but lacking in depth. Pollock, whose fractured left thumb has not progressed as quickly as he or the team might have hoped, would bring a desperately needed spark to an offense that has been anemic at times.

But whereas there's every reason to think Ray will be himself when he returns, it's less clear with Pollock. Given how problematic hand injuries can be for power hitters, it's fair to wonder how close he'll be to 100 percent effectiveness.

If Pollack comes back strong, and soon, and so does Souza, Arizona may decide it's set on the offensive side. If Pollock scuffles, and Ray and Miller (returning from Tommy John surgery) look strong, the D-backs may look to add a bat instead of a starter.

Video: LAD@CHC: Jansen seals Dodgers' comeback win vs. Cubs

Dodgers
The question: Do they have enough to get from the starters to Kenley Jansen?

This is another team with quite a few issues that has done an excellent job overcoming them. But even if and when they get to full strength, there are questions about what Los Angeles has in the middle innings. And the Dodgers don't have a rotation full of guys who pitch deep into games, so they need that depth.

Still, even if the front office decides it does need relief help, that doesn't necessarily mean it will add a reliever. The Dodgers could, for example, get a starter and move Kenta Maeda to the bullpen. There are lots of options here.

Giants
The question: How good are they, really? And will we even get the chance to find out?

The Giants aren't going to sell. Of that we can be pretty confident. But that doesn't mean they'll aggressively buy, either. It will depend in part on, well, just how good this team is.

And the thing is, that's hard to know. They're now going to do without Hunter Strickland for a couple of months. He joins Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija and Evan Longoria as big pieces on the DL.

With all those missing pieces, San Francisco has battled to a record a bit below .500, and it deserves credit for that. But if the Giants are still around even in late July, they probably won't add aggressively. If we get some read that a healthy San Francisco team could push deep into October, you might see some significant activity.

Video: SD@STL: Hand closes out win to earn his 21st save

Padres
The question: Who's part of the core?

Odds are the Padres will sell. They've remained competitive, and there are reasons to be optimistic about their rebuild. But they're not going to be buyers, barring something shocking.

So the question becomes, whom do they trade? Brad Hand, the most talked about potential trade asset, is signed through 2020 with an option for '21. There's no need to move him without getting real value in return.

San Diego has a glut of outfielders, some of whom could be used to help keep the rebuild going. If, for example, it decides Hunter Renfroe is not a core piece, then he could be moved.

Then there's someone like Christian Villanueva, who has been a revelation this year. It's highly unlikely that the Padres will move him, but they do need to decide whether they view him as a building block or as a complementary piece.

San Diego will make moves, but it's time to figure out who the club believes will still be around when the rebuild is over.

Rockies
The question: Can they trust any of their high-dollar relievers?

Colorado committed more than $100 million to relievers this offseason, adding Wade Davis and Bryan Shaw and re-signing Jake McGee. To say it has gone poorly might actually be generous. Davis' high-4s ERA is the best of the bunch. Adam Ottavino has been brilliant, but the rest of the bullpen has been a big problem for the Rox.

The problem is, the Rockies have made long-term commitments to all three guys. All are signed beyond 2018. So the ideal thing would be for at least one or two of them to get going. Regardless, they may decide their greatest need is relief pitching (though they also really need a bat or two).

But it will be more of a surgical strike if Colorado can regain some confidence in at least one of its signees, rather than potentially needing an overhaul if all three continue to struggle.

Matthew Leach is the National League executive editor for MLB.com.

San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies

Dodgers blanked, lose first series since mid-May

Roberts pleased with Stripling's start, not concerned about sluggish offense
MLB.com @kengurnick

CHICAGO -- The Dodgers have such bubbly memories of the previous series they played at Wrigley Field that they only saw the good in the one that wrapped up Wednesday, a 4-0 loss to the Cubs in the rubber game following Tuesday's doubleheader split.

Manager Dave Roberts, whose club clinched the National League pennant in the Friendly Confines last October, was asked if he felt he'd be bringing his club back this October.

