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Alex Wood cools the critics, earns first Dodgers win

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES -- Of the four pitchers acquired by the Dodgers in their three-team, 13-player trade with the Braves and Marlins, Alex Wood is the one with the most potential for long-term impact, a starting pitcher who won't be a free agent until after 2019. But so far, Wood has provided the best outcome in the very short term as well.

He pitched into the seventh inning on Friday night, picking up his first win with his new team.

"It gives me some confidence to get my first win under my belt for these guys. I felt tonight was the best I have thrown in my three starts," Wood said. "That's all I look for, I want to earn the respect of these guys.

"It's different when you come in and join a new team and a new clubhouse. I'm trying my hardest to earn their respect all over again. Hopefully tonight is a good start in the right direction."

He struck out three and walked three on Friday, and in three starts with Los Angeles has 16 strikeouts and eight walks in 17⅔ innings. On Friday he induced nine ground ball outs and one fly ball out.

"He continues to pitch, changes speeds," manager Don Mattingly said.

The one scare came in the third inning, when Brandon Phillips lined a ball off Wood's right ankle for a single. Wood was checked out by Mattingly and trainer Stan Conte, then threw two warmup pitches to their satisfaction and remained in the game.

Mattingly said Wood has been dealing with a right ankle issue since the pitcher arrived in Los Angeles, though neither would elaborate other than to downplay its severity.

"It's just stuff that you deal with over the course over 162 games," Wood said. "Nothing to go into further detail."

Wood was pulled with one out in the seventh with nobody on base, even though he was at 82 pitches. He was two batters shy of going through the order three full times, something he has done 14 times in 23 starts this season.

Just to get us back there outs-wise before we can get to Kenley [Jansen]," Mattingly explained. "That's where we needed to go. At that spot in the order, you have four guys you wanted to go right-handed with."

Jim Johnson — with his second scoreless outing in a row — Pedro Baez and Jansen retired the final eight batters of the game in order including three by strikeout.

On one of the hottest and most humid days of the year in Los Angeles, Wood's experience in the sweltering summer heat of Atlanta showed when asked if he thought he could have kept pitching in the seventh.

"It's a cool night," Woods said, "I'm at around 80 pitches. I thought I could keep going."

Hardly any reporter heard the last few sentences, too stunned that he called Friday a cool night. Asked to confirm his meteorological leanings, Wood just laughed.

Maybe he's ready for the heat of a pennant race after all.

Up next

Brett Anderson gets the call on Saturday night, an earlier 6:10 p.m. PT start, with 'Back to the Future' shown after the game. The Reds will counter with a second consecutive left-hander in David Holmberg.