On a night when the Giants came back to win their game in extras over the Brewers, the Dodgers were wrestling with their crosstown rivals in order to remain four games behind in the NL West.
Julio Urias was not sharp, and the Dodgers’ offense failed to cash in on key scoring opportunities for most of the game. At one point the only highlight of the evening was Trea Turner‘s first start, base hit and stolen base with the Dodgers. Thankfully — at least on this night — the Boys in Blue were late bloomers.
First start in Dodger Blue. 🔵 pic.twitter.com/L5IJcp3AR8— MLB (@MLB) August 8, 2021
Urías opened the game with one of his three walks of the night, a nine-pitch walk to Justin Upton. David Fletcher found a hole with a base hit past Corey Seager, setting the table early for the Angels. Urías made 21 pitches in the bumpy first inning. He kicked the mound angrily after slipping a bit on a pitch, but came back to strike out Kurt Suzuki to end the inning without any damage done. Still, the struggle was somewhat of an omen of what was to come later in the game.
The Dodgers’ lineup also led off with a walk. The new guy, Turner, drew a free pass from Jaime Barria in the bottom of the first. Turner’s speed was immediately utilized when he scored from first base on a Max Muncy double to left field. Seager drove in the second run of the inning for the Dodgers with an RBI hit to left.
The Angels flipped the switch when they took the lead in an ugly third. There were three consecutive base hits by Fletcher, Jose Iglesias and Phil Gosselin against a shaky Urias. Then a bonehead fielding error on a Jo Adell popup gave the Angels a 3-2 lead. The error was charged to Muncy after it dropped and allowed Gosselin to score, but the entire infield failed to communicate.
Urías was constantly pitching in traffic. The Halos had runners at the corners with two outs in the bottom of the 5th with Urías closing in on 100 pitches. Trea flashed the leather with a great play at second base to get the speedy Adell at first to save a run in the inning. Joe Maddon challenged the call on the play, but Adell was clearly out on the replay. Julio pitched 5 innings and allowed 3 runs (2 earned) on 6 hits with 5 K and 3 BB on 95 pitches (63 strikes). He only got 2 whiffs off his 4-seam fastball which he threw 45% of the time.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers were in business in the home half of the 4th. After a Will Smith walk, Taylor’s blooper dropped in right field, and Adell fell over the wall after fielding it on a hop. The Dodgers failed to cash in, stranding another two runners when Bellinger popped up with runners at second and third.
Turner’s first hit and steal as a Dodger came in the bottom of the 5th. He hit a leadoff single off Barria to right field and swiped second base. The offense once again flopped with runners in scoring position, as Muncy flied out, Mookie Betts struck out, and Seager grounded out to second. It’s actually quite impressive how a lineup so chock full of talent can fail this hard.
Alex Vesia took over for Urias in the 6th. Vesia struck out the side in the 6th in a rare hyped bullpen outing. Phil Bickford was the next arm out of the ‘pen in the 7th, and he also pitched a scoreless frame helped out by T. Turner’s stellar defense at second base. Pretty good for a guy who hasn’t played that position in five years.
A gigantic Belli bomb in the bottom of the 7th tied the game 3-3. That chased Barria from the game.
Brusdar Graterol made it back-to-back nights with an eighth-inning appearance. Suzuki and Adell both singled, and up to bat came the one and only Shohei Ohtani to pinch-hit. Dodger Stadium was on their feet for the at-bat. Graterol struck out Ohtani, firing 102-mph to preserve the tie and stop their rally.
The Dodgers got the go-ahead run aboard in the bottom of the eighth with a leadoff Seager single against Junior Guerra, and later Smith also singled. Taylor, who’s playing like a MVP this season, came up with the clutch hit we were all waiting for. CT3’s two-run double gave the Dodgers a 5-3 lead.
Kenley Jansen got the ball for the 9th with a two-run cushion. He hit 95 on the gun, striking out Jack Mayfield. Turner ended up making the final out of the game, a great catch at second base, fittingly.
The Dodgers improve to 66-45 on the season and 35-20 at home with the 5-3 win. They remain 4 games back of SF with 51 games remaining in the regular season.
The Freeway Series wraps up Sunday with a getaway game at 1:10 PM PST. Walker Buehler (11-2, 2.16 ERA, 3.13 FIP, 0.918 WHIP) faces rookie left-hander Reid Detmers (0-1, 12.46 ERA, 4.1 IP). Detmers was drafted by the Angels in the 1st round (10th overall) in the 2020 MLB June Amateur Draft out of the University of Louisville.