In this case, you can judge a book by its covers. The Dodgers did their best work in the bulk of the game, from the third through eighth innings, but it was the first and ninth that killed them in a 6-4 loss to the A’s on Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium.
Ramón Laureano hit a two-run home run off his former teammate Blake Treinen in the ninth inning to break the tie, giving the A’s the win. It was the first home run allowed by Treinen all season.
Treinen has allowed nine runs on 12 hits in his last eight appearances, over 6⅓ innings.
It erased a steady comeback by the Dodgers, who tied things after trailing 3-0 in the first inning. Max Muncy started the climb with a two-run shot in the third inning, his second home run in as many days.
Oakland extended the lead to 4-2 in the seventh, but solo home runs by Cody Bellinger in the bottom of the frame then Edwin Rios in the eighth tied things up. The home run by Ríos, his third in his last seven games, was the first run allowed by A’s reliever Jake Diekman all season, in 19 innings.
Edwin Ríos is the first player to homer off Jake Diekman this season, and he crushed it.— Andrew Simon (@AndrewSimonMLB) September 24, 2020
Diekman had faced 157 straight LHB without allowing a HR, going back to Aug. 25, 2018. pic.twitter.com/fBXffxEx0u
Julio Urías had one of his best outings of the season, allowing a run on two hits in six innings in a bulk relief role, striking out five. He entered in the third inning and didn’t allow a hit until the seventh, when he allowed his only run.
It was the third time in five September outings that Urías lasted six innings.
Urías induced 17 swinging strikes on Wednesday, his most in a game since April 18, 2019.
“I thought this was one of the best outings that he’s had,” manager Dave Roberts said. “The entire pitch mix, I just really liked it. There was a lot of good to take away tonight from Julio.”
Thrown for a curve
Joe Kelly got the start Wednesday as the opener, and allowed his first runs of the season. Three of them, in fact, in the first inning. But what’s interesting is Kelly’s pitch mix. He threw 16 curveballs in his 22 pitches in this one, and allowed doubles to both Tommy La Stella and Robbie Grossman to lead off the game on that pitch.
Since returning from the injured list and serving his suspension, Kelly has thrown the curve 33 times in 44 pitches, with only eight fastballs. Four of those fastballs came tonight.
On the season, Kelly has thrown the curve 61 percent of the time, after a career-high of 36.5 percent of the time last year. He’s thrown his four-seamer 20.8 percent of the time in 2020, his lowest fastball usage since 2014 (15.8 percent), when he was a starting pitcher.
“A little bit of changing the pitch mix or adding some fastballs to keep guys honest makes some sense,” Roberts said. “But when he’s right, that curve is as good as anyone’s in baseball.”
Home runs: Max Muncy (12), Cody Bellinger (12), Edwin Ríos (6); Ramón Laureano (6)
WP — Jake Diekman (1-0): 1 IP, 1 hit, 1 run, 2 strikeouts
LP — Blake Treinen (3-3): 1 IP, 2 hits, 2 runs, 1 strikeout
Sv — Liam Hendriks (14): 1 IP, 1 strikeout
Walker Buehler is back on Thursday, making his first start in a major league game in 16 days (6:40 p.m., SportsNet LA), with Mike Fiers starting for Oakland.
As for Buehler, he pitched six simulated innings last weekend at the alternate training site at USC, and he won’t be on any restrictions, other than being mindful if the blister on his right index finger causes problems.
“Our hope for him is to take a regular start, whatever that means,” Roberts said. “Six [innings] and 90 [pitches] would be the goal, something like that, to get him ready for the postseason. But we’ll go inning by inning, and see how Walker’s feeling.”