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CHICAGO -- The Dodgers have such bubbly memories of the previous series they played at Wrigley Field that they only saw the good in the one that wrapped up Wednesday, a 4-0 loss to the Cubs in the rubber game following Tuesday's doubleheader split.

Manager Dave Roberts, whose club clinched the National League pennant in the Friendly Confines last October, was asked if he felt he'd be bringing his club back this October.

View Full Game Coverage

"We're going to be somewhere in October," said Roberts. "I can't speak to the opponent, but we're going to be somewhere."

The Dodgers had just suffered their first series loss in more than a month (vs. Florida, May 15-17). They came into the series with an 11-3 record in June, having hit an MLB-leading 34 homers, but added only one home run and went 5-for-35 with runners in scoring position, stranding 31.

There were enough loud outs against Cubs starter Jon Lester, however, to satisfy the manager that the result was more bad luck than bad baseball.

"Offensively, I thought it was one of our best offensive approaches in a game, and Lester might have had a rabbit's foot in his pocket, because he didn't have the command he normally has and we squared a lot of balls up. Credit to them for making some very good plays and to Jon for hanging in there for seven innings.

"It was a fun series. Two good clubs, very evenly matched. The series could have gone either way. You're not going to win every series, but going into New York, we feel pretty good about ourselves."

The wind was blowing in Wednesday, so some balls that might have been homers elsewhere became outs against Lester. And for much of this series, the Dodgers didn't do enough little things to manufacture runs.

"We have to situational hit, too," said Roberts. "We had opportunities this series, and we didn't come through. We need to get better. That's definitely one facet. When you aren't hitting the ball out of the ballpark, you have to manufacture."

Starter Ross Stripling (6-2) saw his six-game win streak come to an end, even though three runs allowed in six innings qualified for a quality start and praise from the manager. It was the first time since April 30 Stripling allowed more than two runs in a start. The Cubs had four extra-base hits, including Kyle Schwarber's second home run in as many days.

Video: LAD@CHC: Schwarber belts solo homer to deep center

"[First-pitch] changeup. Pretty dumb pitch, really," Stripling said of the home run. "Just trying to get ahead and threw too fat of a pitch, and he clobbered it. I mean, that was into the wind and 10 rows up in center field. Not a smart pitch."

The Dodgers came as close as possible without scoring in the third inning when Chris Taylor doubled with one out, was held at third base on Enrique Hernandez's sharp single to left, then was thrown out at the plate by right fielder Jason Heyward trying to tag and score on Justin Turner's flyout.

Taylor was removed in the sixth inning with left hamstring tightness.

Video: LAD@CHC: Roberts on Taylor leaving game in 6th inning

The Cubs added a run in the seventh off Yimi Garcia after Javier Baez's triple, his third extra-base hit of the game.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The play of the game for both teams was Heyward's throw to the plate that erased Taylor in the third inning. When Turner hit the ball, it looked like a sacrifice fly, with the Dodgers finally delivering a situational at-bat. Taylor is generally considered the fastest Dodger, but he didn't look like it while trying to score from third and later conceded his left hamstring had tightened. The Dodgers had five more baserunners after the inning-ending double play, but none advanced past second base.

Video: LAD@CHC: Heyward unleashes throw home to nab Taylor

SOUND SMART
The Dodgers have lost consecutive games for the first time since a six-game losing streak May 10-16.

HE SAID IT
"We've faced these guys in the playoffs the last two years, and it's a lineup we're really familiar with, and they're familiar with us. We're right there with this team, and we know that." -- Stripling, who is in line to face the Cubs at Dodger Stadium next week

UP NEXT
After a day off on Thursday, the Dodgers open a three-game series against the Mets on Friday, with Alex Wood opposing Zack Wheeler in the 4:10 p.m. PT game. Mets villain Chase Utley is expected to be activated from the disabled list by the Dodgers before the game.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Ross Stripling

Dodgers giving away 'Puigy Bank' on June 30

As much as we sometimes might think otherwise, physical currency is still very much a thing. 

