A pitcher’s duel between Zach Plesac and Clayton Kershaw descended into a battle of bullpens, with the Cleveland Guardians prevailing over the Los Angeles Dodgers, 2-1, in extra innings Friday night.
Richie Palacios delivered the go-ahead run in the tenth inning, scoring Owen Miller from third on a sac fly. With Emmanuel Clase unavailable after pitching each game of the three-game series against the Rockies, manager Terry Francona turned to Enyel De Los Santos to close out the bottom of the tenth. He was able to get it done, striking out Justin Turner to end the game.
Cleveland starting pitcher Zach Plesac was excellent, giving up five hits and two walks over six innings but only allowing one earned run, a solo home run by Cody Bellinger in the second inning. He went toe to toe with Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw, who limited the Guardians to five hits and one walk over five innings, striking out four. His lone blemish of the night came in the fourth inning after Jose Ramirez and Oscar Gonzalez reached on back-to-back singles to lead off the inning, setting up a sac fly by Josh Naylor to pull even at 1-1.
That was all the scoring either team could muster during the first nine frames. The story of the game was perhaps the Cleveland bullpen, with a group of unsung heroes stepping in to keep the Guardians in the game. Sam Hentges pitched his way out of trouble in the seventh inning, getting Freddie Freeman to ground into a double play with runners on first and second and one out.
After Trevor Stephan pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning, he returned to the mound in the ninth, giving up a leadoff single to Bellinger. He struck out Chris Taylor but then disaster appeared to strike when Oscar Gonzalez dropped a fly ball from Hanser Alberto, putting runners on first and third with only one out. So Francona decided to bring in Anthony Gose, who took Gavin Lux to a full count before striking him out on a slider. He then got ahead in the count, 0-2, against Trea Turner before getting him to fly out to end the inning and leave the winning run stranded at third.