Kenley Jansen blows save, giving up four runs in the top of the ninth
As hard as this may seem to believe, Roberts plans to stick with Jansen as his ninth-inning specialist after another, even uglier meltdown Thursday night, when the right-hander was tagged for four runs and four hits in the ninth inning of a 5-3 loss to the San Francisco Giants.
Summoned to protect a two-run lead, Jansen imploded before an irate Dodger Stadium crowd of 47,316 that booed him off the mound for a second straight night, the Dodgers losing three of four games to the Giants and falling three games behind them in the National League West.
But Roberts, citing two plays on which the Dodgers thought they had sealed the victory, refused to pin Jansen’s third blown save and loss in as many appearances on his closer.
Dodgers go into the ninth inning securing a 3-1 lead
Top of the eighth:
Thairo Estrada grounded out to shortstop for the first out of the eighth. Darin Ruf singled to center field.
Blake Treinen relieved Walker Buehler.
LaMonte Wade Jr. struck out looking on a sixth-pitch slider. Buster Posey grounded out to shortstop to end the top half.
Bottom of the eighth:
Justin Turner flew out to center for the first out of the bottom half. Will Smith grounded out to third for the second out. Albert Pujols pinch-hit for Matt Beaty and grounded out to shortstop to end the inning.
End of the eighth: Dodgers 3, Giants 1
Dodgers strand two, hold 3-1 lead after seven
Top of the seventh:
Alex Dickerson struck out on a fifth-pitch fastball to begin the seventh inning. Donovan Solano struck out on a fourth-pitch slider for the second out. Steven Duggar struck out looking on a fifth-pitch cutter to end the top half. Walker Buehler has struck out nine batters up to this point.
Bottom of the seventh:
Zack Littell relieved Anthony DeSclafani.
AJ Pollock reached on an error by the shortstop, advancing to second on the wild throw. Billy McKinney walked. Runners on first and second with nobody out. Walker Buehler struck out for the first out of the bottom half. Chris Taylor popped out to the catcher for the second out.
José Álvarez relieved Zack Littell.
Max Muncy grounded out to the pitcher to end the inning.
End of the seventh: Dodgers 3, Giants 1
Giants strand a runner on third, Dodgers still lead 3-1 after six innings
Top of the sixth:
LaMonte Wade Jr grounded out to first for the first out of the sixth inning. Buster Posey grounded out to third for the second out. Mike Yastrzemski tripled to deep right, barely getting away from the diving try of Billy McKinney. But the triple doesn’t come back to bite the Dodgers as Wilmer Flores grounded out to third base for the third out.
Bottom of the sixth:
Justin Turner popped out to shortstop for the first out of the bottom half. Will Smith struck out for the second out. Matt Beaty walked to continue the inning. Cody Bellinger flew out to center to end the inning.
End of the sixth: Dodgers 3, Giants 1
The Dodgers hold tight with a 3-1 lead through five innings
Top of the fifth:
Steven Duggar struck out to start the fifth inning. Thairo Estrada lined out to center for the second out. Anthony DeSclafani struck out to end the top half.
Bottom of the fifth:
Walker Buehler struck out to begin the bottom half. Chris Taylor struck out for the second out. Max Muncy grounded out to second to end the inning.
End of the fifth: Dodgers 3, Giants 1
Will Smith’s two-run home run gives the Dodgers a 3-1 lead after four innings
Top of the fourth:
Wilmer Flores walked to lead off the fourth inning. Alex Dickerson struck out on a six-pitch cutter for the first out of the inning. Donovan Solano grounded into a 1-4-3 double play to end the top half.
Bottom of the fourth:
Justin Turner singled to center field to start the bottom half.
Will Smith hit a two-run home run to deep center field to give the Dodgers their first lead of the game.
Matt Beaty grounded out to the shortstop for the first out of the bottom half. Cody Bellinger grounded out to third for the second out. AJ Pollock hit an infield single to continue the inning. Billy McKinney grounded out to first to end the inning.
End of the fourth: Dodgers 3, Giants 1
Knotted up at 1-1 through three innings
Top of the third:
LaMonte Wade Jr flew out to Max Muncy in shallow right field for the first out. Buster Posey grounded out to shortstop for the second out. Mike Yastrzemski popped up to Will Smith for the third out.
Bottom of the third:
Walker Buehler struck out to begin the bottom half. Chris Taylor lined out to center field for the second out. Max Muncy struck out to end the inning.
End of the third: Dodgers 1, Giants 1
Pitchers duel brewing with score tied 1-1 after a scoreless second inning
Top of the second:
Alex Dickerson hit an infield single to shortstop to start the inning. Donovan Solano grounded into a fielder’s choice, Dickerson out at second for the first out. Steven Duggar singled to right field, advancing Solano to third. Thairo Estrada struck out on three straight sliders for the second out. Anthony DeSclafani struck out on three straight pitches for the third out.
Bottom of the second:
Cody Bellinger struck out for the first out of the bottom half. AJ Pollock grounded out to shortstop for the second out. Billy McKinney flew out to center field to end the inning.
End of the second: Dodgers 1, Giants 1
Justin Turner’s single ties the score at 1-1 after the first inning
Top of the first:
LaMonte Wade Jr doubled to left-center field off the first pitch of the game, and promptly stole third base. Buster Posey struck out on a seventh pitch cutter. Mike Yastrzemski drove in the first run of the game with an RBI fly out to left field for the second out. Wilmer Flores flew out to center field to end the top half.
Bottom of the first:
Chris Taylor singled to center field to begin the bottom half. Max Muncy singled to right-center field, advancing Taylor to third base with no outs.
Justin Turner singled past the outstretched glove of the second baseman, bringing in Taylor and tying the score. Runners on first and second with nobody out.
Will Smith struck out for the first out. Matt Beaty grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
End of the first: Dodgers 1, Giants 1
Reliever Corey Knebel to begin minor league rehab stint; eyes early August return
Corey Knebel, out since April 23 because of a right-lat strain, threw to hitters in another simulated inning on Thursday and will begin a minor league rehabilitation stint early next week.
Barring setback, the veteran reliever could be activated around the second week of August, adding a potentially dominant right-hander to the bullpen as the team makes a push for its ninth straight National League West title.