Thanks to the Dodgers, some of their fans will soon have the chance to find a place to store those spare nickels, dimes, and quarters (laundry money!) that otherwise might just collect dust in their car's cupholder: the "Puigy Bank." 

Taylor exits with left hamstring tightness

Outfielder hopes to be in lineup for Friday's opener vs. Mets
MLB.com @kengurnick

CHICAGO -- Perhaps Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward would have thrown out Chris Taylor at the plate in the third inning of the Dodgers' 4-0 loss anyway, but having a tight left hamstring didn't exactly help Taylor's cause Wednesday.

The shortstop eventually was removed in the sixth inning for precautionary reasons, although he insisted that with a scheduled day off Thursday, he expects to be back in the lineup Friday when the Dodgers open a series in New York against the Mets.

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CHICAGO -- Perhaps Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward would have thrown out Chris Taylor at the plate in the third inning of the Dodgers' 4-0 loss anyway, but having a tight left hamstring didn't exactly help Taylor's cause Wednesday.

The shortstop eventually was removed in the sixth inning for precautionary reasons, although he insisted that with a scheduled day off Thursday, he expects to be back in the lineup Friday when the Dodgers open a series in New York against the Mets.

View Full Game Coverage

"I think that's when it tightened up on me," said Taylor. "It wasn't a pull or anything, but after that play, there were a couple instances where it kind of grabbed. I don't expect to miss any playing days. If everything goes as planned, I think I should be in there."

Taylor had an eventful day before exiting. He fouled a pitch off his left ankle in the first inning and needed the attention of a trainer before continuing his at-bat, later flying out to center field.

In the third, he doubled, then was later thrown out by Heyward at the plate after tagging up on Justin Turner's flyout to right field. Taylor popped out in the fifth inning.

Video: LAD@CHC: Heyward unleashes throw home to nab Taylor

Enrique Hernandez moved from center field to shortstop to replace Taylor, and Cody Bellinger replaced Hernandez in center field.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Chris Taylor

Jackson homers twice for Tulsa

MLB.com @GoldenSombrero

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Wednesday.

The least-known prospect acquired by the Marlins in the January blockbuster trade that sent Christian Yelich to Milwaukee, Jordan Yamamoto is doing his best to shed that distinction this season in the Florida State League.

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Wednesday.

The least-known prospect acquired by the Marlins in the January blockbuster trade that sent Christian Yelich to Milwaukee, Jordan Yamamoto is doing his best to shed that distinction this season in the Florida State League.

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Yamamoto, Miami's No. 20 prospect, set a career high with 13 strikeouts and allowed just two hits, both singles, over seven scoreless innings as Class A Advanced Jupiter blanked Florida, 2-0. He did not issue a walk in the outing, ultimately facing two over the minimum and throwing 64 of 89 pitches for strikes.

Dealt to Miami during the offseason, along with outfielders Lewis Brinson and Monte Harrison and second baseman Isan Diaz, Yamamoto began the season on the disabled list with a right shoulder impingement but has been on a roll since making his Marlins organizational debut on May 27. The 22-year-old right-hander is 3-0 in five starts, with a 1.63 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 33-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 27 2/3 innings.

Selected by Milwaukee in the 12th round of the 2014 Draft out of the Hawaii prep ranks, Yamamoto broke out in earnest last year, when he logged 111 innings for Class A Advanced Carolina -- his second straight campaign with at least 100 innings pitched after working a career-high 134 1/3 frames in 2016 -- struck out 113 and sported a 2.51 ERA that topped Carolina League pitchers reaching 100 innings.

Yamamoto was especially good down the stretch, too, as he allowed just one earned run over his final five starts and 33 innings -- a trend that has followed the young right-hander into 2018.

