Kenta Maeda took a hammer to the Dodgers’ streak of 18 straight games without a starting pitcher reaching the seventh inning, striking out a career-high 13 in seven innings before leaving with a 3-1 lead.
Maeda fanned two batters in each of the first three innings, one in the fourth and then six batters in a row from the fifth into the seventh. His previous big-league high of nine strikeouts came June 8 against Colorado.
No Dodger starter had retired a batter in the seventh inning since Clayton Kershaw on June 20. None had even reached the sixth inning since Scott Kazmir on July 2.
Maeda walked none, allowing only an Alex Dickerson single in the second inning and a Derek Norris home run in the fifth among his 97 pitches. Adrian Gonzalez countered that homer with a solo shot of his own in the bottom of the fifth, after two Howie Kendrick hits in the first two innings helped the Dodgers get their first two runs.
Maeda is the ninth pitcher in Dodger history to strike out at least 13 in a game while walking none. Kershaw has done it the past five times, including twice this year. Before Kershaw, there were Dazzy Vance, Van Lingle Mungo, Don Drysdale, Sandy Koufax, Kevin Gross, Brad Penny and Chad Billingsley.
With a game score of 82, Maeda also turned in one of the top seven-inning performances in Dodger history. Another rookie from Japan, Hideo Nomo, had a game score of 84 on May 17, 1995, when he struck out 14 with two hits and three walks in seven shutout innings.
Update: It took a 30-pitch save from in the ninth from Kenley Jansen, who had to pitch out of a two-on, none-out jam, but the Dodgers won. At 51-40, the Dodgers are tied for the seventh-best record in the Major Leagues.
San Diego’s past two Sunday afternoons at Dodger Stadium (May 1 and today): 6 for 59 with one run one walk and 30 strikeouts.
— Dodger Insider (@DodgerInsider) July 10, 2016