Alex Verdugo lit a spark and the Los Angeles Dodgers relied on their bullpen to come away with a 2-1 win over the Chicago Cubs. It snapped a two-game losing streak and gave the Dodgers a winning record on their seven-game road trip.
After managing just two hits against Jon Lester through four innings, the Dodgers capitalized on Verdugo’s leadoff triple in the fifth to break a scoreless tie. He then scored when Javier Baez booted a routine grounder.
Rocky Gale followed with a single to make it three consecutive batters reaching safely. Lester benefitted from Ross Stripling pulling back on a sacrifice bunt and swinging away, only to ground into a double play. Lester then was forced to labor against Kiké Hernandez but induced a groundout on the 11th pitch of the at-bat.
Despite limiting the damage to just the one run, the veteran left-hander didn’t receive any support. The Cubs ran themselves out of the first inning after back-to-back singles by Anthony Rizzo and Baez put runners at the corners.
Baez was subsequently caught stealing for the third out. Then in the second, Willson Contreras and Jason Heyward singled to again put men on first and third. Contreras was caught in a pickle when Kyle Schwarber hit back to the box, and Lester struck out swinging.
Schwarber later led off the fifth inning with a double, giving the Cubs a golden opportunity to tie the game. After retiring the next two batters faced, Stripling gave way to Pedro Baez. He walked Bryant but retired Rizzo to end the threat.
Baez then struck out the side in the sixth inning and was backed by Caleb Ferguson and Joe Kelly each throwing a scoreless inning. Kenley Jansen surrendered a two-out solo home run to Albert Almora Jr. in the ninth inning before converting his save opportunity.
Kelly and Jansen were provided a bit of breathing room as Cody Bellinger’s sacrifice fly in the eighth inning brought in what proved to be the game-winning run.