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
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.
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 Kristopher 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.
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."
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.
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.
The Dodgers' offense, which pulled out Game 1 on James 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 Benjamin 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. John Forsythe walked to load the bases, but Rob Zastryzny got Yasmani Grandal to fly out and end the threat.
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
In the series finale on Wednesday, Thomas Stripling opposes Cubs lefty Jonathan 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.