Andrew Toles, fellow rookies give Dodgers a lift
By Cary Osborne
It’s not the feel-good story equivalent of Kurt Warner, who went from grocery store to Super Bowl champion. But Andrew Toles did briefly work at a grocery store when he was out of baseball last year — as noted in this L.A. Times story from earlier this month by Mike DiGiovanna — and he had the most superb game of his brief Major League career on Saturday in the Dodgers’ 7-2 win in St. Louis.
Yes, he made an error, and yes, he didn’t knock in any runs, but Toles had hits in his first three at-bats and scored twice — the second one giving the Dodgers a 7-1 lead in the sixth.
On the play, he was caught almost midway between third base and home after a Joc Pederson single that scored Yasmani Grandal. St. Louis first baseman Matt Adams cut the throw off from center field, but he hesitated, giving the speedy Toles an opening. Toles scored on a poor throw home by Adams.
Toles was in the lineup in right field with Yasiel Puig nursing a right hamstring injury suffered Thursday in Washington.
Since his promotion on July 8, the 24-year-old, who signed with the Dodgers last September and started the season in High-A Rancho Cucamonga, is 9 for 23 with a pair of doubles. Combined, he has 108 hits at all levels this year in 83 games.
Toles is just another Dodger rookie making a contribution in a season full of rookie contributions. And he was another rookie making contributions in a game full of rookie contributions on Saturday.
Kenta Maeda put the Dodgers up 1-0 in the third inning with a squeeze bunt turned single. He went 5 2/3 innings and allowed five hits and two earned runs, while striking out three and walking none. The rookie right-hander was at 70 pitches through five innings, but ran into trouble in the sixth, allowing three hits and a run. He was pulled after 22 pitches in the frame.
Luis Avilan came in and got Adams to fly out on one pitch. Avilan retired the side in order in the seventh and handed it off to rookie Ross Stripling, who was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City earlier in the day. Stripling, in his first big league outing since May 22, closed out the Cardinals with a scoreless eighth and ninth.
Rookie Corey Seager had an RBI single in the Dodgers’ four-run third inning.
Veteran Adrian Gonzalez hit a solo homer in the sixth — the 298th of his career.