“It’s gonna be a trade trip essentially, an acquisition,” Manager Dave Roberts said. “It’s a guy who’s been through pennant races, has pitched in post-season games, so to get him back when guys are a little bit taxed from the season and logging innings, to get him back fresh is something we’re all excited about.”
Knebel, 29, was an All-Star closer in Milwaukee in 2017 and a key late-inning reliever for the Brewers in 2018, when he appeared in six of seven games in the NL Championship Series against the Dodgers, giving up one run and two hits, striking out 10 and walking two in seven innings.
The 6-foot-3, 224-pound Knebel missed the entire 2019 season because of Tommy John surgery and struggled in his return from the elbow procedure in 2020, with a 6.08 ERA across 13 1/3 innings in 15 games.
The Dodgers traded for him last December, and Knebel went 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA and two saves in his first eight games, giving up three runs and three hits in six innings, striking out nine and walking three before getting hurt. His average fastball velocity of 96.4 mph was up from 94.4 mph last season.
Knebel was originally expected to be out until late-August. Though he is ahead of schedule in his recovery, he doesn’t want to rush the final steps. He will probably make six or seven minor league appearances and pitch in back-to-back games before being activated.
“I want to make sure that I’m ready to go, and it’s not gonna be get up here and throw and then have to take two days off,” Knebel said. “I want to make sure I’m gonna get here and [be ready to] throw every day if I have to. I’m a max-effort guy, so I have to do everything I can to simulate that.”
Knebel, who mixes an 80-mph curve with his fastball, said he usually knows his stuff is all the way back when he can command his curve. He struggled with the pitch early in Thursday’s outing but was encouraged by his last four breaking balls.
“The accuracy wasn’t really there at the beginning, but my last six or seven pitches were exactly where I wanted them to be,” Knebel said. “Four of those were curves, and they were great, so I’m close.”
Mookie Betts not in Dodgers lineup for fifth straight game
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts filled out a lineup card without Mookie Betts for the fifth straight game on Thursday, a right-hip pointer preventing the right fielder from starting Thursday night’s series finale against the San Francisco Giants in Chavez Ravine.
Roberts said on Wednesday that there is a “possibility” that Betts, who has been slowed by shoulder, forearm and back ailments but has not gone on the injured list this season, will go on the IL for his hip injury.
Because Betts pinch-hit in Monday night’s game, the Dodgers would only be able to back-date an injured list to Tuesday, so they may want to give Betts another day or two of rest and treatment before putting him on the IL.
“Right now, it’s day-to-day, and we’re gonna keep trying to stay away from him,” Roberts said before the game. “I know the IL is certainly a topic of conversation internally, but we’re just not quite there. So hopefully he’ll move around today and tomorrow, and we’ll see where he’s at on Saturday.
“I think it’s one of those things where we’re all trying to do right by him. I know that he wants to be out there, but understands if he were, he’d be considerably limited. So that makes my decision a lot easier for this particular day, and we have to re-visit it each day and see where his pain threshold is at.”
Dodgers right-hander Walker Buehler, who is 10-1 with a 2.37 ERA this season, will oppose Giants right-hander Anthony DeSclafani in the 7 p.m. game.
Billy McKinney, who was acquired in a trade from the New York Mets on Wednesday, will make his Dodgers debut in right field, batting eighth.
The Dodgers will look to earn a split in the four-game series, which included their walk-off 8-6 win on Will Smith’s three-run homer in the ninth inning Tuesday night and a ninth-inning loss on Wednesday night, when closer Kenley Jansen gave up three runs in San Francisco’s 4-2 win.
DODGERS LINEUP: SS Chris Taylor, 2B Max Muncy, 3B Justin Turner, C Will Smith, 1B Matt Beaty, CF Cody Bellinger, LF AJ Pollock, RF Billy McKinney, RHP Walker Buehler.
GIANTS LINEUP: 1B LaMonte Wade Jr., C Buster Posey, RF Mike Yastrzemski, 3B Wilmer Flores, LF Alex Dickerson, 2B Donovan Solano, CF Steven Duggar, SS Thairo Estrada, RHP Anthony DeSclafani.
The rationale behind the Dodgers spending 17 of 19 draft picks on pitchers
Pitcher after pitcher after pitcher. The MLB amateur draft was a three-day binge and pitchers were grabbed faster than at a brewpub happy hour.
The Dodgers took pitchers with 17 of their 19 picks in the 20-round, three-day draft that ended July 13. The San Francisco Giants took pitchers in the first nine rounds and 14 overall. The Angels drafted pitchers with all 20 picks. The Cleveland Indians grabbed 19.
As the draft unfolded, a thought occurred to Dodgers vice president of amateur scouting Billy Gasparino.
Was Will Rhymes, the Dodgers director of player development, freaking out at the dearth of position players he’d have available to populate the lower end of the farm system?
“I consulted with Will and he was fine with it,” Gasparino said.
The Dodgers had already signed a number of international position players and planned to sign free agents that weren’t selected in the draft, which was only five rounds in 2020 but normally is 40 rounds.
Giants rally to defeat Kenley Jansen and the Dodgers, 4-2
The San Francisco Giants had spent 51 days alone in first place in the National League West, an overachieving club that few expected to contend for the division title holding the best record in baseball for the better part of two months.
For eight innings Wednesday night, it appeared they would have some company, the Dodgers riding the dominant left arm of Julio Urías and the hot bat of Chris Taylor to a one-run lead through eight innings.
Then Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen let the game—and a possible share of first place—slip through his fingers.
Buster Posey led off the top of the ninth with a pinch-hit single to right-center field, and Wilmer Flores crushed a two-run homer to left off Jansen to push the Giants toward a 4-2 victory before a sellout crowd of 52,076 in Chavez Ravine and move San Francisco two games ahead of the Dodgers in the division.
Jansen started the ninth with a 2-1 lead. Posey’s hit was his ninth in 27 at-bats against Jansen. Flores’ homer came on a 92-mph cut fastball. It was only the second homer Jansen had given up this season and the first he had yielded in 349 cutters.
Jansen’s fourth blown save of the season and his second in four days got worse. The right-hander struck out Mike Yastrzemski but gave up a double to Darin Ruf and walked Donovan Solano and Thairo Estrada to load the bases with one out.
Jansen, who went 1-1 with a 1.45 ERA and 21 saves in 37 1/3 innings of his first 37 games, was booed off the mound in a scene that was reminiscent of 2020, when Jansen struggled for much of the season and lost his closer job in the postseason.
