On top of riding a modest three-game winning streak into Saturday’s matchup with the Miami Marlins, the Los Angeles Dodgers were also in the midst of a franchise-record 13 consecutive games without committing an error.
That quickly came to an end in the bottom of the first inning on Andre Ethier’s wide throw to third base that allowed a run to immediately score, and a second to cross the plate on a wild pitch moments later.
Ethier’s errant throw was compounded by the fact Clayton Kershaw didn’t get in satisfactory position to backup Justin Turner, which the left-handed ace acknowledged as a mistake during his postgame remarks.
As for the wild pitch, Yasmani Grandal squared the ball up so that it bounced into his protective chest gear. However, instead of the ball dying in front of Grandal, it rolled behind him. The bad break is one that caught Grandal by surprise, according to Bill Plunkett of the OC Register:
I thought that ball was right under me,” Grandal said. “When you block a ball that bounced in front of home plate and you feel where it hits you, you know where it should be. All of a sudden, I look down and it’s not where it’s supposed to be.”
The Dodgers’ miscues gave the Marlins a 2-1 lead from which Los Angeles nearly recovered. Because their adventures in the first inning weren’t enough, Joc Pederson, who’s played a Gold-Glove caliber center field this season, committed an error that allowed the deciding run to score in the second inning.
With two outs and Marlins starter Tom Koehler at the plate with a runner on third, Pederson misjudged a line drive hit right at him. He attempted to make a leaping catch and had the ball skip off his glove. The rookie center fielder accepted responsibility for his error and put the loss on his shoulders:
I dropped it,” Pederson said. “I messed up and I lost the game for us. It cost us the game. He hit it good. But it still needs to be caught. Every time.”
The Dodgers cut their 3-1 deficit in half in the fourth inning and stellar Marlins defense prevented the Dodgers from having a bigger inning. Los Angeles now looks to get a series win Sunday with Zack Greink on the mound before heading to Arizona for the final three games of their 10-game road trip.