Bellinger’s Big Night Blasts Dodgers Past Tribe; Dodgers 7, Indians 5
Bob Toth | On 13, Jun 2017
Cody Bellinger hit a pair of home runs and Los Angeles held off a late rally as the Dodgers defeated the Indians in a rare trip to Cleveland, 7-5, on Tuesday night.
Playing just the tenth regular season matchup in the long history of the two historic franchises, the Dodgers got the usual dominant performance from left-hander Clayton Kershaw. He would not go unscathed on the night but held on just long enough to earn his ninth win of the season.
Trevor Bauer got the start for the Tribe and worked around some traffic in the first inning as the Dodgers would strand a pair after a one-out single by Corey Seager and a two-out walk by Bellinger. In the second, they changed up their approach against Bauer, taking first pitches and ultimately scoring the first runs of the night. Chris Taylor led off the inning with a single to left and after a strikeout by Logan Forsythe, he moved to second on a grounder to short by Joc Pederson. Yasiel Puig stepped in and in a 1-1 count, lifted a long drive that just cleared the wall in center for a two-run shot. In addition to the two runs he contributed, he gave Indians fans a two-handed, two-finger salute as he made his trip back to home plate, leading to a discussion in the dugout afterwards with his manager and boos from the hometown crowd the rest of the night.
The Indians stranded a two-out base runner in the second, but would not waste opportunities in the third against Kershaw. Daniel Robertson started a big night at the plate by ripping a Kershaw offering into the left field corner for a double. A groundout to second by Jason Kipnis moved him to third before Francisco Lindor grounded out in the infield, leaving Robertson standing at third. Michael Brantley took a pair of balls before lining a single just in front of a diving Puig in right for an RBI-single, making it a 2-1 ball game. Brantley would move into scoring position on a passed ball by catcher Yasmani Grandal, but Carlos Santana would ground to second to end the inning.
Cleveland got a surprise contribution in the fifth to tie the game at two. Catcher Roberto Perez, hitting just .137 on the season at the time, worked the count full off of Kershaw before a clout to the bleachers in left to even up the score with his first homer since the World Series. The Indians would get a one-out double from Kipnis and a two-out walk from Brantley, but Santana fouled out to strand the pair.
Bauer pitched himself into trouble in the sixth and the bullpen came to his aid, at least temporarily. Bellinger doubled to lead off the inning before back-to-back strikeouts of Grandal and Taylor put two away. Forsythe fouled off several pitches and worked a walk and Pederson took four straight to load the bases. Andrew Miller entered in a tough situation against Puig and struck him out swinging on four pitches to end the threat.
Miller struggled with the strike zone in the seventh, but retired the side in order. That would change in the eighth as Bellinger stepped up and delivered a big blow with a solo homer to right to lead off the frame. His 16th homer of the campaign made it a 3-2 game. Grandal dropped in a bloop single to right near the foul line before being thrown out at second trying to stretch it to a double, bringing manager Terry Francona out from the dugout for Bryan Shaw. Shaw too could not find the zone, walking Taylor and Forsythe to start his appearance. Pederson grounded to short, where Lindor threw to Kipnis at second for the first out, but the second baseman’s return throw to Santana at first skipped past the first baseman, allowing Taylor to score on the error with the fourth Dodgers run of the night.
Pedro Baez retired the Indians in order in the eighth before the Cleveland bullpen faltered again in the ninth. Dan Otero entered for Shaw and gave up singles to Seager and Justin Turner before Bellinger struck through again with a laser beam to right for a three-run game-changing home run, his 17th already in just a month and a half of his rookie campaign. The homer gave him back-to-back two-homer games and five in the last three games.
To their credit, the Indians did not roll over in the ninth. After reliever Chris Hatcher retired the first two batters, pinch-hitter Bradley Zimmer singled to center. A second pinch-hitter, Lonnie Chisenhall, went down swinging but the ball got away from Grandal, allowing him to reach first safely. Robertson’s night became all the more memorable, after notching a hit off of Kershaw earlier, as he hit his first career home run on a no-doubter to the Home Run Porch in left to make it a 7-5 ball game and force manager Dave Roberts to go to his bullpen for his closer, Kenley Jansen. He struck out Kipnis swinging for his eleventh save of the season.
Kershaw improved to 9-2 on the year with another quality start. He went seven innings, giving up two runs on six hits with two walks and four strikeouts.
Bauer took the no-decision and did his best to go toe-to-toe with the former Cy winner Kershaw, as he lasted five and two-thirds innings and allowed two runs on six hits with three walks and five strikeouts. Miller took his first loss of the season as he allowed the go-ahead run, just his second earned run allowed this season in 24 appearances, plumping up his ERA to 0.55.
The Indians dropped to 31-30 with the loss, while the Dodgers improved to 40-25 on the season.
Corey Kluber (5-2, 4.38 ERA) will take the mound on Wednesday night as the Indians look to even up the series. He earned the win in his last start against the Chicago White Sox, giving up three runs on seven hits in six innings. It will be the third straight home start for Kluber, who will face the Dodgers for the second time in his career.
The Dodgers will counter with right-hander Brandon McCarthy (5-3, 3.28), who has faced the Indians a handful of times dating back to the early stages of his career while with the White Sox, Texas Rangers, and Oakland Athletics. He took his second straight loss his last time out after allowing two runs on three hits over seven innings against Washington.
Game time from Progressive Field is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images