Hill digs hole, Dodgers can’t get out

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first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Over 22 innings in the first two games of this series, the Dodgers are batting .100 (7 for 70) with 25 strikeouts against Cardinals pitching. Their only damage Wednesday came in the seventh inning when Corey Seager led off with a double (the third of four hits allowed by Leake), went to third on a ground out and scored on a sacrifice fly by Bellinger. LOS ANGELES >> Like Bigfoot, Rich Hill’s potential to be a dominant starter for the Dodgers has been occasionally glimpsed. But it has yet to be captured.The recurring blisters on the middle finger of his pitching hand are largely to blame for that elusiveness. But that much-publicized digit did not appear any more culpable than the other four on Hill’s left hand as he walked a career-high seven in just over four innings, digging a hole the Dodgers couldn’t escape in a 6-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday night.There were no signs of trouble as Hill retired the Cardinals in order on only five pitches in the first inning. But he quickly lost his way after that, walking six of the next 12 batters.Hill walked the bases loaded in the second, gave up a two-run single to Kolten Wong, then walked the opposing pitcher to load the bases again. He escaped that and another two-walk, bases-loaded situation in the third inning without further damage.center_img But another walk started the fourth inning. After a bunt single, Cody Bellinger misplayed a Jedd Gyorko single that would have loaded the bases yet again. Two runs scored when the ball got past Bellinger and Hill’s night was done after allowing half of the 22 batters he faced to reach base (seven on walks, four on hits).The Dodgers left-hander was visibly upset with plate umpire Rob Drake at times during the walk-a-thon. But fewer than half of Hill’s 82 pitches (40) found the strike zone, a lack of precision that couldn’t be blamed entirely on Drake’s decision-making.Facing the team with the lowest ERA in the majors over the past five weeks, the Dodgers’ fate was decided by Hill’s stumbling start.Cardinals starter Mike Leake (1.91) leap-frogged Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw (2.01) to take over the National League ERA lead by allowing just one run over eight innings Wednesday.Leake retired 17 of the first 19 batters he faced. Sound familiar? Tuesday night’s Cardinals starter Lance Lynn retired 21 of 23 Dodgers while holding them to one hit through the first seven innings.last_img

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