Thursday, June 30, 2016

Maeda steps up as Dodgers win set vs. Brewers

If ever there was a day for a Dodgers pitcher to deliver, this was that day. And Kenta Maeda delivered.
Hours after ace Clayton Kershaw hit the 15-day disabled list with a mild herniated disc, Maeda scattered three hits and surrendered a lone run in six innings of the Dodgers' decisive 8-1 win over the Brewers at Miller Park on Thursday. It gave injury-battered Los Angeles two wins in three days for a second series victory over Milwaukee in as many weeks.
"Kenta had his breaking ball working, he threw good changeups," said manager Dave Roberts. "For him to give us six innings [was] huge for the 'pen."
Trayce ThompsonYasmani Grandal and Corey Seager homered off Brewers starter Zach Davies, who allowed six earned runs and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings for his first loss since April 29. The six earned runs matched Davies' total from his previous five June starts, in which he'd surrendered only two home runs.
"It just comes down to not executing pitches, falling behind a lot of guys," Davies said. "Even when I did get ahead of some guys, I gave it right back to them. … I think you get frustrated with your game today, but at the same time, you realize those things are going to happen. You're going to have good times, and you're going to have some struggles."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
All-Star Seager:
 The Dodgers are pushing to get National League Rookie of the Year candidate Seager in the All-Star Game, and he again did his part with his 17th home run, a single, an intentional walk and a 13-game hitting streak. Seager is third in the NL All-Star voting at shortstop behind the Cubs' Addison Russell and the Rockies' Trevor Story.
"I think it's obvious, I have a biased perspective, I think he's clearly the best shortstop in the National League," Roberts said. "The All-Star Game is an important game as far as home-field advantage as far as either league. When you talk about the game going forward, Corey Seager is what the game is about now and going forward. The numbers speak for themselves. He deserves to be in that game."
Hill yeah: Third baseman Aaron Hill made Maeda pay for a momentary bout of wildness in the first inning. After a Scooter Gennett single with one out, Maeda hit Ryan Braun in the backside with a pitch and walked Chris Carter to load the bases for Hill, who lifted a first-pitch breaking ball into center field for a sacrifice fly and a 1-0 Brewers lead. It capped a second consecutive productive month for the veteran, who slashed .169/.208/.246 in April, but had a .318/.403/.471 slash line in May and June.
"Even the first-inning opportunity -- I think we made [Maeda] work that first inning, but he was good today," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "He was really willing to go to his offspeed whenever, and he slowed you down enough that when he did fall behind in the count, you weren't able to sit on anything."
Puig returns: Yasiel Puig came limping off the field after running into the left-field fence Wednesday night, but he was back in the lineup Thursday and had a double, a single and a walk with an RBI.
Painful ending: Braun fouled a Casey Fien pitch off his back knee during a long at-bat in the eighth inning, and he limped around the batter's box in pain before flying out to left fielderHowie Kendrick, who charged to make a diving catch. Braun then exited the game as part of a ninth-inning double switch.
"I was going to take him out of the game, regardless," Counsell said. "It wasn't because of [the foul tip]. He was coming out of the game."
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Thursday's outing snapped a long streak of effective starts for Davies. From May 4 through Wednesday -- covering Davies' last 10 starts -- he was 5-0 with a 2.46 ERA, tied for 10th best in the NL in that period behind some big names: Madison BumgarnerJose Fernandez, Kershaw, Johnny CuetoJulio TeheranJon LesterKyle HendricksNoah Syndergaard and Zack Greinke.
PITCHERS WHO CAN HIT
With an eight-man bullpen and Joc Pederson unavailable, the Dodgers had only three position players available on the bench. So Roberts had reliever Chris Hatcher in the dugout for emergency pinch-hitting duties that weren't needed. Hatcher, a former catcher who pitched two innings Wednesday night, hit a walk-off home run in a Double-A championship game.
WHAT'S NEXT
Dodgers: Barring travel complications, newly acquired Bud Norris will replace the injured Kershaw as the Dodgers' starting pitcher for the homestand opener against the Rockies, with a 7:10 p.m. PT first pitch. Norris was acquired Thursday from the Braves in a five-player trade. He's 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA in six June appearances after a rough April and May.
Brewers: Matt Garza makes his fourth start of the season for the Brewers at 7:15 p.m. CT on Friday, when they travel to St. Louis to kick off a six-game road trip. The Cardinals have won 25 of the past 38 games between the NL Central opponents, dating back to 2014.

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