From L.A. to Rancho, Dodgers deliver 1-2 punch
By Cary Osborne
Rich Hill barely touched the rubber, winding up from the farthest point west on it. He delivered an 0-1 pitch to Alexei Ramirez who shot it right back toward him and into center field for a single.
To that point, Hill allowed no hits through 5 2/3 innings. A collective groan came from the crowd at Dodger Stadium on Saturday, which immediately morphed into an appreciative roar for the left-hander’s effort.
Hill pitched six shutout innings, allowing just the one hit, while striking out eight and walking two in the Dodgers’ 5-1 win against the Padres.
Couple that with Clayton Kershaw’s extremely positive outing in his rehab start in Rancho Cucamonga (three shutout innings, 34 pitches and 23 strikes, one hit — a bunt single — and five strikeouts) and one can’t help but envision a September and beyond with those two leading the Dodger pitching staff. Dodger manager added Kenta Maeda to the mix, saying: “Those three guys against any three, I like our chances.”
After a leadoff walk to Luis Sardinas in the first inning, Hill retired the next 14 Padres in a row. He threw 89 pitches in the game. Even if Hill had a no-hitter through six, Roberts said there was no way he would come back out for the seventh inning.
“With Richie and extending him possibly tonight or his last start, it really doesn’t make a whole lot of (sense) in risk versus reward, so we want to ensure as much as we can that one-two punch,” Roberts said.
Hill said he felt great healthwise and saw no effect of the blisters that have limited him to two starts as a Dodger.
“You don’t go up there trying to complete a no-hitter or throw a no-hitter,” Hill said. “But as the game goes on, each pitch has its own moment and the tempo and rhythm of the game plays out, you want to stay in that moment and bring that intensity for every pitch.”
Hill, who Roberts has compared to Kershaw in terms of intensity, brought that laser focus Saturday. And in Rancho Cucamonga, Kershaw apparently brought it as well. After he was done with his three innings, he tossed another 15 pitches in the bullpen to get his work in.
As for his next step …
Back in L.A., the Dodgers put four on the board in the fourth. A string of singles from Corey Seager to Justin Turner to Adrian González produced one run off Padres starter Luis Perdomo.
Yasmani Grandal then followed with a three-run homer that traveled 440 feet to dead center field. Grandal now owns three of the six longest home runs in Dodger Stadium this year, the others traveling 440 feet (August 8 vs. Zach Eflin) and 449 feet (May 12 vs. Bartolo Colon).
More positive is Josh Reddick. In the sixth inning, Reddick smacked a Perdomo pitch into the Right Field Pavilion for his first home run as a Dodger, which gave the Dodgers a 5-0 lead at the time. The home run arrived in his 99th plate appearance with the team. Reddick went 3 for 4 in the game.
“It took long enough,” Reddick said with a smile. “Just to be able to help contribute to this team, finally, is always a good feeling and something I’ve been wanting to do for a month now, and finally it happened so hopefully this is a sign of good things to come.”