When you get knocked down, get back up and go again.
Less than 24 hours after the Dodgers suffered a disappointing and devastating loss at the hands of the rival St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles bounced back with an offensive explosion in their 7-2, victory on Saturday night at Busch stadium.
LA put up four runs in the third and three runs in the sixth as they cruised to victory over the Cards and moved two games clear of the NL Central club for the wild card lead.
Local news from across Southern California
"This is exactly what we needed. We responded well," Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts told reporters after the game. Kenta gave us six innings and the offense responded. It was good to see."
After two scoreless frames, Kenta Maeda took matters into his own hands as he scored Andrew Toles on an RBI squeeze bunt for the Dodgers first run of the game.
With runners at the corners and no outs, Maeda pushed a bunt down the first base line that both Mike Leake and Matt Adams went to field, leaving nobody covering first base. Toles scored on the play and Maeda made it safely to first.
"It was a safety squeeze and everything was executed to pefection," Roberts said of the call. "In that situation, it gave us some breathing room and then JT [Justin Turner] gets his big hit. There was a lot of good things going on tonight."
Two batters later, Justin Turner continued his torrid hitting streak with a bases-clearing, double to the gap in right-center and the Dodgers staked a 4-0 lead on Leake.
Friday night's hero, Matt Adams, capitalized off his game-winning home run in the 16th inning with a solo shot in the fifth inning to put the Cardinals on the board. It ws Adam's second straight game with a homer.
"It was a 3-2 count and I threw to a place that Adams was able to go down and get it," Maeda told the media through a translator of the only home run he allowed on the night.
Leake (7-8) was unable to limit the damage further as he allowed a leadoff home run to Adrian Gonzalez in the top of the sixth as the Dodgers got the run right back.
Gonzalez sent a 90PMH sinker from Leake over the centerfield wall and into the empty grass space behind dead-center that has made Busch Stadium so spectacularly famous.
Four batters later, Joc Pederson knocked in two runs with an RBI single and Toles scored from second on a throwing error by Adams at first base.
"I take a lot of pride in how I play," Toles told Alanna Rizzo of SportsNetLA. "I'm fast and sometimes they make mistakes, what can I say?"
Leake's night ended after that as the veteran right-hander allowed seven runs (six earned), on 12 hits with four strikeouts in six innings for the Redbirds.
Toles started in right field in place of the injured Yasiel Puig and made the most of his spot start, finishing 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored for his first multi-hit game of his big league career.
"I was just looking to get a good pitch and I got a couple and got some hits," added Toles. "I just want to go out there and try and win. It's been an adjustment at this level, we'll see what the future holds."
Thus far, Toles --the former grocery store employee-- has given the Dodgers a much-needed speed aspect the team did not have prior. His manager knows how vaulable that added asset can be.
"He can hit, defend and run," Roberts said of Toles. "That element of speed is definitely something we don't have so for me it's fun to see it."
Maeda (9-7) bounced back after a loss in his last start against the Diamondbacks with a strong performance on Saturday. The Japanese right-hander allowed just two runs on five hits with three strikeouts in 5 and 2/3 innings.
Ross Stripling was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City before the game and pitched two innings of scoreless relief to finish the game for the Dodgers. It was Stripling's first Major League action since May 22nd.
"It feels great to be back," Stripling said. "To have some success is good. It was good to see that, good to pitch to contact and have two quick innings."
Players of the Game:
Andrew Toles: 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored.
Adrian Gonzalez: Home run.
Justin Turner: 2-for-5 with a double and two RBI.
1. Freshly Squeezed: Kenta Maeda executed the squeeze play to perfection as he hit an RBI bunt single to put the Dodgers on the board in the first inning.
2. Turn Back the Clock: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St Louis Cardinals wore throw back uniforms on Saturday night as the Redbirds wore their 1956 uniforms and the Dodgers wore the infamous Brooklyn Dodger hats from their days at Ebbets Field.
3. The Return of the Ross: The Dodgers recalled right-hander Ross Stripling before the game and optioned left-hander Grant Dayton back to Triple-A OKC after the rookie pitched two scoreless innings in his debut on Friday night in extra innings. Stripling was the Dodgers' Opening Day fifth starter, and last pitched on May 22nd.
And here is the absolute freshest arm out of the bullpen — Ross Stripling. Stripling last appeared in a big league game on May 22. — Dodger Insider (@DodgerInsider) July 24, 2016
Dodgers (55-44): Scott Kazmir is expected to make the start on Sunday for Los Angeles in the rubber match of the series.
Cardinals (52-45): Mike Mayers will make his MLB debut for the RedBirds on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball.
All quotes courtesy of TWC SportsNetLA.