The rest of the best performances from top prospects Wednesday

No. 12 overall prospect Mitch Keller (Pirates' No. 1) turned in his fourth straight quality start as he pitched Double-A Altoona past Richmond in Game 1 of a doubleheader to record his eighth win in 13 starts. The 22-year-old righty gave up one unearned run on four hits and one walk while striking out four and racking up 10 ground-ball outs. He's now completed at least six innings in seven straight starts, during which he's 5-0. Overall, Keller ranks among the Eastern League leaders with his eight wins (tied, first), a 3.00 ERA (seventh) and 78 1/3 innings pitched (fourth).

• No. 43 overall prospect Ian Anderson (Braves' No. 5) was outdueled by Yamamoto, but still impressed plenty by tossing six innings of two-run ball with a season-best eight strikeouts in a quality start for Class A Advanced Florida. Anderson permitted seven hits (six singles) and one walk and flooded the strike zone with 63 of his 92 offerings. The 20-year-old righty sports a 3.51 ERA through 13 starts on the season, with 70 strikeouts and just two home runs allowed in 59 innings.

• No. 57 overall prospect Shane Baz (Pirates' No. 3) worked a career-high five scoreless innings to earn the win in his season debut for Rookie-level Bristol. The 2017 first-rounder (No. 12 overall) gave up four hits while compiling one strikeout and three walks in the outing. Baz, a 19-year-old righty, recorded eight ground-ball outs and threw 45 of his 80 pitches for strikes. Outfielder Conner Uselton (No. 16), selected with the No. 72 pick in the '17 Draft, went 2-for-3 with a double, two RBIs and two runs scored.

• No. 92 overall prospect Sean Murphy (A's No. 6) went 3-for-3 and reached base in all five of his plate appearances in Double-A Midland's loss to Frisco. Two of those hits were doubles, giving Murphy a Texas League-leading 24 two-baggers on the season, and he also reached twice via walks and scored two runs. The 23-year-old is proving this season that he's one of the Minor's top catching prospects, as the performance gives Murphy a .315/.367/.539 batting line with 33 extra-base hits through 56 games.

Blue Jays No. 7 prospect Eric Pardinho took the loss but impressed in his professional debut, tossing four innings of one-run ball with five strikeouts and seven ground-ball outs for Rookie-level Bluefield. The 17-year-old right-hander threw 39 of his 65 pitches for strikes in the outing, allowing two hits and two walks. Signed for $1.4 million out of Brazil at the outset of the 2017-18 international period, Pardinho boasts a three-pitch mix that includes a plus fastball-curveball pairing and a promising changeup. That mature arsenal, along with his advanced feel for using it, is why Toronto felt comfortable jumping him straight to the Appalachian League for his Minor League debut.

Dodgers No. 24 prospect Drew Jackson hit a pair of two-run homers as he powered Double-A Tulsa past Springfield, 7-1, with his first career multi-homer game. The 24-year-old middle infielder has gone deep seven times in 54 games this year after homering just once in 29 Double-A contests in 2017.Will Smith (No. 8) also homered in the victory, his eighth this season. Both players finished 2-for-4 and scored two runs.

Watch: Jackson homers twice

Padres No. 11 prospect Jacob Nix was a tough-luck loser despite tossing seven innings of one-run ball with a season-best eight strikeouts for Double-A San Antonio in a 1-0 loss against Corpus Christi. The 22-year-old right-hander -- making his fifth start of 2018 after beginning the season on the disabled list -- allowed four hits, did not issue a walk and induced eight ground-ball outs. He's pitched to a 1.27 ERA and 0.71 WHIP, with 20 strikeouts, six walks and a .147 BAA, in 28 1/3 innings.

Pirates No. 7 prospect Kevin Newman and Kevin Kramer (No. 8) combined for five hits and four RBIs in Triple-A Indianapolis' 5-3 win over Norfolk. Newman paced the offense out of the leadoff spot by going 3-for-5 with a double and two RBIs. It was his second three-hit performance during his seven-game hitting streak. Kramer, meanwhile, finished the game 2-for-4 after hitting his 16th double and a two-run homer, his 11th of the season and third in the last six games.

Pirates No. 11 prospect Luis Escobar posted six scoreless innings of two-hit ball in Class A Advanced Bradenton's 9-1 win over Clearwater. The 22-year-old righty issued two walks and struck out six while finding the strike zone with 51 of his 77 pitches. The outing was a step back in the right direction for Escobar after he entered the day having allowed nine earned runs and eight walks in eight innings between his previous two starts.

Escobar's sixth strikeout

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.

Dodgers tripped up in 10th, split twin bill

Hill returned from DL with 6 scoreless; bullpen unable to hold off Cubs
MLB.com @kengurnick

CHICAGO -- All the way around on Tuesday, the Dodgers split.

They won the doubleheader opener over the Cubs at Wrigley Field in the ninth inning, then lost the nightcap in the bottom of the 10th, 2-1, on a walk-off. Kenta Maeda in his second start off the disabled list couldn't get out of the fourth inning in the day game, while Rich Hill in his first start off the DL was superb in the nightcap.

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CHICAGO -- All the way around on Tuesday, the Dodgers split.

They won the doubleheader opener over the Cubs at Wrigley Field in the ninth inning, then lost the nightcap in the bottom of the 10th, 2-1, on a walk-off. Kenta Maeda in his second start off the disabled list couldn't get out of the fourth inning in the day game, while Rich Hill in his first start off the DL was superb in the nightcap.

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The bullpen pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings for the win and the save in Game 1, but it coughed up a lead and was tagged with the loss in Game 2, when Kris Bryant tripled off Brock Stewart and was singled home by Albert Almora Jr. Stewart was in his sixth callup of the season, as the 26th man allowed for a twin bill.

Video: LAD@CHC: Almora Jr. walks it off with single in 10th

While Maeda lacked command in his second start off the disabled list and didn't make it out of the fourth inning in the opener, Hill allowed only three hits for six innings with six strikeouts in his first real start since May 13. His May 19 start lasted two pitches because of chronic blister problems, but he made 90 pitches this time with no issues.

"He was outstanding tonight," said manager Dave Roberts. "He's worked through some things with [pitching coach Rick] Honeycutt. The fastball, curveball command was on point. You hope to get something like that, but you never know first start off a rehab."

Video: LAD@CHC: Hill whiffs Bryant with nasty curveball

Five days after a four-inning Minor League rehab start, Hill retired 11 consecutive batters at one point and pitched out of jams in the second and sixth innings. Plagued for three seasons by blister problems, Hill discovered a mechanical flaw during his latest rehab -- which he fixed by staying on the heel of his left foot instead of his toe as he rocks into motion.

"The changes we made, made a huge difference," Hill said. "Just making sure my weight is going through my heel. When I don't, I tend to drift. If you want to talk about silver linings, that's a really good way to look at it. I took the time to see how I could clean things up mechanically to get back to where I was the last three years. I do look at it that way."

Hill was hooked up in a scoreless duel with Cubs starter Mike Montgomery until the top of the sixth inning, when Cody Bellinger walked on a full count with one out, stole second and was singled home by Austin Barnes with two outs, his first RBI since May 3.

Video: LAD@CHC: Barnes grounds an RBI single into left field

Hill finished his night pitching out of a two-out jam with runners on the corners in the sixth by striking out Willson Contreras.

Erik Goeddel took over and two batters later his streak of 13 consecutive scoreless appearances was smashed by Kyle Schwarber's solo home run that tied the game.

Video: LAD@CHC: Schwarber ties game with a solo homer in 7th

The Dodgers' offense, which pulled out Game 1 on Kyle Farmer's two-out, two-run double in the ninth, went 4-for-29 with runners in scoring position on the day, stranding 24 total. They had the bases loaded with no outs in the second inning and didn't score, then bases loaded in the 10th inning with two outs and didn't score.

"We just couldn't get the big hit. We didn't get it done tonight," Roberts said.

