Spring Training Recap: Rich Hill Struggles, Andrew Toles Hits Grand Slam In Dodgers’ Win
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers looked to Rich Hill to rebound from his Spring Training woes, in his first Catcus League start in 11 days. Hill faced the Oakland Athletics, with whom he spent half of the 2016 season with.

Things got off to a shaky start for Hill, as a lack of command led to some trouble via the long ball. Hill walked two of the first three batters faced, then surrendered a three-run home run to Matt Chapman.

The southpaw had to collect himself early in the outing, as he allowed three consecutive singles to start off the second inning. Alejandro De Aza then walked on four pitches, giving the Athletics a 4-0 lead on Hill’s third walk of the game.

The afternoon turned into a battle of misconception, as Hill kept the hitters on their toes with by alternating fastball and curveball combination. He was able to get out of the second inning by striking out a pair and inducing a foul out.

Joc Pederson beat the shift with a leadoff bunt single in the bottom of the second, and later scored on Bobby Wilson’s infield single, with the aid of an Athletics error. Jesse Hahn then ran into trouble in the third, as he surrendered three straight singles to Chase Utley, Andrew Toles and Justin Turner.

Turner’s scored Utley and cut the Dodgers’ deficit in half. Adrian Gonzalez’s grounder advanced Turner to third base, where he was stranded as Pederson and Yasiel Puig struck out. After the shaky start, Hill was able to work on his repertoire and managed to end his outing on a strong note.

He retired the first two batters of the fourth inning and was promptly removed after throwing 73 pitches. He allowed four runs on four hits, and issued four walks but also collected six strikeouts.

Wilson was able to reach base for a second time in the bottom of the fourth, this time via an Athletics throwing error. After he moved into scoring position on a wild pitch, Chris Taylor drew his team-leading 10th walk of Spring Training.

Ike Davis’ single loaded the bases, and though Hahn got Utley to pop-out, he unraveled because of a mistake pitch. A hanging breaking ball to Toles was deposited to right-center field for a grand slam, giving the Dodgers a 6-4 lead. Turner followed with a solo home run that knocked Hahn out of the game.

After cruising through the first two innings, Hahn’s final line read: seven runs allowed (five earned) on eight hits in 3.1 innings. Chris Hatcher, who retired the lone batter faced in the fourth, worked around a base hit and walk in the fifth inning.

Following a Wilson leadoff single, Taylor hit an RBI triple. He then scored on a wild pitch that was also ball four to Utley. Gonzalez added an RBI single, extending the Dodgers’ lead to 10-5. Josh Rodriguez hit a solo home run in the sixth inning off Kenley Jansen, who otherwise struck out the side.

The A’s manufactured a run in the eighth inning but left the bases loaded. Austin Barnes hit an RBI single in the bottom of the eighth, and the Dodgers went on for an 11-6 victory.

An encouraging development for Los Angeles was Sergio Romo throwing a 1-2-3 seventh inning, which was his first action since returning from the World Baseball Classic with a stiff back.