Blanton gets back on track with perfect inning

Blanton gets back on track with perfect inning

LOS ANGELES -- After he served up a game-losing grand slam in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series, Joe Blanton was backed against a hitting cage in a dank Wrigley Field tunnel by dozens of television cameras and reporters documenting one of the worst moments of his career.

After he rebounded with a perfect inning of relief in the Dodgers' 6-0 win over the Cubs in Game 3 on Tuesday night, maybe three reporters sought out Blanton.

NLCS Game 4: Today at 8 p.m. ET on FS1

Game Date Matchup Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 15 CHC 8, LAD 4 video
Gm 2 Oct. 16 LAD 1, CHC 0 video
Gm 3 Oct. 18 LAD 6, CHC 0 video
Gm 4 Oct. 19 CHC 10, LAD 2 video
Gm 5 Oct. 20 CHC 8, LAD 4 video
Gm 6 Oct. 22 CHC 5, LAD 0 video

And one owner.

"Joe, you kept us in there all year," Dodgers chairman Mark Walter said, patting Blanton on his shoulder. "Great job. Seriously, that's why we're here, Joe. We're on our way. Still tough, two more, but we're on our way."

The 35-year-old Blanton followed Rich Hill's six scoreless innings by retiring Javier Baez on a liner to third base, pinch-hitter Chris Coghlan on a tapper to first base and pinch-hitter Jason Heyward on a strikeout.

Blanton, a starter on the 2009 World Series champion Phillies who has reinvented himself as a reliever, had to learn how to turn the page immediately in his late-career role after previously having four days to stew and recover from a bad start.

"You've got to be ready the next game," he said. "If you're in a situation and you've got the lead and you haven't washed it away, you might throw another one, and that's the last thing you want to do.

"It's more, for me, just going through the process every time. If I give up a run and my process was good, it just happened. If it wasn't, you go back to the drawing board and recreate what has worked in the past and go back to that. If you stick with the process, you're not thinking about the last game."

Adrian gets Coghlan at first

Blanton was one of many Dodgers on the rebound Tuesday night. Hill, coming off a start of 2 2/3 innings in Game 5 of the NL Division Series clincher, was money, holding the Cubs to two hits.

Grant Dayton got two outs in the eighth, appearing in a game the Dodgers led for the first time since his Game 5 debacle in the NL Division Series, when he failed to retire any of three batters and allowed a two-run home run to pinch-hitter Chris Heisey.

Yasmani Grandal broke out of his 2-for-20 postseason slump with a two-run homer and three RBIs. Yasiel Puig, 0-for-16 in 10 previous postseason games, became the fifth player in club history to have two hits off the bench in a postseason game. Corey Seager's RBI single in the third inning snapped his 0-for-15 postseason slump with runners in scoring position.

But nobody took the heat as Blanton did for the Miguel Montero slam Saturday night. Blanton epitomized the mentality of not getting too high or too low. He wasn't emotional that time or this time.

"I mean, that game, I was one pitch away and I hung a slider, which I don't do a whole lot. The slider was just off that day," he said. "The next couple of days, I recreated the process and went back to the drawing board to get a better chance to throw a better pitch, and it worked tonight."

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