Left-hander Victor Gonzales came on and struck out LaMonte Wade Jr. but walked Curt Casali to force in a run, giving the Giants a 4-2 lead.
We go to the ninth, 2-1 Dodgers
Giants: Right-hander Blake Treinen now pitching for the Dodgers. Wade popped to short. Casali grounded to third. Alex Dickerson, batting for the pitcher, flied to left.
Dodgers: Left-hander Jose Alvarez now pitching for the Giants. Taylor grounded to first. He dove into the bag to try and beat the throw to the pitcher, and almost got stepped on. Muncy lined to third. Justin Turner, batting for Beaty, lined to center.
Score after eight: Dodgers 2, Giants 1
It’s still 2-1 Dodgers after seven
Giants: Ruf grounded to third. Solano grounded to short. Taylor had to rush his throw with a speedy runner and threw it wide. He was given an error. Estrada grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.
Dodgers: Right-hander Zack Littell now pitching for the Giants. Pujols flied to right. McKinstry flied to center. Zach Reks, batting for Urías, struck out swinging.
Score after seven: Dodgers 2, Giants 1
Uneventful sixth inning, still 2-1 Dodgers
Giants: Slater grounded to third. Flores popped to first. Yaz struck out swinging.
Dodgers: Right-hander Jay Jackson now pitching for the Giants. Smith struck out swinging. Bellinger struck out swinging. Pollock struck out swinging.
Score after six: Dodgers 2, Giants 1
Still 2-1 Dodgers after five
Giants: Estrada singled to right. Wade sacrificed Estrada to second. Estrada took third on a wild pitch. Casali popped to second. Webb grounded to second. Dodgers dodged one there. Nice pitching by Urías.
Dodgers: McKinstry grounded to second. Urías grounded to the pitcher. Taylor singled to right-center. Taylor stole second. Muncy walked on seven pitches. Beaty grounded to first.
Score after five: Dodgers 2, Giants 1
Dodgers take 2-1 lead on AJ Pollock’s double
Giants: Flores grounded to short. Yaz popped to short. With the shift on, Taylor had to run a mile to catch it. Ruf walked on 11 pitches. He fouled off five pitches to stay alive. Solano grounded to the pitcher.
Dodgers: Beaty walked on six pitches. Smith grounded to third, forcing Beaty at second. Bellinger grounded to second, forcing Smith at second. Pollock doubled to right. Bellinger, hustling all the way, scored from first. Pujols grounded to short.
Score after four: Dodgers 2, Giants 1
Dodgers 1, Giants 1 after three
Giants: Curt Casali flied to center. Logan Webb struck out swinging. Slater lined to center.
Dodgers: Julio Urías struck out swinging. Taylor struck out looking, ending his home run streak. Muncy grounded to first.
Score after three: Dodgers 1, Giants 1
It’s 1-1 after two innings
Giants: Donovan Solano grounded to short. Thairo Estrada struck out swinging. LaMonte Wade Jr. struck out swinging.
Dodgers: AJ Pollock struck out swinging. Albert Pujols grounded to first. Zach McKinstry struck out looking.
Score after two: Dodgers 1, Giants 1
It’s 1-1 after one, everyone
Giants: Left-hander Julio Urías pitching for the Dodgers. Austin Slater struck out swinging. Wilmer Flores flied to center. Mike Yastrzemski homered to right. Darin Ruf popped to second.
Dodgers: Right-hander Logan Webb pitching for the Giants. Chris Taylor homered to left, estimated at 416 feet. He has homered in his last three at-bats. Max Muncy grounded to short. Matt Beaty struck out swinging. Last night’s star, Will Smith, walked on four pitches. Cody Bellinger grounded to first.
Score after one: Dodgers 1, Giants 1
Corey Seager could need minor league rehab stint; Mookie Betts could go on injured list
The Dodgers thought shortstop Corey Seager, out since May 16 because of a right-hand fracture, would return during this week’s series against the San Francisco Giants.
Now, it appears more likely that Seager will go on a brief minor league rehabilitation stint to build up some endurance in the hand before rejoining the Dodgers. Seager will likely play four or five innings in his first game and then work his way up to seven and nine innings.
“We’re talking about that,” manager Dave Roberts said before Wednesday night’s game. “It starts to make sense the longer he’s out.”
Didn’t such a plan make sense a week ago?
“We felt a week ago that he was close to taking at-bats,” Roberts said, “and then it was sore and wasn’t bouncing back the way we hoped.”
Seager hit in the batting cage Wednesday and has been running, taking grounders and throwing for weeks. He has taken some at-bats against live pitching, but not enough for the Dodgers to be comfortable with him playing in a game.
“One part of it is taking at-bats against live pitching, the other is the intensity, of being able to play nine innings, of building up,” Roberts said. “We want to make sure the hand can take a certain volume [of swings] and there’s no residual soreness.
“I don’t want him to play two games and take one off. We’re trying to figure out when we can turn the governor off and let him just run the rest of the way. We still have time.”
Roberts also said “it’s certainly a possibility” that right fielder Mookie Betts, who has not started the last four games because of a right hip-pointer, could be placed on the injured list.
“It’s not ideal,” Roberts said, “but most important thing is getting Mookie back 100%.”
Josiah Gray to fill rotation spot until Clayton Kershaw returns from injury
Josiah Gray, the top pitching prospect who made his big-league debut in Tuesday night’s 8-6 win over the Giants, will remain in the Dodgers rotation until left-hander Clayton Kershaw returns from a forearm injury, most likely in early August. Gray will start Sunday’s game against the Colorado Rockies in Dodger Stadium.
“He has a runway,” Roberts said, his preferred term for giving young players a lengthy look in a pitching or position-playing role.
Gray entered in the third inning Tuesday night and gave up four earned runs and four hits, including three home runs, in four innings, but he also struck out seven and walked only one. Of his 77 pitches, 53 were strikes. His fastball averaged 94.9 mph, but he got eight of his 15 swinging strikes with his slider.
“I know the line score probably isn’t what he hoped for, but there were a lot of good things,” Roberts said after the game. “I thought the secondary stuff was really good. He’s got an elite fastball, but tonight, the slider, he located it really well and got swing and miss. It was really good for his confidence.”
