By Jon Weisman
Brandon McCarthy and the Dodgers had only one bad inning today out of nine, but it counted.
After retiring nine of the 10 batters he faced in three shutout innings, McCarthy surrendered three runs in the fourth — Evan Longoria’s two-run homer the top changemaker — allowing Tampa Bay to overcome A.J. Ellis’ first career stolen base for a 3-1 victory.
McCarthy needed only 46 pitches to get to the fourth inning, but used 37 more to get out of it and despite seven strikeouts, was done for the day.
“This is the first time that Brandon’s thrown on regular rest, so for me, I just wanted to be mindful again of him just coming back from surgery in his fifth outing,” Dave Roberts said. “Overall, I thought he threw the ball well, but Longoria put a good swing on it and they got an extra run.
“Outside of the heat, I thought (McCarthy) was fine. I thought his stuff was good. I thought his fastball had life, velocity was good. He was getting swing-and-miss, he was getting strikeouts. That fourth inning … for me to think of sending him back out there for another seven or eight pitches, just didn’t make sense.”
Dodger relievers held Tampa Bay scoreless for the final five innings (including three by Ross Stripling, giving him eight shutout innings in three appearances this year out of the big-league bullpen) but Los Angeles couldn’t manufacture a comeback.
The Dodgers’ best look at the game came in the seventh inning, following Joc Pederson’s leadoff walk. Ellis flied 373 feet to the left-field wall for the first out.
After Chase Utley fouled out, Howie Kendrick came up to bat, having gone 2 for 2 with a walk to that point. But with the count full, Rays first sacker Logan Morrison went into the stands to catch Kendrick’s foul ball.
[mlbvideo id=”977793783″ width=”550″ height=”308″ /]
Says here that's Howie Kendrick's first foul pop-out in the last six seasons: https://t.co/VYIjcyeDiC
— J.P. Hoornstra (@jphoornstra) July 27, 2016
Minutes before the Dodgers’ final out, San Francisco lost for the ninth time in 11th games, leaving Los Angeles 2 1/2 games behind in the National League West. The Giants host the Nationals on Thursday, while the Dodgers are off.