After losing a series against the Braves to start their road trip, the Dodgers got a day off to travel to Pittsburgh for a series with the Pirates that starts a slate of games that they should be able to make a run with. That mission got off to a nice start tonight with a 5-3 victory over the Pirates.
Walker Buehler has been excellent in 2021, but is coming off one of his worst starts of the years against the Cardinals (still a quality start). Things seemed to start off rocky tonight as well, with the second batter he faced Ke’Bryan Hayes going yard off the foul pole in right. However, after a review, Hayes was hilariously ruled out after he missed first base.
After amusingly ending up facing the minimum in the 1st, Buehler faced a bases-loaed jam in the 2nd after a single, a Gavin Lux error, and a walk, but wriggled out of it to keep the scoreboard clean.
On the other side, JT Brubaker started and looked to continue his solid year for the Pirates. Things started off extremely well, allowing just two singles through four innings, one of them from Buehler. He also was getting quite a generous strike zone that the Dodgers weren’t happy about.
In the 4th, the Dodgers caught a bit of a break and capitalized on it in full. With one down, Gavin Lux smacked a solid single to the gap in right, but Gregory Polanco simply missed it and Lux ended up on third. AJ Pollock followed and immediately secured the game’s first run by doubling to center.
After a ground out advanced Pollock, Mookie Betts tripled to right-center field to score him and make it 2-0.
Chris Stratton entered to start the 6th, giving up a one-out single to Will Smith which was immediately cashed in by Chris Taylor‘s rocket to left to make it 5-0. It was his eighth of the year and sounded like a cannon went off.
Duane Underwood closed the book on the Dodgers with scoreless innings in both the 8th and 9th.
Things were quiet on the Buehler front because he didn’t face any trouble after the 2nd, closing the game by retiring 13 Pirates in a row. While he didn’t miss many bats, he also didn’t give up much quality contact: 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 93 Pitches.
Joe Kelly took over in the 8th and ruined the shutout. He gave up a single to start that advanced to third on two ground outs and then scored on a double by Adam Frazier to make it 5-1 before he could end the frame.
Nate Jones was brought in for the 9th to close things out without using one of the high-leverage arms and immediately surrendered a homer to Bryan Reynolds on the first pitch he threw. He then seemed to rebound nicely with two strikeouts, but Michael Perez annihilated a meatball to make it 5-3.
Dave Roberts did not immediately go to Kenley Jansen just cause it was a save situation, but he had seen enough at that point. Kenley entered looking to get just one out and he did that emphatically with a three-pitch strikeout.
The Dodgers are now through 60 games and sit at 35-25 with the victory. They are now 2.5 games back of the Giants in the NL West, and 1 game back of the Padres, with both teams still playing.
The two teams will do it again at a thankfully reasonable time for me of 1:05 PM HST/4:05 PM PST/7:05 PM EST. Tony Gonsolin will make his season debut after his shoulder injury and will be facing off against former Rockies pitcher Tyler Anderson (4.67 ERA/4.17 FIP/4.67 DRA).