An early offensive outburst and a strong start from the No. 5 starter helped lead the Dodgers to a 10-3 win on Monday night in Oakland against the Athletics.
Dustin May turned in a strong outing in his first start of the 2021 season: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 K, 85 pitches, 57 strikes, 8/2 GO/AO. The third inning for May was particularly impressive. Despite a long flyout by Jed Lowrie, May struck out both Matt Olson and Mitch Moreland, and he used his cutter to do so. Both strikeouts came on the cutter (three total whiffs on it in the third), a pitch he threw almost exclusively to left-handed hitters last season. On the night, he had 16 total whiffs — 9 on his cutter (on 12 swings!), 4 on his sinker and 3 on his fastball. The curveball didn’t look as crisp as it did at times in Spring Training, but the cutter was on tonight.
Here’s a good look at May’s excellent outing.
The Dodgers got started early against former Dodger farmhand Frankie Montas. In the second inning, Max Muncy hit a 1-out flare single to left field. It was followed by a hard ground ball single by Chris Taylor. Edwin Rios got down 0-2 and fought back to draw a walk. After a Zach McKinstry sacrifice fly and an infield single (that probably should have been an error on future Dodger Matt Chapman), Corey Seager did this.
Off the crack of the bat, I thought it was a harmless flyout to center field. Instead, it went over Mark Canha‘s head for a 3-run double and a 4-0 Dodger lead.
In the third inning, Will Smith hit his second homer of the season to make it 5-0 Dodgers.
Then, a Muncy single, a Taylor hit-by-pitch and Rios strikeout, McKinstry drove in his second run of the night with a line drive single to right field to give the Dodgers a 6-0 lead. A wild pitch allowed Taylor to score to make it 7-0 and Montas walked Mookie Betts to end his evening. A.J. Puk relieved Montas and struck out Seager despite falling behind 3-0 in the count.
The Dodgers loaded the bases in the fourth against Puk, but failed to push any runs across. Puk was able to settle things down for the A’s despite not looking like his former self. Adam Kolarek relieved Puk and the Dodgers got to their former teammate in the form of a McKinstry RBI single. It was 8-0 after 6 1/2.
It was just the fourth home run of his career in the month of April, the last coming on April 30, 2019. In fact, this is the earliest in a season he has ever homered. The previous three all came in the last week of April.
David Price then came on for his second outing of the campaign, and this one was a little better than his first. He still allowed three runs — one on a Canha home run, two on run-scoring singles — but his fastball/sinker velo was solid. His changeup looked a bit off. He threw it 15 times and didn’t get a swinging strike on it.
Scott Alexander pitched a clean ninth inning to finish the victory.
Taylor left the game after the top of the third inning after that hit-by-pitch caused an elbow contusion. He was replaced by AJ Pollock (with McKinstry moving to second base). Probably safe to assume he gets the night off tomorrow.
Cody Bellinger legged out an infield single in the ninth inning, but also got spiked in the calf/Achilles in the process. He was limping pretty noticeably and was removed from the game as a precaution.
You never like to see this.
You do, however, love to see this.
The Dodgers improve to 4-1 with victory.