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Bellinger Homers, Imanaga Sharp Again as Cubs Beat Dodgers 8-1
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By Associated Press
Published 3 months ago on
April 8, 2024

Cody Bellinger homered against his former team, Shota Imanaga threw four shutout innings in a rain-shortened start, and the Chicago Cubs beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-1 on Sunday. (GV Wire)

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CHICAGO — Cody Bellinger homered against his former team, Shota Imanaga threw four shutout innings in a rain-shortened start, and the Chicago Cubs beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-1 on Sunday.

Imanaga was lifted after the game resumed following a weather delay of nearly three hours. The left-hander allowed two singles, struck out three and walked none, giving him 10 scoreless innings over his first two big league starts.

The Cubs won for the sixth time in seven games. They took two of three in a weekend set that showcased four of the majors’ top Japanese players.

Shohei Ohtani doubled in Mookie Betts in the eighth to account for the Dodgers’ only run. Ohtani also hit a two-out triple in the sixth, but Freddie Freeman bounced to third for the final out of the inning.

Yency Almonte (1-0) struck out two in a scoreless inning for the victory against his former team. Daniel Palencia worked three innings for his first career save.

The Wrigley Field grounds crew worked on the mound and infield throughout the rainy, cold afternoon. The game was stopped with the Cubs leading 6-0 in the bottom of the fourth.

Player Reactions to Weather Conditions

“I was chatting with the umpire at third base the whole time because I’m playing in a puddle of water,” said third baseman Miguel Rojas, who committed one of the Dodgers’ three errors. “I’m not saying that’s why I make an error or anything like that. Everybody can see it. That’s not the best conditions.

“I feel like sometimes, just to try to get the game in in five innings is not the right way to do it. We could’ve played it out later like we did.”

The crowd cheered when the women’s college basketball championship game between Iowa and South Carolina was shown on the videoboard during the delay.

The series reunited members of Team Japan from the 2023 World Baseball Classic.

Imanaga, who signed a $53 million, four-year contract with the Cubs in January, struck out Ohtani swinging in the first inning after falling behind 3-1.

“When he stood in the box, he’s very tall and he has a presence about him and he has a really good swing,” Imanaga said through an interpreter.

He also got Ohtani to foul out to third.

“It’s not necessarily anything to build confidence,” Imanaga said. “I just want to make sure I stay healthy and be able to pitch the whole season.”

Ohtani, who finalized a record $700 million, 10-year contract with the Dodgers in December, hit a two-run homer in his first career game at Wrigley on Friday.

Seiya Suzuki hit a sacrifice fly for Chicago in the second inning of the series finale. Suzuki has 10 RBIs in his last five games.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto, another Japanese star who signed a $325 million, 12-year contract with Los Angeles in December, threw five scoreless innings for his first career major league victory Saturday.

Michael Busch hit a bases-clearing double against his former team to put the Cubs ahead 3-0 in the first. Chicago loaded the bases on first baseman Freeman’s error, a single and a walk.

Busch and Almonte were acquired in a trade with Los Angeles in January.

Gavin Stone (0-1) allowed five runs — one earned — and four hits in three innings for the Dodgers.

“They played very good defense,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “There were some plays we just didn’t make.”

The field situation left the Dodgers frustrated.

“I think everyone was in agreement we wanted to try to squeeze in five (innings) knowing the conditions weren’t going to be ideal,” Roberts said. “I just didn’t like in that fourth inning to stop the game right there once we had already faced a couple batters and then obviously the field sort of became unplayable. It was tough.”

On the Move

Right-hander Connor Brogdon will join the Dodgers on Monday at Minnesota, Roberts said. Brogdon was acquired in a trade with the Phillies on Saturday. A corresponding move is expected.

Trainer’s Room

Dodgers: RHP Walker Buehler (elbow surgery) threw well during his second rehab start Saturday with Triple-A Oklahoma City, Roberts said. Buehler will make at least another rehab start before returning.

Cubs: RHP Julian Merryweather (right shoulder strain) was placed on the 15-day injured list. Palencia was recalled from Triple-A Iowa. … RHP Jameson Taillon (back strain) began a rehab assignment Sunday with Double-A Tennessee. … INF/OF Patrick Wisdom (back strain) played third base Saturday to begin a rehab stint with Iowa. He was the designated hitter Sunday.

Up Next

Dodgers: LHP James Paxton (1-0, 0.00 ERA) is slated for Monday’s series opener at Minnesota. RHP Louie Varland (0-1, 6.75 ERA) will start for the Twins. Varland’s brother, Gus, was recalled by the Dodgers on Saturday.

Cubs: RHP Javier Assad (1-0, 0.00) is scheduled to pitch Monday at San Diego. Padres RHP Yu Darvish (0-1, 2.30 ERA) will face his former team.

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