LA rallies for comeback win in Hill's 2019 debut

Bellinger ties Majors homer record with 14th long ball before May 1

April 29th, 2019

LOS ANGELES -- Sometimes, the Dodgers slug and win easy. Sometimes, they rally late. Sometimes, they are led by experience, and sometimes by youth.

Then, on days like Sunday, they mix nearly all of their ample ingredients and pull off a 7-6 comeback win over the Pirates to complete a three-game series sweep and demonstrate how many ways a back-to-back National League pennant winner can beat you.

They started their oldest pitcher, Rich Hill, who was making his 2019 debut, and relieved with their youngest pitcher, 22-year-old Julio Urias, who earned the victory on a seventh-inning rally that featured RBI singles by and and erased a four-run deficit. Bellinger earlier slugged his MLB-high 14th home run and added three RBIs to his Majors-leading total, now 36.

“To me, an incredible team win that defined the relentless approach we have,” Hill said. “We could have easily packed it in. We already won two, it’s Sunday, we’re down and let’s just get on the road. But we buckled in and we battled and the bats came together. Muncy coming through was great. Just the overall approach to keep fighting. I don’t know where this game is going to sit the rest of the season, but to me, I feel as a whole it’s a pretty defining game.”

Bellinger continued to rewrite the record book. Muncy shook off a throwing error that led to four unearned runs and had three hits. Corey Seager doubled home two runs on an 0-2 changeup with two outs in the fifth. And Kenley Jansen pitched into and out of trouble for his 10th save.

“I’ve been around a little bit, part of many rosters, and this is probably the best team I’ve ever been around,” Hill said. “It’s exciting, I know the fans are excited and we’re starting to hit our stride.”

While the Bucs' losing streak reached eight, the Dodgers have won four straight, are 12-4 at home and an NL-best 19-11 overall. They went 11-9 through a 20-game stretch against the NL Central that began with a six-game win streak. They are 14-2 against Pittsburgh since 2017.

“It says a lot about the group,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “There’s just no panic with our guys.”

Hill came off the injured list before the game to return the rotation to full strength. He delivered six strikeouts without a walk in six innings, overcoming a pair of homers by Melky Cabrera in the first two innings and retiring 13 straight batters at one point. Hill allowed five runs, but only one was earned after a throwing error by Muncy. Hill also singled and dropped a perfect sacrifice bunt that set up Seager’s two-run double in the fifth.

This was Urias’ second multi-inning bullpen appearance since being removed from the starting rotation to limit his innings. Envisioned, at least temporarily, to be a younger version of versatile Milwaukee flamethrower Josh Hader, Urias pitched two innings with three strikeouts and allowed an error-aided run.

With the 39-year-old Hill on the mound and 36-year-old Russell Martin catching his first game since returning from a back injury, the Dodgers were believed to have started their oldest pair of batterymates since 43-year-old Don Sutton pitched to 38-year-old Rick Dempsey in 1988.

“Rich’s fastball was staying in the lane, and the breaking ball in the later innings, he was really tough to square up,” Martin said. “Urias didn’t have his best breaking stuff. The changeup was nice, but the fastball was plus, and he just dominated. Got to the point where I stopped being cute and saw if they could hit his best pitch.”