Hill flirts with no-no as Dodgers keep pace in race
By AJ Cassavell and Ken Gurnick
LOS ANGELES -- Rich Hill returned from a scratched start by firing a one-hitter for six innings and Yasmani Grandal punished his old team with a three-run home run as the Dodgers beat the Padres, 5-1, on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium.
Alexei Ramirez's line single with two out in the sixth ruined the no-hitter and was the lone hit allowed by Hill, who missed a start Wednesday in Colorado as a precautionary measure because of recurring finger blisters. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Hill would have been removed from the game after six innings even if the no-hitter was still intact as a further precaution.
"With his history and the blisters, we're trying to be cognizant of that," said Roberts. "To give us 89 or 90 pitches is enough, and to extend Richie, it doesn't balance out the risk versus reward."
Hill struck out eight and walked two, at one point retiring 14 consecutive Padres. He left after throwing 89 pitches and is 2-0 for the Dodgers with 12 scoreless innings. Bob Miller (1963) and Kenta Maeda (2016) are the only other Los Angeles Dodgers to pitch at least six innings without allowing a run in their first two starts.
"Looking back on it, Alexei put a nice swing on the ball, nothing you can do about it," said Hill.
Grandal's home run to center field, his 22nd, followed an RBI single by another former Padre, Adrian Gonzalez, in a string of five consecutive hits off losing pitcher Luis Perdomo.
"You're a young guy, you're trying to match Rich Hill pitch for pitch," Padres manager Andy Green said of Perdomo. "Instead of getting the ball down in the zone, playing for the ground ball and the double play, you start trying to pitch for the punchout. … When you're trying to pitch for a punchout, sometimes you end up with a three-run homer."
In the sixth, Perdomo also allowed Josh Reddick's first Dodgers home run. Hill and Reddick came to Los Angeles from Oakland in a July 31 trade.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Slump's over:Corey Seager came into the game in an 0-for-19 slump and was 0-for-13 since being hit on the left wrist by a Chris Rusin fastball Monday night. But that's history after Seager lined singles in his first two at-bats Saturday night, including a leadoff hit that triggered the four-run fourth inning.
Spoiler alert: With his laser single up the middle, Ramirez broke up his second no-no in less than a month. (He ended Steven Matz's bid in the eighth inning on Aug. 14.) For the second night in a row, Ramirez started in right field, despite never having done so until last weekend. And for the second night in a row, Ramirez more than held his own defensively, as well.
"When I first started with Chicago, I was playing center," Ramirez said. "To me it's really not that different. In my mind it's the same thing, having had that center-field background and being in right." More >
Reddick revived: In addition to the home run, Reddick had a pair of singles for his first three-hit game as a Dodger. He began his Dodgers career going 2-for-27.
"Took long enough," Reddick said of his home run. "I finally got it out of the way. Just to contribute, that's something I've wanted to do for a month now. I hope I'll be able to do it the rest of the year."
On the board:Luis Sardinas' one-out double in the eighth turned into the Padres' run when Wil Myers drove him home with a bloop single to center. The Friars would've had more, however, if not for a nice running catch at the wall by left fielder Howie Kendrick, who robbed Ramirez of extra bases. Ultimately, the Padres simply couldn't overcome Hill's masterful effort.
"He was throwing his pitches really well, working both sides of the plate," said Myers. "He elevated when he needed to. His fastball was very sneaky, got on you quicker than you expected."
"That was awesome. Get used to seeing it here. It's exciting." -- Hill talking about Reddick's home run
Kershaw faced the minimum number of batters over three innings while throwing 34 pitches and striking out five. As long as he returns, and assuming Hill really is past the blister issues, Roberts can see a formidable rotation coming together after months of patching things together.
"If you look at Clayton, Richie, Kenta -- those guys against any three, I like our chances," said Roberts. "That's why we acquired Richie." More >
WHAT'S NEXT Padres : With a pair of off-days surrounding last weekend's series in Miami, the Padres opted to skip Christian Friedrich's last start. But he'll take the ball for Sunday's series finale in Los Angeles, with first pitch slated for 1:10 p.m. PT. San Diego is keeping a sharp eye on Friedrich's innings, and Sunday's outing could very well be his last of the season.
Dodgers: Jose De Leon, the organization's No. 2 prospect as ranked by MLBPipeline.com, makes his highly anticipated Major League debut in the 1:10 p.m. PT start. De Leon went 7-1 with a 2.61 ERA at Triple-A Oklahoma City. More >