The manager said he went with Stewart in the 10th having used every other reliever earlier in the doubleheader.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Yasiel Puig's 10th-inning line drive to the right-center gap wasn't the hardest-hit ball of the game (94.5 mph, according to Statcast™), but the leaping catch made by Cubs right fielder Ben Zobrist with one out and a runner on first loomed even larger when Bellinger followed with a single that sent Justin Turner to third base. Logan Forsythe walked to load the bases, but Rob Zastryzny got Yasmani Grandal to fly out and end the threat.

Video: LAD@CHC: Zobrist stretches to make a leaping grab

SOUND SMART
Forsythe had his first three-hit game of the year and ninth career game with two doubles. He also walked.

HE SAID IT
"I thought I pushed him there to get him through six, but with the earlier games, the arms available are obviously at a premium." -- Roberts, on letting Hill go six innings in his return

UP NEXT
In the series finale on Wednesday, Ross Stripling opposes Cubs lefty Jon Lester in an 11:20 a.m. PT start. The Dodgers' current ace continues his unexpected All-Star campaign, bringing a six-game winning streak to the mound. Stripling has pitched into the seventh inning in his last two starts and will be working on regular rest.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Rich Hill

LA stuns Cubs with G1 rally after ejections

MLB.com @kengurnick

CHICAGO -- Three Dodgers were ejected, the starting pitcher didn't get out of the fourth inning and the Dodgers were down to their last strike.

But Wrigley Field is where Los Angeles clinched the pennant last year, and the mojo carried over to Tuesday afternoon, as pinch-hitter Kyle Farmer's clutch two-run double with two outs in the top of the ninth inning gave the Dodgers a 4-3 comeback win over the Cubs in the early game of a makeup split doubleheader.

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CHICAGO -- Three Dodgers were ejected, the starting pitcher didn't get out of the fourth inning and the Dodgers were down to their last strike.

But Wrigley Field is where Los Angeles clinched the pennant last year, and the mojo carried over to Tuesday afternoon, as pinch-hitter Kyle Farmer's clutch two-run double with two outs in the top of the ninth inning gave the Dodgers a 4-3 comeback win over the Cubs in the early game of a makeup split doubleheader.

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The Dodgers have won 22 of their past 29 and are just 1 1/2 games behind the first-place D-backs. Edward Paredes retired the only batter he faced to get the win and Kenley Jansen pitched the ninth for his 18th save.

Video: LAD@CHC: Jansen seals Dodgers' comeback win vs. Cubs

Farmer pulled a 2-2 slider from lefty Justin Wilson, who was given the ball because Cubs closer and former Dodger Brandon Morrow, was unavailable due to a tight back. Farmer doubled in Austin Barnes, who led off the ninth with a walk while pinch-hitting for Joc Pederson -- who opened the game with a homer -- and Justin Turner, who singled.

Video: LAD@CHC: Pederson crushes a leadoff home run to right

"I thought he'd come in. I was surprised he didn't," Farmer said after not facing Morrow.

Farmer was batting in the fifth spot in the order, which originally was held by Matt Kemp, until Kemp was ejected in the fifth inning for arguing strikes with plate umpire Tripp Gibson. Almost immediately after tossing Kemp, Gibson ejected manager Dave Roberts, and he made it a hat trick in the ninth inning by banishing Yasmani Grandal for the same offense after Grandal struck out for the fourth time. Then Farmer came up.

Kemp has been ejected three times this year and 17 times in his career. He said he deserved to be ejected for what he said to Gibson, but he tried to turn it into a positive.

Video: LAD@CHC: Kemp and Roberts get tossed for arguing

"I shouldn't have gotten kicked out in that situation right there, early in the game. My spot came up twice," said Kemp. "But if it wasn't for me getting kicked out, Farmer wouldn't have come up and hit that double, so everything worked out."

Roberts explained his ejection.

Video: LAD@CHC: Roberts on comeback, ejections

"I just thought, it seemed to me, there were more pitches that went their way than our way," said Roberts. "I thought [a ball to Turner] was off the plate. Matt's ball was down, I could see it from the side. I want to protect the player and I just didn't agree with those calls. He did what he's supposed to do."

