Rich Hill felt he’d found an answer to establishing a rhythm in his start last week against the Cincinnati Reds, but that largely was nowhere to be found in a laborious and short start in the Los Angeles Dodgers loss to the Cleveland Indians.
Hill threw 40 pitches and was in a 3-0 deficit by the time the first inning came to an end. The Indians opened the game with a trio of consecutive singles. A hit by pitch loaded the bases, a jam Hill nearly worked his way out of.
But he walked in a run and saw another score on an infield single. Jose Ramirez’s RBI double and Edwin Encarnacion’s solo home run extended the Indians’ lead to 5-0 through two innings.
The Dodgers didn’t muster their first hit off Josh Tomlin — a Chris Taylor bunt single — until there were two outs in the third inning. Cody Bellinger’s solo home run in the fourth got the Dodgers on the board.
The homer was Bellinger’s 18th since making his MLB debut on April 25, the most in the Majors over that span.
Los Angeles clawed back into the game behind a flurry of hits in the fifth inning. Back-to-back doubles from Joc Pederson and Yasiel Puig trimmed the Indians’ lead to 5-2. Chris Taylor followed with a two-run home run before Tomlin managed to record an out in the inning.
But Hill failed to capitalize on any of the momentum. He issued a leadoff walk and followed that by allowing a single to Carlos Santana. Hill was then replaced by Ross Stripling. It marked the fourth time in eight starts this season the veteran southpaw failed to record an out in the fifth.
The pitching change did little to slow the Indians, as Stripling immediately surrendered a three-run home run to pinch-hitter Lonnie Chisenhall.
The seven runs charged to Hill were his most since June 30, 2009, when he was with the Baltimore Orioles and allowed nine runs in 3.1 innings against the Boston Red Sox.
Chisenhall knocked a two-run single and a Roberto Perez added an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth. Erik Gonzalez homered on the first pitch from Chris Hatcher in the seventh, and the Indians cruised to a 12-5 victory to avoid being swept and snap the Dodgers’ six-game winning streak.