LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers got Mike Bolsinger basically for free during the winter, with cash considerations the freight for prying from Arizona. So far the right-hander has been worth his weight in gold, and then some, with Saturday night his finest outing to date, leading the Dodgers to a 2-0 shutout of the Padres at Dodger Stadium.
Bolsinger allowed a single to Yangervis Solarte to open the game, but quickly erased him thanks to a double play. That started a string of 23 consecutive batters retired to Bolsinger, who pitched eight scoreless innings for his third straight win.
Bolsinger struck out a career-high eight and walked none, throwing 92 pitches in the longest outing by a Dodgers starter this season. It was the longest outing of Bolsinger's career.
Of his 92 pitches, a whopping 52 were curve balls, his best pitch, and 34 of those were strikes. Bolsinger otherwise topped out at 89.4 mph, per Brooks Baseball.
"He does a really nice job of keeping it around the strike zone. It's a pitch that teases you," catcher A.J. Ellis said of Bolsinger's curve. "Just when you're ready to hit one you think is a strike it drops out of the zone, and when you think one's going to be a ball it falls into the strike zone.
"It doesn't matter what level you're at or what league you're in. When you catch good hitters in between speeds, it's a tough day to swing the bat."
But this was just the latest in a string of solid outings for Bolsinger, who has allowed all of two runs in four starts, with 22 strikeouts and six walks in 25⅔ innings. He has an active scoreless streak of 18⅔ innings innings.
"He was spinning it, using his breaking ball a lot. He threw a lot of strikes today. He was pretty much ahead in the count the whole night," manager Don Mattingly said. "It was a lot more of the same."
Joc Pederson, who homered in his last at-bat on Friday to give the Dodgers the win, started off Saturday right with another home run, his 12th of the season. The Dodgers tacked on an insurance run in the sixth with a single by Adrian Gonzalez and a double by Justin Turner.
Bolsinger made sure those two runs were more than enough.
Kenley Jansen closed it out in the ninth inning, continuing his perfect season* to date by retiring all three batters he faced, including one strikeout. Abraham Almonte tried to bunt for a hit with two outs in the ninth inning, but Turner at third base made a fantastic play to throw out Almonte and end the game.
*Jansen has struck out eight of his 13 batters faced but recorded "only" 12 outs, with one strikeout reaching base via wild pitch.
The Dodgers have scored six runs in their last seven games, tied for the fifth-worst seven-game stretch in franchise history. Yet despite the paucity of runs, the Dodgers are 3-4 during that stretch.
Bolsinger and Jansen combined to face the minimum 27 batters through nine innings. The last time Dodgers pitchers faced the minimum 27 batters in a nine-inning game was April 26, 2002, when Odalis Perez flirted with perfection at Wrigley Field, settling for a one-hitter.
Start me up
The home run by Pederson was his third leadoff home run of the season, in his 21st start atop the Dodgers batting order this season. With the blast, Pederson tied Johnny Frederick (1929) for most leadoff home runs in a season by a Dodgers rookie.
The Dodgers record for most leadoff home runs in a season by any player is seven, set by current first base coach Davey Lopes in 1979.
At two hours, 11 minutes, Saturday night was the fastest Dodgers nine-inning game of the season. It beat their previous short effort, a 2:30 game on April 26 at Petco Park. The Dodgers also beat the Rockies technically in 1:41 on May 8 at Coors Field, but that was a six-inning game shortened by rain.
The Dodgers go for the sweep of San Diego on Sunday, with Carlos Frias on the mound. The Padres counter with ace James Shields, the National League leader in strikeouts (75) and home runs allowed (14).
Home run: Joc Pederson (12)
WP - Mike Bolsinger (3-0): 8 IP, 1 hit, 8 strikeouts
LP - Ian Kennedy (2-4): 6 IP, 6 hits, 2 runs, 6 strikeouts
Sv - Kenley Jansen (3): 1 IP, 1 strikeout