That said, Roberts also praised the resilience of his club, from Chris Taylor getting hit by a pitch on the helmet and staying in to triple (his seventh), to Turner scoring from first on the double by Farmer, who was the last position player on the bench.

Video: LAD@CHC: Grandal gets tossed for arguing in the 9th

"It says a lot about our guys," Roberts said.

Farmer has played in only 32 games this season while shuttling back and forth to Triple-A Oklahoma City, but this was his third game-winning hit, down the opposite foul line -- similar to the one he delivered against the Giants last year in his Major League debut.

"He's got a good pulse," said Roberts. "He's had some big hits for us, big spots. And you can see guys that don't expand and have a way of locking it in."

Wilson fell behind Farmer, 2-0.

"Then he blew one by me pretty good," said Farmer, who is 6-for-16 as a pinch-hitter this year. "Then I fouled a ball and he threw me a slider down and in, and I put a bat on it, luckily."

Video: LAD@CHC: Puig brings home Taylor with a bloop double

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Hudson clamps down: After Dodgers reliever Adam Liberatore walked the first two Cubs batting in the fifth inning, acting manager Bob Geren brought in Daniel Hudson, who pitched around a wild pitch to strike out Chris Gimenez and pinch-hitter Tommy La Stella before retiring Kris Bryant on a flyout, stranding two runners in scoring position.

SOUND SMART
The Dodgers have trailed after the eighth inning in 31 games this season. This was only the second time in those situations that they've rallied to win.

HE SAID IT
"If you're not commanding your fastball, you're going to be in trouble. I just didn't think he had it today. From everything I get from Kenta Maeda and the training staff, physically, he's fine. I'd say the inconsistency is from not pitching."
-- Roberts, on whether Maeda, who walked a career-high five in 3 2/3 innings, is not fully healed from a strained right hip

Video: LAD@CHC: Maeda retires Gimenez to strand bases loaded

UP NEXT
Rich Hill will be activated for his first start since May 19 in Game 2 of a split doubleheader vs. the Cubs. Hill departed that last outing vs. the Nationals after just two pitches due to a blister. The southpaw will be opposed by Mike Montgomery, with first pitch set for 5:05 p.m. PT at Wrigley Field.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Matt Kemp

Hill sharp in return from DL; Valera optioned

Stewart recalled for bullpen as 26th player of doubleheader
MLB.com @kengurnick

CHICAGO -- The Dodgers activated Rich Hill off the 10-day disabled list to start the nightcap of Tuesday's doubleheader against the Cubs, recalled right-hander Brock Stewart as the allowed 26th player and optioned infielder Breyvic Valera to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Hill turned in a scoreless start, working six innings and allowing three hits, two walks and recording six strikeouts. He tossed 90 pitches (65 strikes) and left the game with a one-run lead before the Cubs rallied for a 2-1 walk-off victory in the 10th inning. 

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CHICAGO -- The Dodgers activated Rich Hill off the 10-day disabled list to start the nightcap of Tuesday's doubleheader against the Cubs, recalled right-hander Brock Stewart as the allowed 26th player and optioned infielder Breyvic Valera to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Hill turned in a scoreless start, working six innings and allowing three hits, two walks and recording six strikeouts. He tossed 90 pitches (65 strikes) and left the game with a one-run lead before the Cubs rallied for a 2-1 walk-off victory in the 10th inning. 

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The 38-year-old lefty has spent a pair of three-week stints on the disabled list with blister issues on the middle finger of his left hand. His most recent start was May 19 in Washington, and it lasted only two pitches.

Video: LAD@CHC: Hill barehands grounder to escape a jam

Hill made a four-inning rehab start for Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga on Thursday, striking out 10. He said he was excited about a mechanical adjustment he had made in his delivery.

Stewart was recalled for the sixth time this season.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Rich Hill