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Rich Hill's six scoreless innings help Dodgers beat Padres, 5-1

Rich Hill's six scoreless innings help Dodgers beat Padres, 5-1
Rich Hill did not give up a hit until two outs in the sixth inning Saturday night. (Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

The scream erupted from Rich Hill just as the line drive raced into the outfield. He had recorded 17 outs without allowing a hit, and while his escalating pitch count made a bid for history seem unlikely, the single by San Diego Padres veteran Alexei Ramirez still chafed him. 

On Saturday, in a 5-1 victory, there was little else for Hill to get upset about.

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In his second start as a Dodger, Hill replicated a simulacrum of his debut on Aug. 24 against the San Francisco Giants. He twirled six more scoreless innings, striking out eight alone the way. He helped his club maintain a two-game advantage on the Giants in the National League West

"The biggest thing is just staying in the moment, and focusing each pitch, having each pitch come out of your hand the way you want it to," Hill said. "I was able to do that tonight."

Hill has tantalized the Dodgers for weeks. He was scratched from his scheduled appearance earlier this week due to a reemergence of the blisters on his left hand. But he showed no signs of distress in Saturday’s victory. 

His teammates handed him a four-run lead in the fourth inning, when Yasmani Grandal capped a rally with a three-run home run. In the sixth inning, Josh Reddick added his first home run as a Dodger. Casey Fien gave up a run in relief in the eighth inning. 

The offense thrashed Padres starter Luis Perdomo during his second turn through the lineup. Earlier in the day, Corey Seager admitted his left wrist still felt sore after getting hit by a fastball five days earlier.

Seager insisted the discomfort was not the source of his recent mini-slump, with zero hits in 16 at-bats heading into Saturday.

To prove his point, Seager singled in the first inning and again in the fourth. After his second hit, he raced to third base on a single by Justin Turner

Adrian Gonzalez drove him in with the team’s third consecutive single, placing runners at the corners for Grandal. 

"The base-running in that inning was very good," Manager Dave Roberts said.

Grandal was in the midst of a slump of his own. He had managed only four hits in his last 25 at-bats. Then Perdomo challenged him with a fastball at the waist. Grandal belted it over the center-field fence for his 22nd home run of the season.

"Overall, it was just a really good team win," Hill said.

De Leon is set to make debut 

The mind of Dodgers pitching prospect Jose De Leon grows anxious in the hours before he pitches, so on Friday he sneaked into a movie theater in Omaha to quell his nerves. He often finds refuge in front of the silver screen. After he watched Jason Statham wreak havoc in "Mechanic: Resurrection," he walked outside and felt his phone ring.

"Hey," Oklahoma City Manager Bill Haselman told him, "I've got good news for you."

After weeks of waiting, the Dodgers will bring up De Leon to make his major league debut on Sunday at Dodger Stadium

With Julio Urias ensconced on the big league club, De Leon became the organization's top pitching prospect. He had struck out 40 batters in his previous for starts in triple A, and has posted a 2.61 earned-run average in 16 outings.

De Leon, a 24-year-old right-hander, acknowledged the chatter from the fan base for his promotion in recent weeks. He insisted he did not question the organization's decision to wait until September to bring him up.

"They have a plan," De Leon said. "I've just got to stick to it, and be ready whenever they call me. The best thing that I was really thinking about is that I needed to be here in L.A. this year, because I wanted Vin Scully to call my game. So that's a good thing."

Unlike Urias, De Leon does not appear to be nearing a shutdown due to an innings restriction. He has only thrown 86 1/3 innings this season, in part because the team kept him in extended spring training and he missed most of May. De Leon threw 114 1/3 innings last season, which gives him plenty of room to contribute in September. 

De Leon said he had not leaned much on Urias, one of his good friends in the organization, for advice.

"I just try to keep it simple," De Leon said. "If I ask too many questions, it's going to get into my head. I just want to go out there and pitch, and do what I do, and just have fun."

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