Gray said on Wednesday that the butterflies he felt before the game and while he warmed up in the bullpen “never went away until I got that first out, until I got the first inning over with,” he said. “In the bullpen, I was antsy. The butterflies were there, but it was a lot of fun being able to handle those and get some outs.”
Was pitching in a major league game against a division rival in Chavez Ravine everything he had imagined it would be?
“Yeah, I would say it was everything and then some,” Gray said. “Seeing 40,000-plus people was a surreal feeling. Seeing a lot of fans and their support for the Dodgers, it was fun to see. I’m excited to see that again tonight and for however long I can.”
Dodgers looking for more offense, but not necessarily home runs, from slumping center fielder Cody Bellinger
The Dodgers don’t need Cody Bellinger to reprise his 2019 National League most valuable player season, when he hit .305 with a 1.035 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, 47 homers and 115 RBIs.
But if they’re going to pass the San Francisco Giants and fend off the San Diego Padres to win their ninth straight division title, they’re going to need much more production than the center fielder has provided to this point.
The left-handed-hitting Bellinger entered Wednesday night’s game against the Giants with a .161 average, .552 OPS, four homers and 19 RBIs in 39 games, his spring training slowed by his recovery from right-shoulder surgery and his regular season interrupted by two stints on the injured list.
Bellinger has looked particularly overmatched in the last three weeks. After hitting homers in back-to-back games against the Chicago Cubs on June 26-27, Bellinger hit .078 (five for 64) with a .314 OPS, one homer, five RBIs, 21 strikeouts and nine walks in his next 18 games.
“He’s grinding, but I think the mindset, the approach, to being a doubles guy will benefit him far more than trying to hit a home run and feel like you’re back,” manager Dave Roberts said. “He would be best served by being a hit-collector, driving in runs, using the whole field.”
According to Baseball Info Solutions, Bellinger is swinging at 32.1% of the pitches he has seen outside the strike zone, up from 26.8% in 2019 and 29.9% in 2020.
His contact rate when swinging at pitches inside the zone has dropped from 83.2% in 2020 to 77.1% this season. His contact rate when swinging at pitches outside the zone has dropped from 71.4% in 2020 to 62.7% this season. He seems especially vulnerable to fastballs up in the zone.
“You look at his at-bats, there’s a lot of swing-and-miss in the zone,” Roberts said. “If there’s a mindset of doubles, of using the whole field, a little flatter bat path, I think he’ll have more success.”
Bellinger was sidelined for seven weeks after suffering a hairline fracture in his left fibula in the fourth game of the season. He returned on May 29 but went on the IL again in mid-June because of left-hamstring tightness.
But Roberts believes Bellinger’s struggles are rooted in his right shoulder, which Bellinger dislocated several times last season and aggravated with a violent forearm bash with teammate Kiké Hernandez while celebrating his home run in Game 7 of the NLCS against Atlanta.
Bellinger had surgery to repair the shoulder last November and did not play in exhibition games until mid-March.
“You’re talking about the front shoulder … he already has loop in his swing, and [a weaker] front shoulder makes it bigger. So as he continues to get stronger post-op, it’s going to be better.
“We still have the second-best record in baseball with everything, and now we just have to get Cody to understand how he can help the Dodgers the best way. He understands what’s going to make him the most productive player for us, and now he just has to go to work.”
Mookie Betts, Justin Turner not in Dodgers lineup, but Max Muncy will start vs. Giants
Right fielder Mookie Betts, who has been slowed by a right-hip pointer, is not in the Dodgers lineup for a fourth straight game, and third baseman Justin Turner, who was hit in the left knee by a pitch in the third inning Tuesday night and left in the fifth, won’t start against the San Francisco Giants Wednesday night.
But infielder Max Muncy, who was hit in the right shoulder blade by a pitch in the third inning Tuesday night and departed in the seventh because of a contusion, will start at second base and bat second in the 7 p.m. game in Dodger Stadium.
Manager Dave Roberts said after Tuesday night’s game that Muncy was unable to lift his right arm, but the slugger feels good enough to play Wednesday night, which is good for the Dodgers and not so good for the Giants.
The left-handed-hitting Muncy is batting .353 (12 for 34) with a 1.564 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, eight homers and 10 RBIs in 11 games against San Francisco this season. He has a .269 average, 1.077 OPS, 16 homers and 29 RBIs in 46 career games against the Giants.
Left-hander Julio Urias (12-3, 3.78 ERA) will start against Giants right-hander Logan Webb (4-3, 3.54 ERA).
DODGERS LINEUP: SS Chris Taylor, 2B Max Muncy, RF Matt Beaty, C Will Smith, CF Cody Bellinger, LF AJ Pollock, 1B Albert Pujols, 3B Zach McKinstry, LHP Julio Urias.
GIANTS LINEUP: CF Austin Slater, 3B Wilmer Flores, RF Mike Yastrzemski, 1B Darin Ruff, 2B Donovan Solano, SS Thairo Estrada, LF LaMonte Wade Jr., C Curt Casali, RHP Logan Webb.
Dodgers’ trade for New York Mets outfielder Billy McKinney gives team another weapon vs. Padres
The Dodgers acquired outfielder Billy McKinney from the New York Mets for minor league outfielder Carlos Rincon on Wednesday. To clear a 40-man roster spot for McKinney, right-hander Jake Reed was designated for assignment.
The left-handed-hitting McKinney, 26, batted .213 (39 for 183) with a .697 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, eight homers, nine doubles, two triples and 20 RBIs in 70 games for the Milwaukee Brewers and Mets this season.
McKinney has been particularly effective against the San Diego Padres this season, batting .286 (eight for 28) with a 1.033 OPS, two homers, three doubles, one triple and five RBIs in eight games against the Dodgers’ National League West rivals. The Dodgers have nine more games against San Diego this season.
A first-round pick (24th overall) of the Oakland Athletics out of Plano (Tex.) High School in 2013, McKinney has a .225 career average and .718 OPS with 26 homers and 61 RBIs in four seasons with the New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, Brewers and Mets.
Rincon, 23, played in 63 games for double-A Tulsa this season, batting .263 (61 for 232) with 12 homers and 48 RBIs. A 2015 international signing out of the Dominican Republic, Rincon has a .244 career average with 84 homers and 259 RBIs in six minor league seasons.
Will Smith’s homer gives Dodgers 8-6 win
In a game of firsts, what happened last will linger.
