Despite loss, Maeda a vital part of rotation

Despite loss, Maeda a vital part of rotation

MIAMI -- There was nothing perfect about the Dodgers on Sunday.

The Dodgers didn't score and committed half as many errors (two) as they had base hits (four) in a 3-0 loss to the Marlins, the rubber match in an eventful three-game series to start a 10-game trip. The Dodgers have been shut out nine times this year and went 1-6 against the Marlins in 2016.

"They had our number this year," said manager Dave Roberts, whose team took flight to New York with a dozen players in Dodger blue cheerleading outfits on the annual rookie dress-up day.

After a comebacking Clayton Kershaw pitched three innings on Friday night and Rich Hill had his perfect game unplugged after seven innings on Saturday night, Kenta Maeda (14-9) had one rough inning in six on Sunday while losing to the Marlins for the second time this year.

"You never like to lose a series, but I don't think there was any carryover from last night," said Roberts, referring to his controversial removal of Hill seven innings into a perfect game. "The guys came in and we had the energy to win a series."

But the good news is that Maeda, who actually failed his pre-signing physical exam, said "I do feel much better now than I did in April and May."

That might be as surprising as all of the other starters that have fallen by the wayside. At a time when Kershaw is trying to build off a three-inning base after back problems and Hill isn't allowed to finish off a perfect game because of blisters, Maeda leads the staff with 159 innings and 28 starts while Roberts unofficially adheres to a six-day cycle to replicate Maeda's work routine during his career in Japan.

Maeda turns two in the 1st

Like Hill, a non-waiver Trade Deadline acquisition, Maeda has emerged as an unexpectedly vital part of a decimated rotation. He was charged with three runs, but only two were earned, as his defense committed a pair of errors on the same play to account for Miami's third run.

Roberts said Maeda pitched well enough to win, but the Dodgers never moved a runner past second base against Jose Urena, who fell one out short of a shutout.

"There was a lot of soft contact," Roberts said. "Those guys took what he gave them. Urena was good. He moved the ball around, throwing the slider with depth. He's got a big arm, and we couldn't get going."

Joc Pederson, who homered twice on Saturday, broke up Urena's perfect game with a bouncing single to center in the fifth. The Dodgers put one runner in scoring position in the seventh on back-to-back singles by Corey Seager and Adrian Gonzalez, but that bid was torpedoed by Yasmani Grandal's double-play bouncer.

Pederson's single

Seager said Urena kept the Dodgers off-balance with his changeup.

"It was effective," Seager said. "He got a lot of weak contact, and that's what he's looking for. We knew about it. It was just one of those days he was on and he kept going back to it. We didn't put pressure on him, and when we did, he got out of it."

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.