PHILADELPHIA -- A Dodgers lineup that can slug four homers in the first four innings on Monday night was versatile enough to patchwork a ninth-inning rally around three walks, a wild pitch and a couple of singles.Both long ball and small ball were needed for a wild 7-6 comeback win
PHILADELPHIA -- A Dodgers lineup that can slug four homers in the first four innings on Monday night was versatile enough to patchwork a ninth-inning rally around three walks, a wild pitch and a couple of singles.
Both long ball and small ball were needed for a wild 7-6 comeback win over the Phillies in the opener of a three-game showdown between first-place clubs at Citizens Bank Park.
"This lineup is pretty cooking," said All-Star Matt Kemp, who singled home the eventual winning run. "Everybody is always doing something. Pass the baton."
The positive result blunted a shaky start by Thomas Stripling, who followed the back-to-back homers he allowed in the All-Star Game by serving up three blasts to the Phillies and getting knocked out after 4 2/3 innings, his shortest start since May 6. Kenley Jansen, another All-Star, was credited with his 29th save, even though his first pitch in the bottom of the ninth turned into Maikel Franco's second homer of the night.
The Dodgers held on, though, because in that two-run top of the ninth, Kemp added an insurance run with a bases-loaded single after the Dodgers broke a 5-5 tie on a bases-loaded wild pitch by Philadelphia closer Seranthony Dominguez.
"Our guys, this last month, we take more strikes than anyone in baseball, because we're looking for certain pitches to do damage on," said manager Dave Roberts. "[Dominguez] didn't have fastball command, so it's a credit to our guys to trusting the fact they can get into an at-bat with somebody with that kind of stuff."
Back-to-back homers by Player Page for Max Muncy (his 23rd) and Yasmani Grandal (14th) in the first inning, Chris Taylor's (12th) homer leading off the second inning and Joc Pederson's (14th) laser blast in the fourth provided the Dodgers a 4-1 lead. But they had to battle back after Stripling couldn't protect it.
Los Angeles got even in the seventh inning on a triple by newest Dodger Manny Machado, who tagged and scored on Muncy's sacrifice fly to shallow center field, kicking in the afterburners with faster-than-his-average running speed.
"Just trying to be aggressive to score that run," said Machado. "Got a 50-50 chance of being safe or out. Just taking that gamble."
Stripling allowed a Franco home run leading off the bottom of the second inning, then with two outs in the fifth, the Phillies went back to back, Rhys Hoskins tying the game with a three-run blast and Odubel Herrera chasing Stripling with a homer into the Philadelphia bullpen.
Stripling allowed back-to-back home runs to Alex Bregman and George Springer in the All-Star Game, so he's served up five home runs in his past 6 1/3 innings. Opponents are batting .290 against him in his last six starts. Prior to that, they were hitting .224. His ERA jumped from 2.08 to 2.43 on Monday.
"I'm never going to tell you I'm fatigued or struggling," said Stripling. "I've never approached this many innings post-surgery [Tommy John]. I did in college, so I know what it feels like. The last couple of starts, even though some of the numbers have been good, [I've been] giving up more hits, not striking out as many. Don't know if they know what's coming a little bit or fatigue mixed in, but I feel fine. That's not an excuse I'm going to use for any outcome."
In the ninth, Alex Verdugo, recalled before the game, led off as a pinch-hitter with a walk against Dominguez. Pederson singled Verdugo to second, Machado struck out and Muncy walked to load the bases for Grandal. After the wild pitch scored the go-ahead run, Grandal walked to reload the bases and Kemp singled in the needed insurance run.
Machado turned on the burners to create the tying run in the seventh. His average sprint speed this year is 25.9 feet per second, according to Statcast™, solidly below the 27 ft/sec MLB average and second-lowest among 46 qualifying shortstops. But on the triple into the right-field corner, he recorded a 28.9 ft/sec sprint speed and then 27.9 ft/sec scoring on the sacrifice fly.
The Dodgers have hit back-to-back home runs eight times this year. Muncy has been involved in five of those.
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The Philadelphia love affair with Chase Utley is boundless. After Utley, who's retiring at season's end, held a pregame press conference with local media, the farewell tour at his old hometown was marked by a standing ovation and curtain call during pregame introductions at Citizens Bank Park. He also received a standing ovation after flying out to the warning track in the second inning. More >
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Kenta Maeda makes his first start in 13 days and his first appearance in nine days when he opposes the Phillies and All-Star Aaron Nola in Tuesday's 4:05 p.m. PT contest at Citizens Bank Park. In a May 29 start against the Phillies in LA, Maeda left in the second inning with a hip injury that put him on the disabled list. He is 3-1 with a 2.36 ERA since returning.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.