The Dodgers overcame a five-run deficit capped by a walk-off, pinch-hit three-run home run by Will Smith on Tuesday night to beat the San Francisco Giants, 8-6, at Dodger Stadium.
The rally was triggered by the control problems of Giants submarine reliever Tyler Rogers, who opened the ninth by walking Chris Taylor and Matt Beaty. Both scored on Smith’s blast into the left-field seats.
The turnabout absolved two young Dodgers pitchers. Making his first major league start was left-hander Darien Nuñez, followed by top prospect Josiah Gray, making his first major league appearance.
Taylor homered twice and doubled in the first six innings to keep the Dodgers in the game while batting leadoff because a sore hip sidelined Mookie Betts for a third game in a row.
The win pulled the Dodgers within one game of the Giants in the National League West and evened the four-games series at a win apiece.
The Dodgers scored a run in the first inning on Max Muncy’s RBI single, but in the second the Giants abruptly changed the narrative to one of power, blasting one home run off Nuñez and three off Gray to take a five-run lead in the fifth.
Left-handed hitting Alex Dickerson launched an 81 mph changeup by Nuñez into the right-field seats for a two-run home run in the second. And an inning later, the first big league position player Gray faced, left-handed hitting LaMonte Wade Jr., turned on a 96 mph four-seam fastball and deposited it deep in the Giants bullpen.
Like good teams often do, the Giants then benefited from a reserve, shortstop Thairo Estrada, in the lineup only because All-Star Brandon Crawford is injured. Estrada, whose two-run double sealed the Giants’ 7-2 win over the Dodgers on Monday, homered to center on Gray’s get-it-over first-pitch fastball to lead off the fifth. Four batters later left-handed hitting Mike Yastrzemski blasted a two-run homer.
The thought behind starting Nuñez was to keep the Giants from stacking their lineup with left-handed hitters, of which they have an abundance, to face the right-handed Gray. But Giants manager Gabe Kapler didn’t budge, and his left-handed hitters most of the damage.
Gray’s barrel-or-bust line: He struck out seven in four innings and threw 53 strikes in 77 pitches, but the three home runs turned the game.
Taylor did his best to lift the Dodgers, scoring the first run after leading off with a double, then blasting a solo homer in the fifth off starter Alex Wood and a two-run shot in the sixth off John Brebbia to pull the Dodgers within 6-5. Smith did the rest, with the assistance of Rogers.
Still 6-5 Giants after eight
Giants: Flores struck out swinging. Dickerson grounded to the pitcher. Solano hit a grounder to second that clanked off McKinstry’s glove for an error. Steven Duggar, batting for the pitcher, grounded to short, forcing Solano at second.
Dodgers: Duggar in at center. Slater to left. Left-hander and former Dodger Jake McGee now pitching for the Giants. Barnes struck out swinging. McKinstry grounded to short. Reks grounded to short.
Score after eight: Giants 6, Dodgers 5
Giants have 6-5 lead after seven
Giants: Reks in to right. Beaty to third. McKinstry to second. Muncy out of the game. That’s concerning. But, it could just be his wife has gone into labor. Let’s hope it is that. Left-hander Garrett Cleavinger now pitching for the Dodgers. Estrada walked on six pitches. Slater singled to left, Estrada to second. Darin Ruf, batting for Wade, struck out swinging. And that’s it for Cleavinger. Right-hander Joe Kelly now pitching for the Dodgers. Posey popped to short. Yaz grounded to second.
Dodgers: Ruf at first base. Pujols grounded to short. Pollock flied to left. Bellinger flied to left.
Score after seven: Giants 6, Dodgers 5
Dodgers score three in the sixth, trail 6-5
Giants: Matt Beaty in at right. McKinstry moves to third. Turner out of the game, which is concerning since he got hit in the knee by a pitch earlier. Dickerson flied to left. Solano struck out swinging. Tauchman struck out swinging.
Dodgers: Bellinger walked on six pitches. And that’s it for Wood. Right-hander John Brebbia now pitching for the Giants. Barnes doubled to left, scoring Bellinger. McKinstry struck out swinging. He actually fouled it into the dirt before Posey caught it, but Posey faked out the ump. Zach Reks, batting for Gray, struck out swinging. Taylor homered to left-center. His second of the game. It’s 6-5 Giants. And that’s it for Brebbia. Left-hander Jarlin Garcia now pitching for the Giants. Beaty singled to left. Muncy flied to left.
Score after six: Giants 6, Dodgers 5
Giants take 6-2 lead in fifth
Giants: Estrada homered to center. It’s 4-1 Giants. Wood struck out looking. Wade grounded to second. Posey walked on six pitches. Yaz homered to right. Flores popped to second.
Dodgers: Taylor homered to left, estimated at 416 feet. Turner flied to right. Muncy struck out swinging. Pujols singled to right. Pollock grounded to third.
Score after five: Giants 6, Dodgers 2
It’s 3-1 Giants after four
Giants: Dickerson struck out swinging. Solano struck out swinging. Tauchman struck out looking. Impressive inning by Gray.
Dodgers: Pollock flied to right. Bellinger grounded to first. Barnes hit a shot to third. Flores smothered it but couldn’t get it out of his glove. Base hit for Barnes. McKinstry doubled to right, Barnes stopping at third. Gray struck out swinging.
Score after four: Giants 3, Dodgers 1
Giants take 3-1 lead in third inning
Giants: Right-hander Josiah Gray, in his first major league game, now pitching for the Dodgers. He is their top pitching prospect. Alex Wood flied to right. Wade homered to right. Posey singled to center. Yaz flied to right. Flores struck out swinging.
Dodgers: Gray struck out swinging. Taylor struck out swinging. Wood has struck out five in a row. Turner got hit on the left knee by a pitch. Muncy got hit in the middle of his back by a pitch. Wood tried to pick off Turner, but the ump called him safe. Replays showed he was out, but the Giants didn’t challenge the call. Pujols grounded to second.
Score after three: Giants 3, Dodgers 1
Giants take 2-1 lead on Alex Dickerson’s homer
Giants: Wilmer Flores doubled to center. Alex Dickerson homered to right. It’s 2-1 Giants. Donovan Solano lined to right. McKinstry made a great diving catch. Mike Tauchman struck out swinging. Estrada struck out swinging.
