After starting the second half of the season off right with an easy win yesterday, the Dodgers took a closer fought affair behind the red-hot bats of Mookie Betts and AJ Pollock, Max Muncy being Max Muncy, and Walker Buehler‘s excellence in a 9-2 win over the Rockies, who have been surprisingly great at home this year.
Of course … Mookie also limped off the field, which is my primary concern, really.
Mookie Betts left tonight’s game with right hip irritation.— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) July 18, 2021
Betts has been red-hot recently, and he let Rockies starter Kyle Freeland know early with a lead-off double. With one out, Muncy cashed that in with a single to start the scoring at 1-0. They were unable to tack on after a passed ball advanced Muncy, but they got the lead at least.
Unfortunately, it didn’t last long, as after a scoreless 1st, Buehler issued a walk, gave up a double, and then walked another to load the bases. Freeland then flied out to medium-deep left to score a run and tie the game before Buehler was able to minimize the damage.
Freeland himself then gave the lead back in the 3rd, as after a flawless 2nd, he gave up a one-out oppo homer to Mookie, who continues to remind everybody who he is. 2-1.
It continued to be a back-and-forth affair, though, as Buehler gave up a lead-off single in the 3rd, got two outs that only advanced the runner and looked on the verge of getting out of it, but then gave up a clean Ryan McMahon double to tie the game again.
Buehler and Freeland then exchanged 1-2-3 frames in the 4th and 5th innings to keep things at 2-2. However, in the 6th it was Freeland who relented first, again powered by Mookie. He doubled to lead-off the inning, and yet again with one out Muncy came up and singled him in to make it 3-2.
Albert Pujols followed up with a rather hilarious single that cornered the runners, but the Dodgers couldn’t take advantage.
Freeland exited after six, giving way to Mychal Givens in the 7th, and he was greeted on the first pitch he threw by Pollock absolutely unloading on a ball to deep left to make it 4-2.
Givens got the next two outs, but then Garrett Hampson and Charlie Blackmon had their second mess of the game and allowed a fly ball to fall for a double. The Dodgers couldn’t get anything from that, but of more pressing concern was Mookie limping into second and then leaving the game.
My working theory is that Coors is not only cursed, but also racist.
In more positive news, following the RBI double to McMahon back in the 3rd, Buehler retired 13 batters in a row. He gave the Dodgers both length and dominance, closing with four consecutive strikeouts and a ground out: 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 8 K, 91 Pitches.
For the Rockies in the 8th, Carlos Estevez took over, but like with Givens, he was immediately greeted by a homer, this one from Muncy, to push the lead to 5-2.
Tyler Kinley then took over in the 9th for the Rockies, getting two outs but not before giving up a Pollock single and walking Matt Beaty. That set the table for Justin Turner, who hit the ball hard all game and doubled off the wall to make it 7-2.
Old friend Zac Rosscup took over and tried to get the last out, but fell behind Muncy 2-0 … not what you want. It ended unsurprisingly badly for him, as Max deposited his second homer of the game over the wall for a 9-2 lead.
People know he’s good, but he’s literally the fourth-best hitter in all of baseball right now.
Blake Treinen took over for Buehler in the 8th, cruising through a 1-2-3 frame that included a strikeout. Kenley Jansen seemed primed to try for a save, but the outburst meant Darien Nunez was the choice in the 9th. He cruised through an eight-pitch inning that included a strikeout for the win.
Pujols doing his best Andres Galarraga.
The Dodgers improve to 58-35 on the season with the victory, and with the Giants losing to the Cardinals are now just a 1 game back in the NL West.