Tony Gonsolin’s strong outing leads Dodgers to series win over Braves

Dodgers pitcher Tony Gonsolin works in the first inning against the Atlanta Braves.
Dodgers pitcher Tony Gonsolin works in the first inning against the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday at Dodger Stadium.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

As he’d done during Tony Gonsolin’s previous two starts this year, left-hander Tyler Anderson began throwing pitches in the bullpen during the early innings Wednesday.

This time, however, the Dodgers had no need for the bulk reliever.

In a 5-1 win against the Atlanta Braves, Gonsolin produced one of his best career performances.

The right-hander threw six scoreless innings, effectively managing his pitch count in his longest start since 2020. He carried a no-hitter through five innings, and faced more than the three minimum batters in an inning just twice.

On a day the Dodgers (9-3) announced starter Andrew Heaney was being placed on the injured list with left shoulder discomfort — creating an opening in the rotation Saturday that Anderson will fill — Gonsolin alleviated some of the team’s newfound pitching concerns, silencing a talented Braves lineup to help the Dodgers clinch the series with a rubber-match win.


“It was great, obviously with Tony not only preventing runs but being able to take down a big portion of the game,” manager Dave Roberts said. “Where we’re at, knowing we built him up, you don’t necessarily need that piggyback anymore. He can be more of a conventional starter.”

Though Gonsolin had limited damage in each of his first two starts this season, entering Wednesday having permitted just one run on the season, he had struggled to work deep into games. Both times, Anderson spelled him out of the bullpen, pitching multiple innings in each contest.

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It seemed likely the Dodgers would favor that plan again against the Braves, until news of Heaney’s injury came down less than an hour before first pitch.

Roberts said Heaney felt some soreness in his shoulder after his last start, and still didn’t feel great after playing catch pregame Wednesday. The Dodgers don’t believe Heaney’s injury is serious, but wanted to rest him for at least one turn through the rotation.

“He’ll miss a start and we’ll see kind of how it goes,” Roberts said. “Don’t expect it to be long term. But right now it was a pretty easy decision.”

Anderson, a starter in his first six MLB seasons before signing with the Dodgers this spring, suddenly became the most natural option to replace Heaney as the scheduled starter Saturday against the San Diego Padres.


Though the left-hander still got up to throw during Wednesday’s game, it was only a routine bullpen session rather than a typical warm-up. Gonsolin said he didn’t even know Anderson was being saved for Saturday until he saw his teammate return to the dugout at the start of the sixth inning.

By that point, though, Gonsolin was already leaving his stamp on the game.

Dodgers' Mookie Betts scores past Atlanta Braves catcher Manny Pina on a single from Justin Turner.
Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts scores past Atlanta Braves catcher Manny Pina on a single from Justin Turner during the seventh inning Wednesday at Dodger Stadium.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

Despite struggling to locate his fastball, he attacked the Braves (6-8) with his secondary pitches, inducing routine ground balls and harmless contact in the air with an assortment of sliders, splitters and curveballs.

“Getting that weak contact earlier in the count was definitely effective,” Gonsolin said. “They don’t miss the ball very much. So I was fortunate to get a lot of weak contact.”

Gonsolin erased a second-inning walk with a double play. He stranded a third-inning walk by fanning Adam Duvall with a slider, one of three strikeouts on the day. He didn’t give up his first hit until the sixth, when Manny Piña reached on an infield single against the shift.

“I knew it was there,” Gonsolin said of his five no-hit innings. “But it’s whatever.”

After failing to complete six innings in any of his 13 starts last year — when the former ninth-round draft pick was dogged by a shoulder injury and inconsistent stuff outing to outing — Gonsolin finished his day by getting another double-play grounder from Dansby Swanson, then stranding his third walk with an easy pop out from Matt Olson.


It was the third time in his four-year career he pitched six scoreless innings.

“I felt pretty good out there,” Gonsolin said. “Just going out there, not trying to do too much and just executing.”

The Dodgers provided ample support with the bats.

After Mookie Betts led off the game with a single to end an 0-for-13 skid, Freddie Freeman hit a two-run homer, bouncing a low line drive off the top of the wall in right field for the first of his three hits on the day.

The Dodgers added on with an Edwin Ríos’ home run in the fifth; a Cody Bellinger RBI triple in the sixth (his second hit of the game) and a Justin Turner RBI single in the seventh.

The Braves scored a run in the ninth, but by then the game — and marquee early-season series — was over.

In one of his best big league starts yet, Gonsolin had buried the Braves with his six-inning gem.