Dodgers: AJ Pollock got hit on the right leg with a pitch. Cody Bellinger struck out swinging. I have that on a save string now. Austin Barnes struck out swinging. Zach McKinstry struck out looking.
Score after two: Giants 2, Dodgers 1
Dodgers take 1-0 lead in first inning
Giants: Left-hander Darien Nunez pitching for the Dodgers. LaMonte Wade Jr. flied to left. Buster Posey walked on five pitches. Mike Yastrzemski hit a shot to first that Pujols snagged, stepped on first for one, then threw to second for the double play.
Dodgers: Left-hander and former Dodger Alex Wood pitching for the Giants. Chris Taylor doubled off the center-field fence. Justin Turner, hitting .400 in July, flied to right, Taylor moving to third. Max Muncy singled to right-center, scoring Taylor. A roller that found the hole. Albert Pujols grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.
Score after one: Dodgers 1, Giants 0
Some things to know about Josiah Gray
Josiah Gray is scheduled to make his major league debut Tuesday against the San Francisco Giants, likely entering the game after an opener pitches the first inning or two.
Here are seven things to know about the Dodgers’ top prospect:
No attention early
Gray was recruited by only one college coming out of New Rochelle (N.Y.) High. Le Moyne, a Division II Jesuit school of about 3,000 students in Syracuse, brought Gray in as a two-way player, expecting him to play shortstop and serve as a closer.
As a freshman in 2016, Gray showed why he was lightly recruited, batting .265 in only 43 at-bats while posting an 8.32 ERA in 8 2/3 innings on the mound. Opponents batted .410 against him.
Mookie Betts is out of the Dodgers lineup for the third game in a row
All-Star right fielder Mookie Betts still isn’t healthy enough to be in the Dodgers lineup. The hip pointer he suffered Saturday in Colorado is still bothering him and Dave Roberts said he’s frustrated.
Roberts also said Betts might pinch-hit Tuesday as he did Monday when he struck out in the ninth inning.
“He’s not there yet with the hip pointer,” Roberts said. “When you can’t go out there and be yourself, running around in the outfield, scoring from first base on a double, it’s tough.”
Chris Taylor SS
Justin Turner 3B
Max Muncy 2B
Albert Pujols 1B
AJ Pollock LF
Cody Bellinger CF
Austin Barnes C
Zach McKinstry RF
Darien Nuñez LHP
Rookie Darien Nuñez will be the opener before giving way to Josiah Gray
Josiah Gray isn’t starting in his MLB debut tonight, but it isn’t because the Dodgers want a veteran to pitch the first inning.
Darien Nuñez, a left-hander with all of four innings experience in the big leagues, will start against the Giants. Nunez is 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in three appearances — none of them starts — since being recalled about two weeks ago.
Nuñez, 28, did pitch for four years in Cuba before signing with the Dodgers in 2018. He was 5-0 with a 2.79 ERA in 29 innings over 15 appearances at triple-A Oklahoma City this season.
Vin Scully talks about the loss of his beloved wife
Vin Scully sounded strong.
He also sounded sad.
Vin Scully was so sharp, one could easily envision him stepping right back into the broadcast booth.
He was also so muted, one could feel his pain.
In some of his first public comments since the Jan. 3 death of his beloved wife, Sandi, Scully answered my recent phone call with both resignation and hope.
“I’m OK, I really am,” he said. “I’ve been severely wounded, but I’ve also come to grips with it. I believe it’s all God’s plans. I’m just trying to do the best that I can for as long as I have.”
What ensued was a 30-minute conversation that revealed the human side of a Los Angeles sports deity, the city’s most trusted voice lowering his tone to share the anguish of his loss, the path toward his recovery, and the wisdom gained on the journey.
Josiah Gray added to the Dodgers’ roster
Considering the Dodgers have made it clear that pitcher Josiah Gray will make his debut Tuesday night against the Giants, it makes sense that they found a spot on the active roster for him before the game.
Gray takes the place of left-handed reliever Scott Alexander, who was moved to the injured list with left shoulder inflammation.
In other moves, the Dodgers designated infielder Andy Burns for assignment and reinstated reliever Edwin Uceta and optioned him to triple-A Oklahoma City.
Dodgers first-round pick Maddux Bruns expected to sign Wednesday
The Dodgers have reached an agreement with first-round pick Maddux Bruns for a $2.2 million signing bonus and will meet with him Wednesday morning to sign a contract.
Dodgers scouting director Billy Gasparino said the team is getting back results of a blood test this afternoon, the last step before Bruns signs.
Bruns, a left-handed pitcher from UMS-Wright Prep in Mobile, Ala., is a 6-foot-2, 205-pound left-hander turned down a scholarship to Mississippi State to sign with the Dodgers.
Giants defeat Dodgers, 7-2
Every time a Dodgers starting pitcher is sidelined because of injury or idiocy, the same name is flagged as a potential replacement: Is Josiah Gray ready?
On Tuesday, the answer appears to be yes.
Barring a last-minute change of heart, the Dodgers consensus top prospect will follow an opener — a pitcher who will try to get through one or two innings — and attempt to carry the load into the late innings. And it will occur against the San Francisco Giants, that overachieving bunch led by multiple World Series champions Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt, a cadre of no-names and a surprisingly effective pitching staff.
The Giants began a four-game series at Dodger Stadium on Monday with the best record in the major leagues, one game ahead of the Dodgers in the NL West. The teams also play a three-game set next week in San Francisco, so one poor game can be overcome.
At least the Dodgers hope so. The Giants broke open a close game with a four-run seventh inning to win, 7-2. Most of the damage came against left-handed reliever Victor González, who was activated from the injured list earlier in the day.
The outburst marked the first scoring since the first inning. Posey and Wilmer Flores hit back-to-back homers off Tony Gonsolin for a three-run lead in the first only to be answered by consecutive solo blasts from Max Muncy and Justin Turner off All-Star Kevin Gausman in the bottom of the inning.
We go to the ninth, 7-2 Giants
Giants: Left-hander Alex Vesia now pitching for the Dodgers. Yaz fouled to right. Posey flied to right. Flores lined to right. All right.
Dodgers: Right-hander Jay Jackson now pitching for the Giants. Turner struck out looking at a pitch that was off the plate. Smith flied to center. Bellinger flied to right.
