Kenta Maeda Pitches Gem, Dodgers Hang On To Beat Braves
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Kenta Maeda turned in his longest start since June 27 and the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Atlanta Braves, 3-2, to extend their winning streak to nine games. Cody Bellinger and Chris Taylor each drove in a run.

Taylor’s RBI came on a double in the third inning and two batters after Yasiel Puig led off with a double. Bellinger slugged a 416-foot solo home run off Lucas Sims in the fourth inning to extend the Dodgers’ lead to 2-0.

Puig hit a leadoff single in the fifth and was immediately moved into scoring position on Maeda’s sacrifice bunt. Puig then wreaked havoc on the bases by stealing third and scoring on Tyler Flowers’ throw that was airmailed into left field.

Maeda was sharp early, retiring 12 of the first 13 batters faced. During that stretch only Freddie Freeman reached on a two-out walk in the first inning.

Flowers’ leadoff single in the fifth broke up Maeda’s no-hitter but did little to disrupt his rhythm. The next three Braves hitters went down in order. Maeda expanded on that by striking out a pair in a 1-2-3 seventh inning to put the finishing touches on a gem.

He allowed just two hits and issued the one walk, while collecting six strikeouts. It was the third time this season Maeda went seven innings. He improved to 4-0 with a 1.23 ERA in his last four starts.

By reaching 95 innings on the season, Maeda earned a $250,000 bonus for surpassing 90 innings pitched. He earned just shy of $9 million in performance bonuses last season.

Josh Ravin issued a leadoff walk in the eighth then surrendered a two-run homer to Johan Camargo, which marked the end of a brief appearance. Tony Watson’s debut with the Dodgers got off to a rocky start as Brandon Phillips lined his first pitch into center field for a single.

A sacrifice bunt put the tying run in scoring position. A grounder advanced Phillips to third base, but Watson retired Freddie Freeman to get through the inning unscathed. Kenley Jansen struck out the side to record his 28th save this season.

The win was the Dodgers’ third in a row against the Braves since dropping the first two of a four-game set at Dodger Stadium. What’s more, the Dodgers improved to 40-6 since June 7, inching them closer to matching or possibly surpassing the historic 42-8 stretch from the 2013 season.