Time to walk the plank.
Cody Bellinger hit a two-run homer and Chase Utley turned back the clock, as the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates, 5-2, on Wednesday night to complete a three-game sweep at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers got some bad news to start the day as it was announced that left-fielder Andrew Toles would be out for the remainder of the season after he tore the ACL in his right knee on Tuesday night.
"As much as we all feel for Andrew in this situation, we still have a baseball game to win and more to play," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts. "It means a lot of guys are going to get more opportunities, and we expect them to go out there and produce."
A visibly downtrodden Toles spoke to the media before the game, telling reporters he wants to "stay positive," and that he told his teammates to "keep moving on. We've got other dudes who can play. It's no big deal."
One of those "other dudes" who can play is 21-year-old Cody Bellinger who now becomes the everyday left fielder in Toles' absence. Bellinger has lit the league on fire since he was called up to the Major Leagues two weeks ago and continued that pace with a two-run homer in the first inning on Wednesday.
"I was waiting for a quick pitch," said Bellinger of the at-bat. "I saw him pick up his leg and that allowed me to stay back on the ball and luckily, he left it up."
The long ball was Bellinger's sixth of the season, and it comes in just his 14th career game. He now is tied with Yasiel Puig for the team lead in home runs and is just two RBI behind Puig for the team lead at 19.
"It's been crazy and fun," said Bellinger of the hot start to his career. "I'm just going to go along for the ride and help these guys win."
Bellinger became the second fastest in franchise history to hit six home runs to start their career. Matt Kemp holds the record after he hit six home runs in his first 13 games to start his career in 2006.
With Bellinger moving back to left field and Adrian Gonzalez on the disabled list, Chase Utley made his first start of the season at first base and immediately looked like the Utley of old at the plate.
Utley recorded his first multi-hit game of the season, going 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI as he stepped back into the time machine for the Boys in Blue.
"I'm just trying to stick with it," said Utley after the game. "Eventually hits will fall and for me, tonight was a good night."
Utley participated in a simulated batting practice with right-hander Brandon McCarthy before the game, an exercise he believes helped him at the plate in the finale against the Pirates.
"Any time you can get mulitple at-bats it can help your timing," Utley said. "Hopefully, I can take that with me to Colorado."
Chase Utley credited taking simulated BP w/ B-Mac before game for his night at the plate. Said CT3 "called him off" on grounder. #Dodgers pic.twitter.com/gfryMC8xcj— Michael J. Duarte (@michaeljduarte) May 11, 2017
Yasmani Grandal also continues to swing a hot bat as he reached base safely in all four plate appearances, finishing 3-for-3 for a double, RBI, run scored and a walk.
For the second straight start, Kenta Maeda was masterful. The Japanese right-hander nearly pitched a complete-game shutout before allowing a two-run homer in the top of the ninth.
"I was hoping he'd go the distance," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts. "I was absolutely pulling for him to complete it, but you get to a certain point and you want to make sure you win the game. I didn't want him to have a sour taste after that brilliant outing."
All in all, Maeda was pretty dominant, allowing just two runs on five hits with no walks and five strikeouts in a career-best 8 and 1/3 innings.
Chad Kuhl defeated the Dodgers in his MLB debut on June 26, 2016, but he was knocked around on Wednesday, allowing four runs on six hits with two walks and four strikeouts in five innings.
"Tonight was bad," said Kuhl of his start. "It's a shame what happened in the first inning. It's unacceptable."
Francisco Cervelli scored the only runs of the game for the #Bucs with a two-run homer off Maeda in the bottom of the ninth.
The Dodgers have swept both Pennsylvania teams in consecutive weeks after sweeping the Phillies April 28-30. They also are riding a season-high five-game win-streak.
The Dodgers head out on a seven-game road trip starting in Colorado on Thursday. Hyun-Jin Ryu is expected to be activated off the disabled list and start opposite LHP Tyler Anderson at 5:40PM PST at Coors Field.