Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Stripling solid, but bullpen bitten by Baez's slam

MLB.com

LOS ANGELES -- Home runs have been a key part of the Dodgers' turnaround this season, but on Tuesday, the long ball and a key defensive miscue doomed them in a 9-4 loss to the Cubs at a sold-out Dodger Stadium.

Starter Ross Stripling exited the contest with the Dodgers (42-36) holding a 2-1 advantage that vanished as the Cubs scored six runs in the sixth inning, highlighted by a grand slam by Javier Baez, who went 3-for-3 with a solo shot off Stripling and finished the game with five RBIs, a triple short of the cycle.

View Full Game Coverage

LOS ANGELES -- Home runs have been a key part of the Dodgers' turnaround this season, but on Tuesday, the long ball and a key defensive miscue doomed them in a 9-4 loss to the Cubs at a sold-out Dodger Stadium.

Starter Ross Stripling exited the contest with the Dodgers (42-36) holding a 2-1 advantage that vanished as the Cubs scored six runs in the sixth inning, highlighted by a grand slam by Javier Baez, who went 3-for-3 with a solo shot off Stripling and finished the game with five RBIs, a triple short of the cycle.

View Full Game Coverage

Stripling, who's been facing Baez since 2013 at the Double-A level, credited Baez for being such a tough out, having gone 5-for-5 with three doubles and a homer against him this season.

"Certainly didn't figure anything out from six days ago to today," Stripling said. "Kind of threw the kitchen sink at him, and he hit it all."

Video: CHC@LAD: Baez crushes a grand slam in 4-hit game

With one on and one out in the inning, Yasiel Puig misplayed Ian Happ's fly ball that carried deep into right-center field, placing runners on second and third. After Addison Russell's infield single off Yimi Garcia tied the game, Ben Zobrist notched a two-out RBI hit against Edward Paredes to give Chicago a 3-2 lead and Baez's slam finished off the six-spot.

Puig took ownership of the play following the contest.

"I thought the ball was a little farther away," he said. "When I was trying to run it down, I kind of lost it in the light, and it's why we lost the game."

The tough inning spoiled a strong start from Stripling, whose steadiness on the mound was again on display in the midst of a season that's been shaky for a Dodgers rotation that is finally trending toward full strength -- with Clayton Kershaw about to make his second start since coming off the disabled list and Walker Buehler looking to return from a rib fracture next week.

Meanwhile, Stripling has been the Dodgers' most reliable starter, and he performed as such on Tuesday. He scattered seven hits across five innings. He struck out four and permitted one walk -- the only walk he's allowed in his last five starts.

Video: CHC@LAD: Roberts talks tough 6th inning in 9-4 loss

Manager Dave Roberts said he didn't think Stripling was sharp and had to grind his way through the outing. Still, the manager commended Stripling's ability to keep the Dodgers in the game.

"He's been fantastic," Roberts said. "For him to not be as sharp as usual and to keep those guys to one run in five innings is a credit to him. He gives us a chance every single time he takes the mound. He's done more than exceed our expectations."

Chicago attacked Stripling as well as any team has this year last week, when the Cubs tallied three runs on eight hits to saddle him with his first loss since April 30. The second matchup went Stripling's way for the most part, as he left after tossing 89 pitches and lowering his ERA to 1.98.

"It felt like every inning I had traffic on the bases," Stripling said. "Able to just hold them to one, which I guess is good, but it kind of ends up going sideways."

Cody Bellinger went 2-for-3 and singled in the Dodgers' first run of the evening in the second inning before scoring another on catcher Austin Barnes' bloop single in the fifth. Max Muncy's eighth-inning RBI single trimmed the deficit to four runs, giving Los Angeles some late-game hope.

Video: CHC@LAD: Bellinger knocks an RBI single to center

The effort wasn't enough, however, as the Dodgers mustered two runs against Cubs starter Jon Lester (10-2, 2.18 ERA). The lefty went five innings en route to tying the Nationals' Max Scherzer for the National League wins lead.

The Dodgers also went homerless for just the fourth time this month. They have an NL-best 104 home runs overall and 48 in June.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Puig gets doubled up: Bellinger raced all the way to third base on a throwing error following his one-out RBI single in the first inning, setting up a run-scoring chance for Puig. But when the outfielder dribbled a ground ball to third, Bellinger was tagged out in a rundown by Baez, who then threw to first to get Puig. Puig was off the bag after making a move toward second, well after first-base coach George Lombard motioned for him to advance during Bellinger's rundown.

"I didn't realize that Bellinger was in the rundown," Puig said, "and when I then decided to go to second, that's when they threw me out."

Roberts said it was mental lapses that cost his club.

"It wasn't a well-played baseball game," he said.

Video: CHC@LAD: Baez, Rizzo turn unusual double play in 2nd

SOUND SMART
Bellinger is 8-for-19 with three homers and seven RBIs over his last five games.

On his bobblehead night, Kiké Hernandez went 1-for-3, stole a base and scored a run on a wild pitch, marking the 13th time in his last 14 games he's reached base safely.

Video: CHC@LAD: Hernandez crosses the dish on a wild pitch

HE SAID IT
"I was kind of angry at that one. I liked the pitch, but I tried to aim it; I wanted it to be backdoor and I tried to aim it too much instead of just throwing it and ended up walking [Happ]. It's kind of something I pride myself on, not giving free passes." -- Stripling, on his first walk in five outings

UP NEXT
Left-hander Alex Wood (3-5, 4.13 ERA) will start on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. PT in the third matchup of this four-game series. The Cubs will counter with right-hander Kyle Hendricks, who last faced the Dodgers in Game 3 of the NLCS and lost.

Kaelen Jones is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Ross Stripling