Exactly three weeks after acquiring Rich Hill from the Oakland Athletics in a five-player trade, the Los Angeles Dodgers at last got to see the pitcher they desperately needed, in a game. After three setbacks, Hill’s debut with the Dodgers came in a marquee matchup against the San Francisco Giants.
He retired the first two batters faced before allowing a base hit to Buster Posey. Hunter Pence reached on a slower roller to left side of the infield, but Hill ended a scoreless inning by freezing Brandon Crawford with a sidearm curveball.
Playing behind second base, Crawford made a sliding stop on a hard-hit grounder to his right to rob Chase Utley of a leadoff hit in the bottom of the first. Corey Seager also made solid contact off Johnny Cueto, only to line out to right field.
Cueto ended a perfect first inning by striking out Justin Turner swinging. Ehire Adrianza reached on a two-out single in the second, though nothing came of it as Cueto struck out.
Yasmani Grandal drew a one-out walk in the bottom half of the inning, only to be stranded by Josh Reddick and Joc Pederson. Hill tossed his first 1-2-3 inning in the third, which Cueto matched to keep his early bid for a no-hitter alive.
However, Turner snapped that with one out in the bottom of the fourth by lining a solo home run to the left field pavilion. Adrian Gonzalez followed with a single to right, extending his hitting streak to 17 games.
The Dodgers then ran themselves out of the inning as Grandal struck out swinging and Gonzalez was caught stealing. Hill retired the side in order in the fifth and sixth innings to keep the Dodgers’ slim lead intact.
Pedro Baez struck out Ehire Adriazna looking after issuing a one-out walk to Brandon Belt. Conor Gillaspie pinch-hit for Cueto, which Dodgers manager Dave Roberts countered by bringing in Adam Liberatore. The left-handed reliever induced Gillaspie into a lineout to left field.
Grandal’s leadoff base hit in the bottom of the seventh was erased in some regard as Reddick’s bunt attempt resulted in a force out. Will Smith struck out Pederson, then passed the ball to Derek Law who retired Kendrick to end the inning.
Joe Blanton walked Angel Pagan with one out and allowed a two-out single to Pence that put runners on the corners. With Grant Dayton warming up and Crawford, Roberts made his way out to the mound, seemingly to remove Blanton.
However, the right-hander remained in the game after a brief conversation, which presumably involved Blanton arguing his case to face Crawford. Roberts deferred to Blanton and the decision paid off by the slimmest of margins.
Crawford drove a ball to deep right field only for it to die in front of the wall for the third out. The Dodgers failed to push any insurance runs across in the bottom of the eighth, but Kenley Jansen tossed a scoreless ninth to convert the save in a 1-0 victory.