"I'll go down there, if that's what they want, and get after guys out of the bullpen and get outs there, and be ready for when an opportunity comes up," Stripling said.
The lack of support left Stripling on a short leash. Stripling surrendered a leadoff double to Kyle Schwarber in the fifth. Pinch-hitter Mark Zagunis struck out and Ben Zobrist moved Schwarber to third with a groundout on Stripling's 76th pitch. He didn't throw another one.
Pedro Baez walked Kris Bryant but got Anthony Rizzo to fly out to escape the frame unscathed. Baez recorded a clean sixth inning and Caleb Ferguson used a double play to wiggle out of peril in the seventh, then Roberts elected to summon the struggling Joe Kelly to protect the two-run lead in the eighth inning. Kelly had given up a solo home run Wednesday night, leaving him with a 9.82 ERA in 11 innings.
The right-hander induced two groundouts to begin the inning. Familiar turbulence followed. Baez launched a high 0-1 fastball off the wall in right field, missing a home run by a few feet. He settled for a single after a delayed start out of the batter's box. Kelly recovered, rifling a full-count, 98-mph fastball by Daniel Descalso for the third out. It was just the fourth time Kelly didn't give up a run in 11 appearances this season.
The Dodgers headed home to conclude their stretch of 20 consecutive games against National League Central foes with a three-game set against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Dodger Stadium this weekend.
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