Score after eight: Giants 7, Dodgers 2
Giants take 7-2 lead in seventh inning
Giants: Pollock in left. Reks in right. Posey singled to left. Flores flied to right. Dickerson singled to center, Posey to second. Left-hander Victor Gonzalez now pitching for the Dodgers. Solano singled sharply to right, loading the bases. Jason Vosler, batting for the pitcher, flied to deep right, scoring Posey, Dickerson to third. First and third, two out. Estrada doubled to left, scoring Dickerson and Solano. Slater doubled to left, scoring Estrada. Ruf struck out swinging.
Dodgers: Right-hander Dominic Leone now pitching for the Giants. Austin Barnes, batting for Gonzalez, struck out swinging. Taylor flied to center. Muncy flied to right.
Score after seven: Giants 7, Dodgers 2
Giants 3, Dodgers 2 after six innings
Giants: Estrada singled to center. Slater singled to right. First and second, nobody out. Darin Ruf hit for Wade. Right-hander Phil Bickford replaced Alexander. Ruf grounded into a 3-6-1 double play. Yaz popped to short.
Dodgers: Ruf in at first. AJ Pollock, batting for Beaty, grounded to the pitcher. Reks struck out swinging. McKinstry struck out looking at a pitch off the plate.
Score after six: Giants 3, Dodgers 2
Nothing doing in the fifth, 3-2 Giants
Giants: Flores flied to left. Dickerson lined to second. McKinstry was actually playing shallow right for the shift and made a leaping grab. Solano was hit by a pitch. Left-hander Scott Alexander replaced Sherfy. Solano stole second. Duggar grounded to the right side. Taylor, playing on the right side, made a sliding stop and threw him out. Nice play.
Dodgers: Muncy walked on five pitches. The Giants obviously want no part of Muncy. Turner grounded to third, forcing Muncy. Smith struck out swinging. Now it’s time for a double switch. Austin Slater comes in to play center, replacing Duggar. Left-hander Jarlin Garcia now pitching for the Giants. Bellinger lined to left.
Score after five: Giants 3, Dodgers 2
Still 3-2 Giants after four
Giants: Estrada fouled to first. Mike Tauchman, batting for Gausman. That’s a quick hook for Gausman, who threw 80 pitches. Tauchman walked on four pitches. Tauchman took second on a wild pitch. Wade walked on five pitches. And that’s it for Gonsolin. He’s out and right-hander Jimmie Sherfy is in. Yaz grounded to second, forcing Wade at second and beating the throw back to first by a step. Sherfy, covering first, had his foot right on the middle of the bag, which is a good way to get a broken ankle. Yaz stole second. Posey grounded to short.
Dodgers: Right-hander Zack Littell now pitching for the Giants. McKinstry grounded to first. Sherfy grounded to first. Taylor flied to left.
Score after four: Giants 3, Dodgers 2
It’s 3-2 Giants after three
Giants: Flores grounded to short. Dickerson singled to right. Solano flied to center. Duggar struck out swinging.
Dodgers: Bellinger grounded to third. Beaty flied to right. Reks struck out looking.
Score after three: Giants 3, Dodgers 2
Dodgers leave bases loaded, trail 3-2 after two
Giants: Thairo Estrada popped to second. Kevin Gausman singled to left. Wade walked on five pitches. Yastems, Yaztrz, Yaster.... we’re just going to call him Yaz, flied to center. Posey struck out swinging.
Dodgers: Zach McKinstry doubled to right. Tony Gonsolin struck out swinging. Taylor struck out swinging. Muncy walked on four pitches. The runners moved up on a wild pitch. Turner walked on seven pitches. Bases loaded, two out. Smith struck out swinging.
Score after two: Giants 3, Dodgers 2
Giants lead 3-2 after eventful first inning
Giants: Right-hander Kevin Gausman now pitching. LaMonte Wade Jr. doubled to right. Mike Yastrzemski struck out swinging. Buster Posey homered to left. Wilmer Flores homered to left. Alex Dickerson walked on six pitches. Donovan Solano lined to center. Steven Duggar flied to left.
Dodgers: Right-hander and All-Star Kevin Gausman pitching for the Giants. Chris Taylor popped to second. Max Muncy homered to right (estimated at 423 feet). Justin Turner homered to center (estimated at 419 feet). Will Smith was hit by a pitch. The crowd erupted and boos and the ump walked forward quickly, but Smith calmly jogged to first. Cody Bellinger walked on seven pitches. Matt Beaty lined to third. He hit a rocket and the third baseman made a lunging catch. Zach Reks struck out swinging.
Score after one: Giants 3, Dodgers 2
Mookie Betts a late scratch from the Dodgers lineup
Mookie Betts was a late scratch from the Dodgers lineup and was replaced by Zach Reks, who played left field. Matt Beaty was moved from left to right field.
Betts, the Dodgers star right fielder and leadoff hitter missed Sunday’s series finale against the Colorado Rockies after tweaking his hip running to second base Saturday. Betts went four for four in the game, hitting three doubles and a home run.
Reks was recalled from double-A earlier Monday, taking the roster spot of infielder Gavin Lux, who went on the injured list with a strained hamstring.
Jimmie Sherfy set aside Olympics dream for a big league opportunity
It’s been a whirlwind two months for Jimmie Sherfy. He’s been a Dodgers reliever for four days, pitching one scoreless inning. Before that he was a Giants reliever, making 10 appearances in three weeks before being designated for assignment July 6.
And before that, he was a member of Team USA headed for the Tokyo Olympics after winning a qualifying tournament in early June. Sherfy was celebrating with teammates, planning travel to Japan, when the Giants called and said he’d been promoted to the big leagues.
“It wasn’t even a decision,” Sherfy said. “The Olympics would have been a great honor, but this is the major leagues.”
Sherfy, who attended Newbury Park High, began the year as a minor league invitee to Giants spring training and opened the season with the triple-A Sacramento River Cats. A Giants official came to him in mid-May and said Team USA had inquired about his availability. He was eligible because he wasn’t on the Giants’ 40-man roster.
“I told them I was absolutely interested,” he said. Sherfy pitched in one qualifying game, against Canada, with USA across his chest.
Now his uniform reads Dodgers, and he couldn’t be happier.
“I spent from 2013 to 2020 in the Diamondbacks organization, and this year I’ve played for four teams,” he said. “It’s crazy, but it’s baseball.”
Dodgers vs. Giants: Betting odds, analysis for Monday
Despite the San Francisco Giants losing to the Cardinals in St. Louis on Sunday, the Dodgers were unable to make up ground in the National League West division race with their extra innings loss against the Colorado Rockies and will look not let two opportunities go squandered when they face the Giants at Dodger Stadium on Monday.
The Dodgers will look to starter Tony Gonsolin to lend length after the bullpen pitched 5.2 innings on Sunday, but Gonsolin has pitched four innings or fewer in six of his seven appearances this season. Gonsolin has given up one run or fewer in all seven appearances this season, but is issuing 5.3 walks per nine innings.
The Giants counter with Kevin Gausman, who has a 1.73 ERA overall, which drops to 1.35 in road starts with four home runs in 66.2 innings allowed on the road. Opponents are hitting .159 against him.
The Giants are 7-3 in Gausman’s last 10 road starts. They are 1-4 in his pitching appearances against Los Angeles since 2020.
The Dodgers are 6-1 in the seven games Gonsolin has pitched in this season, with the Dodgers allowing four runs or fewer in six of those games and overall have surrendered four runs or fewer in 12 of their past 13 home games.
Dodgers top pitching prospect Josiah Gray could make his debut Tuesday
Josiah Gray, the Dodgers’ top pitching prospect, is expected to make his MLB debut Tuesday against the San Francisco Giants. Gray, a starter by trade, would follow an opener, coming out of the bullpen early in the game.
“Josiah’s excited to be here,” manager Dave Roberts said. “Him coming in behind an opener [Tuesday], we’re talking about that, yeah.”
Gray has pitched only 15 2/3 innings at triple-A, but his overall minor league numbers are excellent. In 198 innings over three seasons, he is 14-5 with a 2.41 ERA and 228 strikeouts in 198 innings. He’s allowed only 135 hits.
A shoulder impingement in early May sidelined Gray, but he’s built back up to 75 pitches and Roberts feels he’s ready to take the mound at Dodger Stadium.
“I think it was shoulder fatigue as much as anything,” Roberts said. “Obviously, we were very careful ramping him back up and getting the reps. He’s shown no signs of the previous injury. ... His last outing was 75 pitches, so he’s been hooked up as a starter.”
Mookie Betts returns to the Dodgers lineup
Mookie Betts is batting leadoff and playing right field Monday against San Francisco, an indication the injury to his right hip that prompted him to leave the game Saturday in Colorado isn’t serious.
Betts sat out Sunday’s series finale against the Rockies.
The lineup against Giants right-handed starter Kevin Gausman:
Mookie Betts RF
Max Muncy 1B
Justin Turner 3B
Will Smith C
Cody Bellinger CF
Chris Taylor SS
Matt Beaty LF
Zach McKinstry 2B
Tony Gonsolin P
Shortstop Corey Seager appears comfortable in simulated game
Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager drove two balls to the left-center field gap and popped up in three at-bats against Corey Knebel in a quick simulated game Monday at Dodger Stadium before batting practice began.
Seager, who has been out since mid-May with a fractured right hand, accelerated down the first-base line once and took a turn around the bag. He also took a few ground balls at shortstop.
The Dodgers are hopeful Seager, the reigning World Series MVP, can be activated during the four-game series against San Francisco that begins Monday.
“Certainly I see a potential activation in the short term,” manager Dave Roberts said. “I don’t want to put a date exactly, but assume he comes out OK tomorrow, Wednesday is a possibility.
Knebel, a valuable reliever out since April 23 with a right lat strain, appeared to focus on locating his breaking ball in the 17-pitch simulated game against two hitters.
Roberts said Knebel probably will pitch in two to three minor league games before returning to the Dodgers. Knebel originally was projected to return in mid-to-late August, but he might be ahead of schedule.
“Knebel looked fantastic mixing in his fastball and breaking balls,” Roberts said. “Mid-to-late August it was for us. It’s hard to pinpoint. If it is earlier, that’s a great thing. Corey, what he means to us the rest of the season is obviously very important, so we’re going to make sure he’s ready.”
Dodgers place Gavin Lux on the 10-day injured list
The Dodgers made a second roster move ahead of Monday’s series opener against San Francisco, placing infielder Gavin Lux on the injured list and recalling outfielder Zach Reks.
Lux, who sustained a left hamstring strain over the weekend against the Colorado Rockies, will head to the injured list for the first time in his career. He’s underperformed at the plate this season, batting .227 (63-for-278) with six homers and 37 RBIs. In parts of three seasons with the Dodgers, Lux is batting .221 with 11 homers and 54 RBI.
This is the third time this season Reks has been called up from triple-A Oklahoma City, although he has only four at-bats with the Dodgers and is hitless. He’s batting .325 (53-for-163) with nine homers and 31 RBIs in 43 games for Oklahoma City.
Dodgers reliever Victor González activated from the injured list
The Dodgers activated left-handed reliever Victor González from the 10-day injured list before Monday’s game and optioned right-hander Jake Reed to triple-A Oklahoma City.
González, primarily a situational left-hander who missed nine games with left plantar fasciitis, is 3-1 with a 2.57 ERA in 36 appearances.
Reed, 28, appeared in six games for the Dodgers, giving up two earned runs in 5.1 innings. He was acquired by the Dodgers in early June after being released by the Angels.
ICYMI: Dodgers fall to Rockies while awaiting Giants
DENVER — And now, the main event.
In the blue corner, the defending World Series champions, your Los Angeles Dodgers. In the black corner, or the orange corner, depending on the day, the archrival San Francisco Giants.
The teams with the two best records in the major leagues: the Giants and the Dodgers.
The teams atop the National League West standings: the Giants, by one game over the Dodgers.
The teams that open a four-game series Monday at Dodger Stadium: the Giants and the Dodgers.
The Dodgers could have started the series in a first-place tie, but they lost to the Colorado Rockies 6-5 on an afternoon they twice were three outs from victory. In the ninth inning, Kenley Jansen blew his first save since May 5, giving up a tying single to Chris Owings. In the 10th inning, Phil Bickford, the sixth Dodgers pitcher, gave up a walkoff home run to Charlie Blackmon.
The Dodgers are one game out of first place. They are 1-9 in extra innings, and they have played five games this season with their projected varsity lineup, and their starting rotation is depleted, and they already have used 27 pitchers.