LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers were able to defeat the Astros 3-2 and salvage the last game of this series and home stand. Walker Buehler, Dylan Floro, Scott Alexander and Kenley Jansen held down the Astros and the Dodgers did just enough offensively to win.
In a game that saw some clutch hitting and solid pitching, the game may have been won by a defensive play made by a combination of players not heard of before this week.
It wasn’t Tinkers to Ever to Chance but who knows, maybe someday someone will write a poem about Taylor to Dozier to Muncy. In any case, the Dodgers needed a double play in the worst way and they got it in the sixth inning.
Walker Buehler was relieved with one out in the sixth and Dodgers clinging to a one run lead. Dylan Floro entered and he got J.D. Davis to hit a ground ball. Chris Taylor ranged to the hole, got the ball and threw a strike to Brian Dozier. Dozier made the turn and threw it to Max Muncy to complete the double play.
“Obviously you want to take a lot of reps with the guys up the middle and stuff,” Brian Dozier said after the game, “so I am still get used to that, where they want the feeds and all that kind of stuff but remotely it always over the bag and you just make the play.”
Buehler pitched well in both starts this week at Dodger Stadium, on Sunday he pitched 5⅓ innings and gave up two runs and four hits. He walked two and struck out eight. After Floro, Scott Alexander and Kenley Jansen each pitched a scoreless inning, Jansen recorded his 31st save.
“I thought we pitched really well today,” Manager Dave Roberts said, “it was really good.”
The Astros scored on the very first pitch of the game, George Springer hit a leadoff home run for a quick 1-0 lead. Buehler was able to recover to retire the next three hitters.
Gerrit Cole started for the Astros and the first two batters he faced in the game both got on base. Joc Pederson walked and Manny Machado singled to put runners on first and second. However, two hitters later, Brian Dozier came up with those same runners on base.
Dozier took a 3-2 pitch and hit a fly ball to left-center. Springer attempted a diving catch but the ball hit the ground at the same time Springer did. Both runners scored and the Dodgers took the lead.
“[Springer] did a really good job of tracking it down,” Dozier said, “I thought it was for sure in the gap, it kind of hung up longer than I thought but when he made the play, he’s done that couple of times in the American League, robbed me of a couple of hits.”
“I thought he caught it,” Dozier said, “but obviously he didn’t.”
In the top of the third inning, Springer walked with two outs. During Springer’s attempt to steal second, his left thumb caught up in Chris Taylor’s glove. Not only was Springer called out, he left the game with an injured thumb.
Machado led off the third inning with a single. With one out and Machado running, Cody Bellinger dropped a fly ball into left-center. Machado scored from first to make it 3-1.
The Astros got closer when Tony Kemp hit a one-out home run in the fifth inning to make it a one-run game.
Cole would end up pitching five innings and giving up just three runs. But today, that was enough to lose the game.
The Dodgers finally get an off-day as they travel to Oakland tomorrow. They will begin a two-game series on Tuesday. The first of two left-handed pitching matchups will feature Rich Hill (4-4, 3,68) going against Sean Manaea (10-7, 3.38).
Home runs: George Springer (19), Tony Kemp (4)
WP - Walker Buehler (6-4): 5⅓ IP, 4 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts
LP - Gerrit Cole (10-4): 5 IP, 6 hits, 3 runs, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts
Sv - Kenley Jansen (31): 1 IP, 1 hit, 1 strikeout