By Jon Weisman
Early in tonight’s Dodgers-Giants showdown, Dodger Stadium organist Dieter Ruehle played Billy Joel’s “Pressure.”
Funnily enough, the Dodgers played as if they felt no pressure at all.
Scoring in six out of eight innings, responding each time San Francisco tied the game by taking the lead, the blue-hot Dodger offense rolled past Madison Bumgarner and the Giants, 9-5, doubling the Dodgers’ lead in the National League West to two games, their biggest since April 24.
The 3-4-5 hitters in the Dodger lineup — Corey Seager, Justin Turner and Adrián González — combined to go 8 for 12 with two walks and a sacrifice fly. González, who has hit in 16 straight games, drove in three runs, giving him 11 RBI in his past two games.
As for Seager: During his current 14-game hitting streak, the 22-year-old rookie is batting — believe it or not — .509, with a .556 on-base percentage and .737 slugging percentage.
Andrew Toles and Rob Segedin both hit their first career home runs yesterday. They have both hit home runs today too.
— Jack Baer (@JFordBaer) August 24, 2016
Really really expectant father Rob Segedin homered for the second straight game, as did fellow super-sub Andrew Toles (after ripping an RBI double as a pinch-hitter) and Kiké Hernandez worked his usual magic in a Bumgarner-started game, going 2 for 4 with an RBI.
San Francisco lost its fifth consecutive game against the Dodgers started by Bumgarner, who lasted five innings and allowed five runs on nine hits.
“Bumgarner’s one of the elite pitchers in baseball,” Dave Roberts said, “and for us to grind out at-bats and get some key hits and have a lot of traffic (on the bases) and stress him all night and get the pitch count out up, was a huge lift.”
After a strong first two innings, Kenta Maeda bent but didn’t break over his next three. For the first time in his 25-start MLB career, he walked as many as he struck out (four each), and following his second wild pitch of the game, faced Hunter Pence in a 3-3 game with runners on second and third.
With a flourish, Maeda struck out Pence swinging, González singled home Howie Kendrick and Seager in the bottom of the inning, and the Dodgers never looked back.
After the game, Roberts confirmed that Ross Stripling would start Thursday for the Dodgers, but added that Chase Utley has been “maintenancing his foot” for about a month and was unable to finish the game after entering as a pinch-hitter and scoring on Toles’ double. Utley is day to day, Roberts said.