After rallying furiously to enter the series with the Giants in a tie for the NL West, the Dodgers laid a bit of an egg in the opening game and found themselves behind yet again. Still, that was the game they were least likely to lose, and they showed why tonight in a 6-1 victory.
While they didn’t necessarily set the world on fire, they did damage early and scored more than five runs for the first time in over two weeks. Julio Urias and more quality work from the pen made that hold up without much issue.
One of the silver linings of yesterday’s extra-inning game is that it did tax their pen a bit, which is important because the Giants threw the only starter they had rested and two pen games would follow, much like what the Dodgers have dealt with for a while now.
Jay Jackson got the start as the opener for the game but didn’t last long at all. Trea Turner didn’t waste any time getting the Dodgers on the board, leading the game off with a solo shot to dead center (his 21st) that I was surprised to see get out.
After Mookie Betts walked, he then put actions behind his words that his hip was feeling great by swiping second. Justin Turner then followed with a walk of his own and that was it for Jackson, who got just one out.
Jarlin Garcia was next up for the Giants, and the Dodgers continued to be aggressive early with a double steal to put both into scoring position. Corey Seager got a run in with a sacrifice fly, and then AJ Pollock smashed a double to left-center to make it 3-0.
Unfortunately, as the Dodgers tried to continue their basepath warpath, Pollock got caught going for third and hurt his hamstring on the play. Not great.
Unfortunately, the bats cooled almost immediately with Garcia getting scoreless frames in the 2nd and 3rd, then Jose Alvarez following with one of his own in the 5th.
The Wins Leader
Urias has been invaluable to the Dodgers this year, not only due to his effectiveness, but just by being able to take the ball every fifth day. Tonight he also showed maturity, not because he was necessarily great, but because he clearly wasn’t and still fought through it and limited the damage. It’s what great pitchers manage more than lesser ones.
Urias not only had just one clean inning, the 2nd, but only had one inning where a runner didn’t get into scoring position against him. After getting down, the Giants came back immediately in the 1st behind two singles and a Buster Posey double to cut the lead to 3-1. However, he worked around disaster, and did the same thing in the 3rd (double), 4th (single, double), 5th (single, out advanced runner), and 6th (single, out advanced runner).
Urias wasn’t allowed to work out of one last jam, but on a night where he struggled to avoid quality contact, he did avoid the big blow: 5.2 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 8 K, 96 Pitches.
Alex Vesia took over in a smaller role tonight and did his job with an emphatic strikeout. Vesia ended up facing just one batter as Phil Bickford was tasked with the 7th. Ominously he hit the first batter and looked to still be searching for his control, but back-to-back fly outs calmed things down, and he exited for Blake Treinen.
A stolen base made it a chance for the Giants, but Treinen got a strikeout to get out of the inning. He also breezed through a 1-2-3 8th and ended up getting four outs on just 15 pitches.
Zack Littell got through trouble in the 5th after a walk and sacrifice started things, and he struck out back-to-back hitters. However, after getting an out in the 6th, an infield single and an error victimized him. He ended up leaving the game, and Jose Quintana entered and had a mess. He immediately threw a wild pitch due to Posey getting crossed up, and then balked in the JT in from third to make it 4-1.
John Brebbia took care of the 7th, Caleb Baragar cruised through the 8th, and the Dodgers looked like they weren’t getting any insurance. Seager thankfully had his say in the 9th against Sammy Long, waiting back on a curve and launching it to dead center for a 5-1 lead.
Cody Bellinger looked to continue the rally with a walk, and Evan Longoria followed by booting a Chris Taylor grounder. Runners were at the corners after a ground out and failed double play turn, and pinch-hitter Albert Pujols flied a ball to right for a sacrifice fly and a 6-1 lead.
Due to the insurance, Kenley Jansen sat down and Brusdar Graterol entered for the 9th instead. He gave up a double but nothing else to lock down the game.
The Dodgers improve to 86-50 with the victory and are now tied again in the NL West with the Giants.
The rubber match of the series, and the game for the lead in the division, is tomorrow at 1:00 PM HT/4:00 PM PT/7:00 PM ET. Walker Buehler will take the mound for the Dodgers and the Giants will go with another pen game.