Sure, there was a bench-clearing incident in the sixth inning between Joe Kelly, Alex Bregman, and Carlos Correa, but the outcome turned before that.
In the first four innings against Houston starter Framber Valdéz, the Dodgers hit five balls 95.8 mph or harder, per Baseball Savant, that turned into outs. But in the fifth they were finally able to break through. Down 2-0, three singles loaded the bases with nobody out, but a lineout to right field by Will Smith wasn’t near deep enough to bring home a run.
Enoli Paredes, one of nine rookies in the Astros bullpen, was brought in in relief, and the Dodgers paraded around the bases in methodical fashion:
- Mookie Betts walked for a run.
- Max Muncy grounded into a fielder’s choice, and the throw home got away from catcher Martin Maldonado.
- Justin Turner singled home a run.
- Cody Bellinger singled home a run.
- Against new pitcher Andre Scrubb, another rookie making his major league debut and a former Dodgers minor leager, Chris Taylor walked in a run.
The Dodgers sent 10 batters to the plate and saw 34 pitches in the fifth inning, scoring five runs.
Before the game, Dave Roberts said an ideal situation would have Walker Buehler lasting five innings and 75 pitches, but warned that a stressful inning could change those plans. That stress came in the fourth.
Leading up to that, Buehler allowed only one hit, a screaming 105.8-mph line drive home run by Carlos Correa in the second inning. After the homer, Buehler retired six straight betters, but then allowed a two-out single to Michael Brantley, a four-pitch walk to Yuli Gurriel, and an RBI single by Correa to end his night.
Buehler only threw 18 pitches in the fourth inning and 56 pitches overall, but put another way: he threw seven balls and 31 strikes in the first three innings, then nine balls and nine strikes in the fourth.
The Dodgers bullpen followed by recording the final 16 outs while allowing one hit and striking out six.
Home run: Carlos Correa (1)
WP — Brusdar Graterol (1-0): 1 IP, 2 strikeouts
LP — Framber Valdéz (0-1): 4⅓ IP, 4 hits, 3 runs (2 earned), 1 walk, 2 strikeouts
Sv — Kenley Jansen (1): 1 IP, 1 hit
Dustin May gets the call for the Dodgers in Wednesday’s series finale, a 4:10 p.m. PT start.