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Dodgers' clutch hitting vanishes

Club strands 13 baserunners and goes 0-for-9 with RISP
April 10, 2019

ST. LOUIS -- Cody Bellinger continued his hot hitting with a single and a double for the Dodgers on Tuesday, but it was the one that didn’t find the Busch Stadium grass that loomed the largest in a 4-0 loss to the Cardinals. With two on and one out in

ST. LOUIS -- Cody Bellinger continued his hot hitting with a single and a double for the Dodgers on Tuesday, but it was the one that didn’t find the Busch Stadium grass that loomed the largest in a 4-0 loss to the Cardinals.

With two on and one out in the third, Bellinger ripped a line drive up the middle, only to have Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong make a diving catch. Instead of a likely RBI single, it turned into an unassisted double play to end the rally.

The play turned out to be a microcosm of the night for the Dodgers, who have lost consecutive games for the first time this season.

The Dodgers stranded 13 runners and went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position. A team that averaged 8.4 runs a game in its first 10 games has scored three times in its past two.

“You’re not going to run out eight every single night, but I do think that the at-bat quality again … up and down the lineup, we’re still doing some really good things,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “Ultimately, you look out, we’re going to continue to put pressure on guys and score some runs.”

Los Angeles had runners in scoring position with less than two outs in the first, third, fourth and eighth innings and loaded the bases with two out in the fifth but couldn’t come up with a key hit.

“Our pitching and defense made some plays when it counted,” DeJong said. “With that offense that can score in a hurry with extra bases, I thought we kept them pretty well down tonight."

The Dodgers’ best chance came in the eighth after Enrique Hernández led off the inning with a ground-rule double. Cardinals left fielder Marcell Ozuna climbed the wall thinking Hernandez’s drive was going to leave the park, but instead it bounced on the warning track and over the wall. According to Statcast, Ozuna needed to cover just 52 feet to make the catch; instead, he covered 80.

“I watched some bloopers and I’ve seen them on the bloopers, and he will be in the bloopers for the next 10 years,” Roberts said. “I actually thought it was a homer off the bat and it kind of hung up there, and apparently he did, too, but I think it got the track, and I’m happy he’s not hurt. I guess we can laugh about it that he’s not hurt, but it was a funky route.”

When he saw Ozuna climb the wall, Hernandez had a flashback to a similar play Ozuna made that robbed him of a home run two years ago in Miami.

“He deserves it,” Hernandez quipped. “He’s my boy. I played with him, but he’s still reminding me every year of the play he made two years ago. The only thing that would have made it better is if it hit off of his head when he fell down.”

But the Dodgers couldn’t plate Hernandez or Chris Taylor, who followed with a walk, as Cardinals relievers Mike Mayers and Andrew Miller got out of the jam.

Cardinals starter Dakota Hudson pitched in and out of trouble, needing 100 pitches to get through 4 2/3 innings, and John Brebbia got Hudson out of a fifth-inning jam.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals made Dodgers starter Ross Stripling pay for his mistakes. Yadier Molina drove in three with a pair of doubles, and Paul Goldschmidt hit a solo home run in the fifth.

A bullpen that pushed through 6 1/3 innings on Monday pitched three scoreless innings on Tuesday. Caleb Ferguson, JT Chargois and Yimi Garcia combined to give up one hit and struck out five.

Beat the clock
Ferguson was visibly upset when Roberts took him out of the game. His ire was directed toward home-plate umpire Doug Eddings.

“He just felt that Doug was rushing him in between innings to get ready,” Roberts said.

Stripling felt the time crunch, too.

“It’s the first time an umpire has ever told me to be done warming up by a certain time,” Stripling said. “I’ve never had an umpire say that to me, so that was new. I didn’t necessarily feel rushed just because I kind of get out there early and throw a lot of pitches in general, but if I was coming out of the bullpen in a big situation and only had time to throw four pitches, that would certainly be frustrating."