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Dodgers capitalize on Padres mistakes in win

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Late offense support Dustin May’s best start of the season

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Runs were in short supply early at Petco Park on Tuesday, but the Dodgers pounced on a pair of Padres mistakes and tacked on late in a 5-2 win in the second game of the series.

Dinelson Lamet held the Dodgers hitless until the sixth, when Cody Bellinger followed a two-out hit by pitch with a soft single to center field. Corey Seager, the Dodgers’ hottest hitter, scorched a 102.8-mph single to center field, where Trent Grisham — shades of last year’s NL wild card game — bobbled the ball, allowing Bellinger to score the tying run from first base.

The go-ahead run came in the seventh thanks to another Padres error, this one by pitcher Craig Stammen, whose errant throw down the first base line put Austin Barnes in scoring position with two outs, followed by another hot hitter, A.J. Pollock, doubling him home.

Two singles, a balk, and a hit by pitch gave the Dodgers an insurance run in the eighth, and Pollock homered in the ninth, helping secure their sixth win in the first eight games of the road trip, with one more game remaining.

Owning the zone

Dustin May lasted only 3⅓ innings last Wednesday in Houston, in part thanks to falling behind hitters. He threw a first-pitch strike to only six of 15 batters in that game, and walked two.

Dave Roberts before Tuesday’s game cited strike efficiency as a goal for May to pitch deeper into this game.

“I think he’s got to be able to incorporate the breaking ball and work ahead, because he’s an uncomfortable at bat,” Roberts said. “If he can get strike one, it should be a really good night.”

May did just that against the Padres, firing a first-pitch strike to 19 of his 22 batters faced, completing six innings, just the third time in 12 games a Dodgers starting pitcher has lasted that long this season. May threw strikes with 71 percent of his pitches on Tuesday.

He allowed a pair of runs on two-out hits, a double by Fernando Tatis Jr. in the third inning and a Jake Cronenworth home run in the fourth. May struck out a career-best eight, including this gem to get Manny Machado in the first inning:

“I couldn’t imagine a better pitch on the filthmeter,” Roberts said after the game.

“Honestly, I just throw it and that’s how it comes out of my hand,” May said. “I grip it and rip it, and that’s kind of my thought process with every pitch.”

A painful record

Justin Turner was hit by a pitch in the shoulder in the sixth inning, the start of the game-tying rally against Lamet. It was the second time Turner was hit by a pitch this season, and his 74th hit by pitch since joining the Dodgers. That set a franchise record, passing Hall of Fame outfielder Zack Wheat. Turner has 74 HBP in 766 games with Los Angeles, compared to Wheat’s 73 HBP in 2,322 games with Brooklyn.

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Recognizing the moment, Turner asked for the ball.

Turner has finished in the top 10 in the National League in hit by pitches three times since joining the Dodgers (2015, 2017, 2019), and his 74 HBP since the start of the 2014 season is tied for eighth in MLB.

Painful, part two

  • Edwin Rios was hit by a Lamet pitch in the foot in the fifth inning. He stayed in left field for the bottom of the inning, but was removed on defense in the sixth. Roberts said X-rays were negative, and Rios had blood drained from the toenail, but will be available on Wednesday.
  • Seager fouled a pitch off his foot in the eighth.
  • Dodgers batters were hit three times Tuesday night, tying their season high, also done on July 25 against San Francisco.
  • Bellinger started in center field, then later moved to right field and first base. He’s just the second Dodger to play those three positions in the same game, along with Jolbert Cabrera on July 31, 2003. Dave Roberts started in center field and batted leadoff for the Dodgers in that 2003 game.
  • Mookie Betts, who was held out of the lineup a second straight day with a sore middle finger, played the final two innings on defense in right field, but did not bat.

Tuesday particulars

Home runs: A.J. Pollock (3); Jake Cronenworth (1)

WP — Dustin May (1-0): 6 IP, 3 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts

LP — Craig Stammen (1-1): 1 IP, 1 unearned run

Sv — Kenley Jansen (3): 1 IP, 1 strikeout

Up next

The Dodgers finish off their road trip on Wednesday night with Ross Stripling on the mound against Garrett Richards for the Padres (6:10 p.m. PT, SportsNet LA).