After playing a 12-inning game amid humidity and rain on Saturday, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs met for the rubber match of the three-game series in another hot setting.
The warm temperature and humidity was a less than ideal setting for Josh Beckett, who was on the mound for his second start since coming off the disabled list. The right-hander suffered the same fate as Dan Haren and Hyun-Jin Ryu, who allowed the Cubs to take an early lead.
Chris Coghlan led the game off with a double to right-center and promptly advanced to third base on a passed ball. Following a strikeout, Anthony Rizzo hit an RBI double to left and the Cubs took a 1-0 lead. Beckett wound up striking out the side but the Dodgers found themselves with an early deficit.
Facing former Dodger Edwin Jackon, Justin Turner and Yasiel Puig both reached on a pair of singles. Adrian Gonzalez drove one off the right field wall, but due to Turner misreading the play, it was nothing more than a long single.
The Dodgers then tied the game on Hanley Ramirez’s double play. Beckett collected two more strikeouts in the second inning as he retired the Cubs in order. Drew Butera hit a two-out double in the second inning only to be stranded on a Beckett groundout.
Jackson hit a leadoff single in the third and Beckett walked two batters to load the bases with two outs. The Dodger starter got out of trouble by striking out Ryan Sweeney. Matt Kemp singled in the fourth inning and stole second base with one out. He took third on Juan Uribe’s groundout where he remained as Butera struck out to end the inning.
Jackson tormented Beckett once again in the fifth, this time hitting a leadoff double off his counterpart. Coghlan added to his day with a two-run home run that gave the Cubs a 3-1 lead. Arismendy Alcantara followed with a single and that spelled the end of Beckett’s day.
Paco Rodriguez and Carl Crawford entered in a double switch, and Rodriguez recorded three outs without allowing further damage. Jackson retired the first two batters he faced in the sixth and then gave up a solo home run to Kemp that got the Dodgers to within one run.
Butera doubled in the seventh inning and represented the tying run. Carl Crawford hit the ball on the screws but was robbed of a hit and likely RBI as Rizzo first made the leaping catch and then threw to second base for the inning-ending double play.
Brandon League took over for the Dodgers in the eighth and immediately found himself in a jam as he walked the bases loaded with no outs. The right-hander got Nate Schierholtz to hit into a fielder’s choice that prevented a runner from scoring, then induced a groundout from John Baker that gave the Cubs a 4-2 lead.
Starlin Castro landed the knockout punch with a pinch-hit single to center that scored two more and the Cubs extended their lead to 6-2. Chris Perez came in and walked a hitter before ending the inning with a strikeout.
Turner led off the bottom of the inning with a hit-by-pitch. Puig followed with a flare single that allowed Turner to reach third. Gonzalez was robbed of a single and Turner scored to make it 6-3, but then Ramirez grounded into an inning-ending double play. For the Dodgers, Perez came back out to pitch the ninth and allowed a solo home run to Valbuena to make it 7-3. He would finish the inning without any more runs allowed.
Hector Rondon came out to close things out for the Cubs. Rondon retired the side in order to preserve the Cubs victory.
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