Final: Dodgers beat Cubs 5-3 despite ninth inning Craig Kimbrel drama
Mookie Betts hit his second home run of the night and 20th of the season in the eighth inning to give the Dodgers an insurance run.
Then, the Dodgers had to navigate some drama in the ninth, after Craig Kimbrel could record only two outs before being pulled with a pitch count of 31 and the tying runs on the corners.
Nonetheless, the Dodgers completed their 5-3 defeat of the Cubs, with Alex Vesia striking out Nelson Velazquez to end the game.
And the Dodgers beat the Cubs 5-3 to win their fourth game in a row and improve to 53-29 on the season.
Final: Dodgers 5, Cubs 3
Tony Gonsolin finishes another strong start, but Brusdar Graterol leaves with apparent injury
Tony Gonsolin is still MLB’s leader in ERA, keeping his mark at a major league-best 1.62 after a seven-inning, two-run start tonight.
It’s the first time in Gonsolin’s career he’s pitched seven inning in back-to-back outings, and his 12th in a row giving up two or less in at least five innings.
In the eighth inning, however, the Dodgers were dealt an injury when Brusdar Graterol left the game after just four pitches.
Graterol appeared to be poking at his side after his final pitch.
A trainer came out to check on him before he left the game.
Top 8th: Dodgers lead 4-2
Tony Gonsolin gives up home run; Mookie Betts stays in game after hit by pitch
The Cubs cut the Dodgers lead in half in the top of the fifth, after Christopher Morel clobbered a two-run homer to left off Tony Gonsolin.
It was the first time since May 28 Gonsolin had allowed more than one run in an inning.
The Dodgers had a bigger scare in the bottom half of the inning, when Mookie Betts was hit on the hand by a pitch.
Betts, however, was checked out by a trainer and stayed in the game.
End 6th: Dodgers lead 4-2
Dodgers jump in front thanks to three early home runs
The Dodgers have played long ball early on tonight, hitting three home runs in the first four innings to take a quick lead.
Mookie Betts led the game off with a solo blast to left. Gavin Lux sent a two-run homer in the second into the right field bullpen. Justin Turner tacked on another run in the fourth with a long ball to center.
It’s the 15th time this season the Dodgers have hit at least three home runs in a game.
Tony Gonsolin, meanwhile, has gotten off to another dominant start, blanking the Cubs through four innings while throwing just 49 pitches.
End 4th: Dodgers lead 4-0
With All-Star decision looming, Tony Gonsolin looks to continue strong start to season
There’s little doubt Tony Gonsolin will be part of the National League All-Star team this year.
Entering his 16th start of the season Thursday, the only real question is whether he will get the chance to start the game on home soil at Dodger Stadium.
Gonsolin enters the night with the majors’ best record (10-0), ERA (1.54), and batting average against (.156).
He doesn’t have the most innings, logging only 81 2/3 after some short starts during the season’s opening weeks.
But few, if any, have thrown the ball better over the past two months, with Gonsolin riding a streak of 11 straight outings in which he’s pitched at least five innings and given up no more than two runs.
His last time out was one of the best starts of his career, when he gave up one run in a career-long 7 2/3 inning display against the San Diego Padres.
“He’s focused as much as I’ve ever seen him,” manager Dave Roberts said. “When you’re searching for your identity, it’s hard to be present. I think now, whether it’s his side sessions, whether it’s in the weight room, whether it’s in his pre-series pitchers meetings, or on the mount, he’s in the moment.”
The Dodgers enter Thursday in top form, as well. They’ve won 12 of their last 16 games, including six of their first seven on this 11-game home stand.
Here’s the lineup they’ll throw out for the series opener against the Chicago Cubs:
Dodgers prospects Miguel Vargas, Bobby Miller, Diego Cartaya selected for Futures Game
The Dodgers will be well-represented when the MLB Futures Game is held at Dodger Stadium on July 16.
The league announced Thursday that three Dodgers prospects — infielder Miguel Vargas, pitcher Bobby Miller and catcher Diego Cartaya — will participate in the game, matching the New York Yankees for the most in the exhibition contest.
Vargas, 22, is the most big-league ready player of the trio. In 79 games with triple A Oklahoma City this year, the Cuba native is batting .292 with 13 home runs, 59 RBIs and a .878 OPS. He is the team’s No. 5 overall prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.
Miller, 23, is the club’s top-ranked pitching prospect. A former first-round pick with a triple-digit fastball, he has started 14 games for double A Tulsa this year, posting a 4.45 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 62 2/3 innings.
Cartaya, 20, is not only the team’s top-ranked prospect, but one of the most highly-touted minor leaguers in the sport.
He was recently promoted from single A Rancho Cucamonga to high A Great Lakes, and is batting .283 with 14 home runs, 48 RBIs and a .987 OPS between the two affiliates this season.
Dodgers vs. Cubs: How to watch, streaming options and start times
What you need to know: The Dodgers take a break from playing NL West Division teams when they welcome the Chicago Cubs on Thursday for the first of four games at Dodger Stadium.
Tony Gonsolin gets a chance to improve on his perfect 10-0 record and 1.54 earned-run average when he faces a Cubs team that struggled in June, winning just 10 of 27 games, but has had better fortune in July with series wins against Boston and Milwaukee.
The Cubs, who are 34-48 and in third place in the NL Central, will counter Gonsolin with right-hander Mark Leiter Jr., who is 2-2 and has an ERA of 4.85.
On the home stand, the Dodgers (52-29) have won six of seven games — three of four from San Diego and a three-game sweep of Colorado after they defeated the Rockies on Wednesday 2-1.
At the conclusion of their series with the Cubs, the Dodgers will travel to St. Louis for three with the Cardinals, then fly back to California for two games with the Angels at Anaheim before the All-Star break.
Dodgers sweep Rockies with walk-off win, push lead in NL West to six games
First, they got Mitch White off the hook for a loss.
Then, they set the stage for a walkoff win.
Mookie Betts had the decisive swing Wednesday, hitting a single on a high chopper over the mound with the bases loaded in the ninth inning to give the Dodgers a 2-1 win over the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium.
But it was the bottom of the Dodgers lineup that did the heavy lifting, manufacturing a tying rally in the seventh inning before keying the dramatic finish that completed the team’s three-game sweep of their division rivals.
“Those guys have been really, really good,” Betts said. “They just continue to put good at-bats together. They’re the reason we are where we are now.”
Both times, Cody Bellinger got the threat started from the No. 7 spot in the batting order.