CLEVELAND -- Five runs over their final two plate appearances proved to be the difference for the Los Angeles Dodgers in an interleague game against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field Tuesday night.
With two runs in the eighth inning, the Dodgers (40-25) broke a tie game, and three insurance runs in the ninth proved critical, as they provided enough of a cushion to secure a 7-5 win over the Indians (31-30).
With the win, the Dodgers improved to 15-15 away from home at Chavez Ravine and kept pace with the Colorado Rockies in the National League West Division, while the Indians fell to 14-16 at Progressive Field.
First baseman Cody Bellinger got the top of the eighth inning started when he smashed a 2-1 pitch from left-handed reliever Andrew Miller over the wall in right field for the lead-off solo home run. Bellinger’s home run, which landed just out of the reach of Indians outfielder Daniel Robertson, gave the Dodgers the lead for good.
After the Indians went to reliever Bryan Shaw, left fielder Chris Taylor and second baseman Logan Forsythe drew back-to-back walks. Taylor came around to score on a fielder’s choice from center fielder Joc Pederson when a relay throw from second baseman Jason Kipnis bounced over Carlos Santana’s glove at first base and dribbled into foul territory.
The Dodgers added three insurance runs in the top of the ninth inning when Bellinger belted a three-run home run off of Indians lefty Boone Logan that brought around shortstop Corey Seager and third baseman Justin Turner, who got back-to-back singles against Dan Otero to start the frame.
For the second consecutive game, Bellinger hit at least two home runs, and has five round-trippers over his last eight at-bats.
The Indians made it a two-run game when Daniel Robertson belted a three-run home run onto the Home Run Porch in left field in the bottom of the ninth inning. Robertson’s first career Major League home run came with two outs, and the Indians were unable to extend the game after the blast.
The Dodgers got on the scoreboard with a pair of runs against Indians starting pitcher Trevor Bauer in the top of the second inning.
Taylor smacked a 2-1 pitch into left field for a lead-off single, and after Bauer got Forsythe to strike out swinging and induced a groundout to shortstop from Pederson, right fielder Yasiel Puig belted a 1-1 pitch over the wall in right-center field for his 10th home run of the season.
On his way to the dugout following the home run, Puig tossed an obscene gesture toward Indians fans behind home plate.
Although the Indians did not have an immediate response for the early production from Los Angeles, they got a run back off of Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw in the bottom of the third inning.
Robertson led off the inning with a double to left field, and after moving over to third base on a groundout from Kipnis, he came in to score on an RBI single to right field from outfielder Michael Brantley.
Then, the Indians drew even with the Dodgers in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Down in the count, 0-2, catcher Roberto Perez took three straight pitches from Kershaw out of the strike zone before smashing a solo home run into the bleacher seats to lead off the frame.
The Indians looked as though the rally would continue when, two batters later, Kipnis doubled to the wall in left field, and Brantley followed with a walk. However, Kershaw got Santana to foul out along the first-base line for the final out of the inning.
The Dodgers threatened to go back in front in the top of the sixth inning, but the Indians kept them at bay.
Bellinger led off the inning with a double to right field, and after a pair of swinging strikeouts from catcher Yasmani Grandal and Taylor, Forsythe and Pederson drew back-to-back walks, which chased Bauer from the game.
However, Miller came on in relief, and after a first-pitch ball, struck out Puig swinging to end the threat.
Bauer scattered six hits and three walks over 5.2 innings of work and held the Dodgers to two earned runs. Bauer struck out five hitters, but the bullpen struggled to locate the strike zone in relief.
Miller allowed two hits, including the home run, and only 13 of his 25 pitches went for strikes, while Shaw threw 11 of his 23 pitches out of the zone.
Over seven innings of work, Kershaw scattered six hits, two walks and two earned runs while striking out four Indians hitters.