The offense was stagnant early, but single runs in the final three innings proved to be enough thanks to some effective pitching, giving the Dodgers a 3-0 victory over the Tigers on Saturday afternoon at Comerica Park in Detroit.
The Dodgers recorded their 13th shutout victory of the season, two more than any other team in baseball.
Michael Fulmer held the Dodgers at bay until the seventh inning, when the two weekend veteran additions conspired for the Dodgers’ first run.
A seemingly harmless two-out pop fly behind third base by Curtis Granderson caused trouble. Nick Castellanos was the only fielder on that side of the infield thanks to a shift against the left-handed Granderson, and couldn’t handle the ball in the sun. Granderson, running all the way, ended up at second base.
After a walk by Yasmani Grandal — battling back from an 0-2 count — Adrian Gonzalez singled sharply to right field to drive home Granderson for the first run of the game.
It was the 1,998th hit of Gonzalez’s career, and gave him a run batted in in each of his two games back after missing 55 games on the disabled list with a herniated disc in his back.
Chase Utley walked to open the eighth inning, advanced to second on a single by Chris Taylor, then scored on another two-out RBI single, this time by Justin Turner to pad the lead.
Turner has driven in 15 runs in 16 games in August.
Grandal followed with more insurance, in the form of a solo home run in the eighth inning, his 16th of the year.
It wasn’t always pretty, but Hyun-jin Ryu was effectively wild for his five innings, shaking off four walks to prevent any runs from scoring.
The biggest threat came in the third inning, when a single and two walks loaded the bases with two outs, only to have Ryu wipe out Miguel Cabrera on three pitches to end the frame.
Justin Upton, who homered twice and had four hits on Friday night, struck out looking with Ian Kinsler on second base to end the fifth inning, Ryu’s final batter of the game. Detroit was 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position against the left-hander.
Ryu has recorded outs in the sixth inning or later in just two of his last nine starts, but he has also scrimped on allowing runs of late too, allowing 11 total runs in his last eight starts, good for a 2.22 ERA with 47 strikeouts and 15 walks in 44⅔ innings during that span.
Ross Stripling relieved Ryu and provided the sturdiest of bridges to the back end of the bullpen, striking out four in his two scoreless innings for the win.
Brandon Morrow followed with a scoreless eighth, setting up Kenley Jansen for his 33rd save of the season. Comerica Park is the 26th major league ballpark in which Jansen has recorded a save.
Dodgers relievers on Saturday retired 12 of 15 batters faced to close out the game.
The Dodgers go for a series sweep on Sunday morning, with Kenta Maeda on the mound for the 10:10 a.m. PT series finale. Justin Verlander starts for the Tigers.
Home run: Yasmani Grandal (16)
WP - Ross Stripling (3-4): 2 IP, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts
LP - Michael Fulmer (10-11): 7 IP, 3 hits, 1 unearned run, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts
Sv - Kenley Jansen (33): 1 IP, 1 strikeout