The Los Angeles Dodgers reached the end of their nine-game road trip in position to end it with back-to-back series victories. For the second time in less than a week, they faced a pitcher making his Major League debut.
Mike Mayers faced the same early trouble Washington Nationals right-hander Reynaldo Lopez did. Chase Utley opened the game with a base hit to center field, which was followed by a Corey Seager squib infield single up the third base line.
Mayers walked Justin Turner to load the bases with no outs, then gave up a grand slam to Adrian Gonzalez. Howie Kendrick extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a hustle double and later scored on a Scott Kazmir two-run single.
Mayers induced Utley into a groundout to end the first inning after throwing 45 pitches and allowing six runs. A brief Cardinals’ two-out rally in the bottom of the first amounted to one run as Matt Holliday followed Stephen Piscotty’s single with a line-drive RBI double to left field.
With one out and Turner standing on first base after a single, Gonzalez pulled a base hit into right field by a diving Kolten Wong. Turner went first to third, drawing a throw that carried into the dugout, allowing him to score and Gonzalez to advance to third base.
Kendrick hit a two-run homer that pushed the Dodgers’ lead to 9-1 and knocked Mayers out of the game. The rookie’s debut finished at just 1.1 innings and 61 pitches thrown. He became just the second pitcher since 1913 to allow at least nine earned runs in fewer than two innings pitched in a first career start.
Yadier Molina led off the bottom of the second with a double to right field. Tommy Pham then tagged Kazmir for a two-run home run before the southpaw could get out of the inning. Seth Maness worked around a Joc Pederson leadoff single in the third to prevent the Dodgers from extending their lead.
Turner and Seager flashed some leather in the bottom of the third, helping Kazmir retire the side in order. Gonzalez improved to 3-for-3 on the night with a one-out base hit in the fourth inning. Gonzalez advanced to second base on a Kendrick groundout but was stranded by Yasmani Grandal.
Kazmir got Pham swinging in the bottom of the fourth for his second strikeout of the game, en route to a 1-2-3 inning. Pederson singled in the fifth but was easily thrown out trying to stretch it to a double. Maness then retired Kazmir to face the minimum in the inning.
Kazmir worked around a Greg Garcia pinch-hit leadoff single in the bottom of the fifth to keep the Dodgers’ lead at 9-3. Trevor Rosenthal gave up a single to Seager and double to Turner in the sixth but retired Gonzalez and Kendrick to escape the small jam.
Rosenthal walked the bases loaded with no outs in the seventh and gave way to Matt Bowman as part of a double switch that brought in Alberto Rosario for Molina. Bowman got pinch-hitter Scott Van Slyke, who was celebrating his 30th birthday, to ground into a 5-2-3 double play on the first pitch.
Bowman walked Utley to reload the bases, but Seager grounded out and the Dodgers’ lead remained 9-3. Their inability to capitalize on opportunities came back to haunt them in the bottom of the seventh.
After Wong reached on an infield single with one out, Adam Liberatore walked Rosario and Randal Grichuk to load the bases. Joe Blanton replaced Liberatore and traded an out for a run.
The run scored on the sacrifice fly was charged to Liberatore, ending his franchise-record streak of consecutive scoreless appearances at 28 games. Piscotty then pulled a two-run double down the third base line to cut the Dodgers’ lead to 9-6.
Seung Hwan-Ho hit Grandal with a pitch to put the leadoff man on in the ninth. Chris Taylor pinch-hit for Blanton and worked a nine-pitch plate appearance to draw a walk with two outs. Nothing came of it as Utley flied out to the warning track in right field.
The scoreless inning meant the Dodgers were held without a run since Kendrick’s homer in the second. Kenley Jansen came on in the bottom of the ninth and closed the door in the Dodgers’ 9-6 victory.
With the win Los Angeles finished 5-4 on their road trip and improved to 26-26 on the road this season.