By Jon Weisman
It doesn’t take away the sting of Clayton Kershaw’s 48-pitch third inning in the final game of the 2013 National League Championship Series in St. Louis, but as an example of “what goes around, comes around,” we’ll take it.
The Dodgers forced Cardinals pitcher Lance Lynn to suffer through a 45-pitch second inning today at Dodger Stadium, scoring a season-high six runs to take a 7-0 lead. Lynn was left to endure the entire inning, ostensibly because of the depth problems impacting the St. Louis pitching staff, but then did not return for the third.
Unfortunately, the Dodgers did not come through their robust inning unscathed, either. Justin Turner and Hanley Ramirez each reached base in the second inning, but neither made it to the third.
Turner had to jog into second base on his double because of an apparent hamstring injury and left for pinch-runner Miguel Rojas, while Ramirez, in his first game since Monday while battling irritation in the acromioclavicular joint of his right shoulder, walked and scored in the second (after hitting an infield single in the first) but left the game after a conversation in the dugout with Don Mattingly and Stan Conte.
Not even third-base coach Lorenzo Bundy was 100 percent once the inning was over. Ken Gurnick of MLB.com tweeted that Bundy was limping to the coaching box “after getting treatment on a sore right calf.”
The Dodgers led 7-1 heading into the fifth inning behind Zack Greinke, who has had tremendous success in 4:15 p.m. starts at Dodger Stadium. On July 13, 2013, Greinke pitched a two-hit, 2:17 shutout against Colorado in which only one ball reached the outfield, a single by Todd Helton. It wasn’t until Matt Carpenter hit a two-out, third-inning solo home run that Greinke allowed any kind of fly ball to the outfield, and not until Yasiel Puig caught the final out of the fourth that a Dodger outfielder made a putout in either of Greinke’s 4:15 p.m. Dodger Stadium starts. It took 43 batters for that to happen.
Greinke struck out the side in the first inning and had six strikeouts through four innings, with no walks.
Los Angeles reached base 14 times in the first four innings, on two walks, seven singles and five doubles — including two two-baggers for Dee Gordon, who in his past 11 1/2 games was 19 for 42 (.452) with seven walks (.510 OB), two doubles and three triples (.619 slugging).
A.J. Ellis doubled and singled in his first two trips to raise his 2014 OBP to an even .400. Ellis had a .475 OBP since coming off the disabled list the first time May 21.
All three Dodger outfielders — Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Yasiel Puig — each reached base twice in the first four innings.
Update: Greinke ended up going seven innings, walking none and striking out 10 while allowing four hits and just the solo homer. It was the second time this year Greinke had a game of zero walks and at least 10 strikeouts, and the 18th time for a Dodger pitcher this century.
The outing also helped Dodger starting pitchers achieve the longest streak (32 games) in NL history since at least 1914 of walking two or fewer batters. Greinke, Clayton Kershaw, Dan Haren, Josh Beckett and Hyun-Jin Ryu combined to go at least six innings in 26 of those 32 games and at least five innings in 31 of 32.
Cardinals lefty Nick Greenwood shut out the Dodgers from the third through the sixth, raising the question of whether he should have come in during the second inning. But the Dodgers plated two more runs in the bottom of the eighth, with Gordon getting his third hit and Clint Robinson scoring his first Major League run.
October 18, 2013 : Cardinals 9, Dodgers 0
June 28, 2014: Dodgers 9, Cardinals 1