Walker Buehler pitches shutout, strikes out 10 as Dodgers win, 4-0

Walker Buehler struck out 10 and gave up only three hits.
(Matt York / Associated Press)

Walker Buehler pitches the first shutout of his career as Dodgers continue to roll with win over Diamondbacks.

Walker Buehler gets his first shutout as Dodgers win, 4-0

PHOENIX — There were harmless grounders and confused swings against the curveball and slider. The cutter induced weak contact and efficiently ended at-bats. Even the changeup was key, leading to several punchouts on a career night for the Dodgers’ previously struggling ace.

After struggling with a fastball-heavy approach in his first three starts this year, Walker Buehler used his full arsenal to earn his first career shutout in the Dodgers’ 4-0 win against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday.

The right-hander pitched nine innings of three-hit ball. He struck out a season-high 10 batters, the 13th double-digit strikeout performance of his career. And he did it all by altering his pitch mix to perfection, keeping Diamondbacks hitters off balance and out of sync with all six of his weapons.

The four-seamer was still Buehler’s most common choice, though he threw it much better than in his previous three outings, showing an uptick in average velocity 94.6 mph, a notable increase in spin rate and much more consistent command.

But the 27-year-old, who earlier in his career routinely threw his fastball more than half the time, incorporated the rest of his pitches with much more frequency too.

While the heater accounted for 36 of his 108 pitches Monday, he also used the curveball 28 times, the cutter 25 times and the changeup, slider and sinker on a combined 19 occasions — following through on an adjustment manager Dave Roberts had been hoping to see pregame.

“I just think that he’s got to sequence more,” Roberts said. “Guys nowadays, more than ever, they’re just geared up for the fastball. So the game and the hitters tell you how you need to approach things, and if you need to change or not change.”


Dodgers increase lead to 4-0 on Will Smith’s homer

Will Smith hit a one-out homer in the top of the eighth to give the Dodgers a 4-0 lead. Cody Bellinger grounded to second and Chris Taylor flied to left.

Walker Buehler struck out two more in the bottom of the eighth, giving him 10. He has made 98 pitches, so it is unlikely he pitches the ninth.

Score after eight: Dodgers 4, Diamondbacks 0


Walker Buehler cruises through seven innings

Nothing much happened in the sixth, as both teams were retired in order and Walker Buehler continued to look strong.

Left-hander Tyler Gilbert came in to pitch the seventh for Arizona. After Gavin Lux bounced to third, Mookie Betts walked and moved to second on Freddie Freeman’s single to left. Trea Turner flied to left-center, Betts taking third. Max Muncy popped to third.

Walker Buehler again retired the side in order and has retired 10 in a row.

Through seven innings, he has given up only two hits, no walks and has struck out eight, dropping his ERA from 4.02 to 2.78. He has made 85 pitches.

Score through seven: Dodgers 3, Diamondbacks 0


Dodgers lead 3-0 through five

The Dodgers stranded two in the top of the fourth when Gavin Lux struck out with runners on first and second and two out.

In the bottom half, Seth Beer (with that name, he should be playing slow-pitch softball) was hit by a pitch with two out but stayed there when Pavin Smith struck out.

Mookie Betts led off the top of the fifth with a single. He stole second and moved to third on Freddie Freeman’s grounder to second. Trea Turner popped to shallow right. Smith and Ketel Marte collided but Smith held onto the ball. Betts couldn’t advance. Max Muncy, hitting .135, doubled to right-center, scoring Betts. Justin Turner then grounded out to end the inning.

Walker Buehler struck out two in the bottom of the fifth while retiring the Diamondbacks in order.

Through five innings, Buehler has given up two hits and walked none while striking out six. He has thrown 60 pitches.

Score after five: Dodgers 3, Diamondbacks 0


It’s still 2-0 Dodgers after three

Will Smith and Cody Bellinger both hit drives that appeared to be heading out in the top of the second, but the balls died at the warning track. Humidor? Chris Taylor doubled to left. Gavin Lux singled to third. Mookie Betts grounded to third to end the top of the second.

The Diamondbacks wasted a leadoff single and failed to score in the bottom half of the inning.

The Dodgers went 1-2-3 in the top of the third and the Diamondbacks left a runner stranded in the bottom of the inning.

Score after three: Dodgers 2, Diamondbacks 0


Dodgers take quick 2-0 lead on Trea Turner’s double

The Dodgers start off hot. Mookie Betts walked, then took third on Freddie Freeman’s double. Trea Turner doubled them both home. Max Muncy flied to left. Justin Turner hit a bouncer to third. Trea Turner was tagged trying to advance to third and then Justin Turner was thrown out at first. Not the best baserunning there.

The Diamondbacks went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the first.

Score after one: Dodgers 2, Diamondbacks 0


Tonight’s starting lineups


Dodgers’ pitching might be even better than their hitting: Takeaways from Padres series

Dodgers starting pitcher Julio Urías delivers against the San Diego Padres on Friday.
(Mike McGinnis / Associated Press)

SAN DIEGO — So far this season, the Dodgers offense has been under the brightest spotlight.

With former MVPs and perennial All-Stars dotting the batting order, that group has seemingly received the most attention during the team’s 11-4 start to the season, which now includes four consecutive series victories after the Dodgers took two of three from the San Diego Padres this weekend.

Indeed, the Dodgers bats have been productive. They rank eighth in the majors in batting average (.245), sixth in on-base-plus-slugging percentage (.737) and fifth in home runs (17). They’ve been the best team in baseball with runners in scoring position, batting .305 in such situations.

Most important, they are averaging 5.47 runs per game, more than any other team in the big leagues.

“This is the craziest lineup I’ve been part of,” Cody Bellinger said.

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Even with some struggles, the Dodgers are really good. And they can be a lot better

Dodgers center fielder Mookie Betts swings at a pitch during a baseball game against the San Diego Padres on Saturday.
(Derrick Tuskan / Associated Press)

SAN DIEGO — Mookie Betts is batting .196 …

… and they’re still the highest-scoring team in baseball.

Walker Buehler has an earned-run average in the fours, Julio Urias isn’t throwing as hard as he did last year, Andrew Heaney is on the injured list …

… and they still have the best record in the majors.

They started their backup catcher and a journeyman utility player on Sunday …

… and Sean Manaea lasted only 4 1/3 innings as they trampled the San Diego Padres 10-2 in their series finale at Petco Park.

The Dodgers are everything they were made out to be, the evidence of their anticipated offensive firepower found as much in what has gone wrong as what has gone right.

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Clayton Kershaw nears club record, Cody Bellinger homers twice as Dodgers rout Padres

SAN DIEGO — Clayton Kershaw quietly continued his march toward club history.

Cody Bellinger emphatically extended his return to tantalizing form.

Together, the two former MVPs led the Dodgers to a 10-2 win against the San Diego Padres on Sunday, with Kershaw pitching five innings of one-run ball — he collected three strikeouts to move to within four of breaking Don Sutton’s franchise record — and Bellinger hitting two home runs in the rubber-match rout at Petco Park.

“Overall, it was a great day for us,” Kershaw said. “That’s how the machine works. It’s pretty cool to see.”

All eyes were on Kershaw to begin the afternoon.

With 2,690 career strikeouts entering the game, the left-hander was within reach of breaking Sutton’s four-decades-old mark.

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How to watch and stream the Dodgers in 2022

Here’s how to watch and stream every game remaining on the Dodgers’ 2022 regular-season schedule: