Trea Turner fits right in during first start with Dodgers, helping them beat Angels
Dave Roberts had some decisions to make before finalizing his lineup card Saturday afternoon.
For the first time since the Dodgers acquired him at the trade deadline, infielder Trea Turner was ready to start a game.
While playing for the Washington Nationals this season, the first-time All-Star usually hit first or second — where Mookie Betts and Max Muncy bat for the Dodgers. Turner is also a natural shortstop, the same position held by Corey Seager.
So, the Dodgers manager did his best to keep everyone happy. Turner was the leadoff hitter, with Betts — who still is battling a nagging condition in his right hip — batting third and Justin Turner moving to fifth. Seager remained at shortstop, pushing Trea Turner over to second.
Highlights from the Dodgers’ 5-3 comeback win over the Angels on Saturday night.
“These are good problems, certainly,” Roberts said before the game. “I think it just speaks to the talent.”
Seven of the Dodgers’ eight position players got a hit. Starter Julio Urías gave up three runs (two earned) in five innings despite battling a high pitch count. And the bullpen blanked the Angels down the stretch, ensuring Chris Taylor’s tiebreaking, two-run double in the eighth was enough to even this weekend’s Freeway Series.
Trea Turner helped open the scoring in the first inning, drawing a leadoff walk before racing home on a double in the next at-bat by Muncy, who later scored on a Seager single to make it 2-0. Turner also singled and stole a base in his first game with the team. And defensively, he shined at second.
“A few big, game-changing plays he made look pretty effortlessly,” Roberts said after the game. “Our fans on a night-in, night-out basis are going to really be in for a treat.”
It was a return to normality for Turner, who before the game relived a whirlwind trade deadline week that included a positive COVID-19 test — which had kept him out until Friday — and nonstop rumors about whether the Nationals would trade him.
“I would go back and forth: ‘Oh, they’re not going to trade me. Oh, yup they are,’” he said. “Social media, you read all these things, talking to my agents, you just have to be prepared for whatever.”
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts says recently acquired Trea Turner will start against the Angels and spend the rest of this season as the team’s primary second baseman.
Turner said he would have loved to stay with the Nationals, for whom he had played all seven seasons of his big league career, and that he also would have been open to signing a long-term extension with the team before becoming a free agent after next season. But after the club didn’t make him an offer before the deadline, then dealt him along with Max Scherzer to the Dodgers, Turner said he was excited about the new chapter that’s ahead.
“To be traded to a great organization, an organization that is trying to win championships, is always a good thing,” Turner said, adding: “You look up and down the lineup and you’ve got All-Stars, you’ve got MVPs, you’ve got guys that have done it in the postseason. So you just try to slot in where you can and contribute where you can.”
Clayton Kershaw said Friday he doesn’t expect to pitch for the Dodgers until early September because of elbow inflamation. He has been out since July 7.
On Saturday, almost everyone in the lineup chipped in.
After the Angels (56-55) took the lead with three runs in the third inning — José Iglesias hit an RBI double, Phil Gosselin produced an RBI single and Muncy dropped a two-out, infield popup that allowed Gosselin to race home — the Dodgers (66-45) began to storm back in the seventh.
Cody Bellinger hit a game-tying home run to lead off the inning, chasing Angels starter Jaime Barria from the game after six-plus innings. Then, against reliever Junior Guerra in the eighth, Seager and Will Smith got aboard with singles before Taylor drove them both home with a double into the left-center-field gap.
The Dodgers bullpen came up clutch, as well.
Alex Vesia and Phil Bickford pitched stress-free innings in the sixth and seventh, respectively.
Brusdar Graterol got in a two-on, one-out jam in the eighth but escaped by striking out pinch-hitting Shohei Ohtani with a 101.5-mph fastball.
And Kenley Jansen got the save in the ninth, retiring the side in order to keep the Dodgers four games behind the San Francisco Giants — who also won Saturday — in the National League West standings.
“Top to bottom, you got guys,” Taylor said. “Now it’s our job to do what we should. It’s going to be fun playing with these guys every day. Hopefully we can continue to play good baseball.”
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