Yasmani Grandal’s Late Home Run Is Difference For Dodgers In Win Over Rays
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers welcomed the Tampa Bay Rays to town for a midweek, two-game Interleague series that kicked off plenty of interest as Chris Archer took the mound against a club believed to be interested in trading for him.

Archer was opposed by Bud Norris, who threw 23 pitches in 1.1 innings of emergency relief in Friday’s walk-off loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. He struck out a pair and worked around an Evan Longoria two-out single to toss a scoreless first inning.

The Dodgers didn’t manage any success against Archer in the home half of the first, as they were retired in order, including Corey Seager and Justin Turner by strike out.

Steve Pearce led off the second with a ground-rule double that landed just fair down the left field line. Norris retired the next two batters before intentionally walking Luke Maile. The decision paid off as Archer was called out on strikes to end the inning.

He then proceeded to again retire the Dodgers in order, sending the game to the third locked in a scoreless tie. Archer’s early perfect game ended with one out in the bottom of the third when Joc Pederson reached on a Pearce error.

A sacrifice bunt advanced Pederson to second base, then Archer’s throwing error after fielding a high chopper kept the inning alive. The two errors cots the Rays as Seager and Turner each connected for an RBI single. Seager’s extended his hitting streak to nine games.

Corey Dickerson reached on an error to lead off the fourth but was erased on a 1-4-3 double play one batter later. Norris then struck out Kevin Kiermaier and the Dodgers’ lead remained 2-0. Pederson reached on an infield single in the bottom of the fifth but it didn’t amount to anything.

Meanwhile, Norris cruised through the fifth and sixth innings, running his strikeout total to six and retiring eight consecutive batters to that point. Archer set the Dodgers down in order in the bottom of the sixth, which included retiring Howie Kendrick to put his 16-game hitting streak in danger.

Norris walked Pearce with one out in the seventh and was removed after throwing a season-high 104 pitches. J.P. Howell’s relief appearance was brief as he came out after walking Kiermaier. Pedro Baez entered and got the Dodgers out of the small jam.

Grandal broke a scoreless drought in the bottom half of the seventh by crushing a letter-high 95 mph fastball from Archer to the visiting bullpen. The homer was Grandal’s 14th of the season and seventh in July.

Joe Blanton entered in the eighth and was immediately knocked around. The Rays combined for two singles and a double to cut the Dodgers’ lead to 3-1. Blanton bounced back to strikeout Longoria, then handed the ball to Luis Avilan.

A wild pitch allowed Forsythe to score and Miller to advance to third. The Dodgers challenged the call at home and while it appeared Forsythe missed the plate, the call was upheld after a quick review. Avilan struck out Dickerson and retired Kiermaier after intentionally walking Pearce.

Kenley Jansen allowed a leadoff single and with two outs hit Forsythe with a pitch before closing out the Dodgers’ 3-2 victory.