Happy Independence Day.
Yasmani Grandal and Chris Taylor each knocked in three runs, and the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrated the birth of our great nation, with a sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates, 6-4, on Fourth of July at Dodger Stadium.
Less than 24 hours after providing the fireworks with six home runs in a win on Tuesday, the Dodgers proved they could score without the longball as they secured the sweep courtesy of some good old fashioned clutch hitting.
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"We know we can manufacture runs," said Taylor. "It just so happens that we've been scoring most of our runs by way of the homer. But even in those scenarios, we're just thinking about putting good swings on it. On those days when the ball is going out and we hit six homers, there's a pretty good chance we'd be scoring runs somehow even if we weren't hitting homers."
Grandal got the Dodgers on the board in the bottom of the first inning with a two-out RBI single and Los Angeles led, 1-0.
The Bucs took over the lead in the top half of the third after doubles by Jordy Mercer and Starling Marte put Pittsburgh ahead, 2-1.
"Unfortunately with Marte, I left that curveball up a little bit in that 3-2 count," said Hill of the double to Marte. "Looking back on it, if I make that a little bit of a better pitch, I get a better result."
Grandal was responsible for the first three runs as he helped the Dodgers recapture the lead with a two-run double in the bottom of the third inning.
A few pitches later, Grandal advanced to third base on a wild pitch by Clay Holmes, and scored a pitch later on a single by Taylor.
Grandal finished the game going 2-for-3 for his third consecutive multi-hit game, and is batting .700 with five runs, two doubles, one triple, one home run and five RBI along with five walks over that span.
Taylor knocked in two more with a two-run, bases loaded single in the bottom of the fifth that put the Dodgers ahead, 6-2.
"It's been fun. Everyone seems to be swinging the bat well," Taylor said. "It's nice when we're rolling like this and it seems like it's a different guy stepping up every day."
Taylor went 2-for-3 with a walk, and is now batting .371 with 11 runs, four doubles, two triples, two home runs and 15 RBI in 16 career games against the Pirates.
In the first Major League start of his career, Holmes (0-1), took the loss allowing four runs on five hits with three walks and two strikeouts.
Rich Hill (2-3) earned the win, his first since April 1st, as he surrendered two runs on four hits with one walk and five strikeouts in five innings of work.
"I think its the mechanical things I worked on a month ago," said Hill of his recent success and if he's turned a corner with his second win of the year. "Where we're at to this point the way the ball is coming out, both the fastball and curveball are really mirroring each other extremely well. That's something I look forward to keeping the rest of the season."
In his first start against the Pirates since he lost a perfect game at PNC Park in extra innings, Hill improved to 4-2 in 10 career starts against the Pirates, posting a 3.28 ERA with 60 strikeouts.
Hll was also a thorn in the Pirates side in the bottom of the fourth inning as he collected his first hit on a bunt single, took second on a wild pitch, and third on a passed ball, before getting thrown out at the plate after a head-first slide on a sacrifice fly.
"Besides the slide at home, I thought everything else was okay," joked Hill of his baserunning skills. "I just need to learn how to slide feet first. I'm definitely going to be out there working on it with somebody. I'm going to grab someone and ask them teach me how to slide feet first."
Gregory Polanco hit a two-run home run off left-hander Edward Paredes in the top of the eighth inning, prompting Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts to go to All-Star closer, Kenley Jansen for a five-out save.
Jansen struck out three of the seven batters he faced for his 23rd save of the season.
The Dodgers have swept the Pirates at home for the second consecutive season and completed their sixth sweep of the year.
In the six games against the Bucs this season, the Dodgers scored a combined 53 runs for an average of nearly nine runs per game.
In the three games at Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles outscored Pittsburgh, 31-8, marking the first time the Dodgers have totaled 30+ runs and 20+ extra-base hits in a three-game series since 1950, when the Brooklyn Dodgers had 47 runs and 22 extra-base hits... against the Pirates.
The sellout crowd of 53,139 were left holding their breath in the bottom of the fifth as Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner was hit in the head with a 99MPH fastball from Tyler Glasnow.
Thankfully, Turner did not appear to be hurt as he stayed in the game.
Greyhound on the Hudson River Line
Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher, Daniel Hudson, was ejected in the sixth inning after first base umpire Jeff Nelson appeared to warn him for something concerning his delivery.
Hudson appeared to reply with an expletive to Nelson, asking him in a not-so-polite-way to go back behind first base, and Nelson tossed the pitcher who was livid with the decision. It was his first career ejection.
After an off day on Thursday, the Dodgers will head south on the I-5 for the first of three with the Angels in the Freeway Series. RHP Kenta Maeda will start for the Dodgers with first pitch scheduled for 7:07PM PST.
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