Two days removed from salvaging the finale of a three-game series with the Houston Astros, the Los Angeles Dodgers were tasked with another difficult challenge in slowing down the Oakland Athletics.
Since the middle of June, the Athletics have posted an MLB-best 36-10 record. The surge has propelled them into the middle of postseason contention, as they entered play on Tuesday holding the second Wild Card spot in the American League.
Rich Hill, in the midst of an excellent stretch himself, was solid in his return to the Oakland Coliseum. He allowed only three hits and two runs over 5.1 innings pitched, with five strikeouts.
It was far from a perfect outing, however, as Hill battled with command issues and yielded four walks — his most in an outing since July 20. He also gave up a home run to Khris Davis in the sixth inning before his outing was cut short in favor of Dylan Floro.
Hill recognized his deficiencies, but nevertheless praised the Dodgers’ team-wide effort in their win over the Athletics, via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
“I can pitch better, that’s what I think,” said Hill. “I could have been a little more efficient. It’s one of those games. I should have went deeper in the game, but it didn’t work out that way and the bullpen did a heck of a job. Austin Barnes was great behind the plate. The offense was swinging the bats. It was a really good team win.”
As Hill notes, the Dodgers’ offense came through with timely hits as well as providing early run support. The club immediately set the tone, scoring in each of the first three innings of play before adding an important insurance run in the seventh frame.
The bullpen also stepped up when it mattered most, as the combination of Floro, Scott Alexander, J.T. Chargois and Kenley Jansen compiled 3.2 shutout frames to ensure a 4-2 win for the Dodgers.
More importantly, the victory enabled the Dodgers to reclaim sole possession of first place in the National League West. That’s with some help from the Philadelphia Phillies, who defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks, 5-2, at Chase Field.