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Dodgers blanked, lose first series since mid-May

Roberts pleased with Stripling's start, not concerned about sluggish offense
MLB.com @kengurnick

CHICAGO -- The Dodgers have such bubbly memories of the previous series they played at Wrigley Field that they only saw the good in the one that wrapped up Wednesday, a 4-0 loss to the Cubs in the rubber game following Tuesday's doubleheader split.

Manager Dave Roberts, whose club clinched the National League pennant in the Friendly Confines last October, was asked if he felt he'd be bringing his club back this October.

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CHICAGO -- The Dodgers have such bubbly memories of the previous series they played at Wrigley Field that they only saw the good in the one that wrapped up Wednesday, a 4-0 loss to the Cubs in the rubber game following Tuesday's doubleheader split.

Manager Dave Roberts, whose club clinched the National League pennant in the Friendly Confines last October, was asked if he felt he'd be bringing his club back this October.

View Full Game Coverage

"We're going to be somewhere in October," said Roberts. "I can't speak to the opponent, but we're going to be somewhere."

The Dodgers had just suffered their first series loss in more than a month (vs. Florida, May 15-17). They came into the series with an 11-3 record in June, having hit an MLB-leading 34 homers, but added only one home run and went 5-for-35 with runners in scoring position, stranding 31.

There were enough loud outs against Cubs starter Jon Lester, however, to satisfy the manager that the result was more bad luck than bad baseball.

"Offensively, I thought it was one of our best offensive approaches in a game, and Lester might have had a rabbit's foot in his pocket, because he didn't have the command he normally has and we squared a lot of balls up. Credit to them for making some very good plays and to Jon for hanging in there for seven innings.

"It was a fun series. Two good clubs, very evenly matched. The series could have gone either way. You're not going to win every series, but going into New York, we feel pretty good about ourselves."

The wind was blowing in Wednesday, so some balls that might have been homers elsewhere became outs against Lester. And for much of this series, the Dodgers didn't do enough little things to manufacture runs.

"We have to situational hit, too," said Roberts. "We had opportunities this series, and we didn't come through. We need to get better. That's definitely one facet. When you aren't hitting the ball out of the ballpark, you have to manufacture."

Starter Ross Stripling (6-2) saw his six-game win streak come to an end, even though three runs allowed in six innings qualified for a quality start and praise from the manager. It was the first time since April 30 Stripling allowed more than two runs in a start. The Cubs had four extra-base hits, including Kyle Schwarber's second home run in as many days.

Video: LAD@CHC: Schwarber belts solo homer to deep center

"[First-pitch] changeup. Pretty dumb pitch, really," Stripling said of the home run. "Just trying to get ahead and threw too fat of a pitch, and he clobbered it. I mean, that was into the wind and 10 rows up in center field. Not a smart pitch."

The Dodgers came as close as possible without scoring in the third inning when Chris Taylor doubled with one out, was held at third base on Enrique Hernandez's sharp single to left, then was thrown out at the plate by right fielder Jason Heyward trying to tag and score on Justin Turner's flyout.

Taylor was removed in the sixth inning with left hamstring tightness.

Video: LAD@CHC: Roberts on Taylor leaving game in 6th inning

The Cubs added a run in the seventh off Yimi Garcia after Javier Baez's triple, his third extra-base hit of the game.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The play of the game for both teams was Heyward's throw to the plate that erased Taylor in the third inning. When Turner hit the ball, it looked like a sacrifice fly, with the Dodgers finally delivering a situational at-bat. Taylor is generally considered the fastest Dodger, but he didn't look like it while trying to score from third and later conceded his left hamstring had tightened. The Dodgers had five more baserunners after the inning-ending double play, but none advanced past second base.

Video: LAD@CHC: Heyward unleashes throw home to nab Taylor

SOUND SMART
The Dodgers have lost consecutive games for the first time since a six-game losing streak May 10-16.

HE SAID IT
"We've faced these guys in the playoffs the last two years, and it's a lineup we're really familiar with, and they're familiar with us. We're right there with this team, and we know that." -- Stripling, who is in line to face the Cubs at Dodger Stadium next week

UP NEXT
After a day off on Thursday, the Dodgers open a three-game series against the Mets on Friday, with Alex Wood opposing Zack Wheeler in the 4:10 p.m. PT game. Mets villain Chase Utley is expected to be activated from the disabled list by the Dodgers before the game.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Ross Stripling