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Dodgers pitching stays stingy, pushes winning streak to 6

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Walker Buehler goes 7 to beat Giants

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Dodgers pitching has been the driving force of their latest hot streak, and Walker Buehler continued the trend on Saturday in leading Los Angeles to a sixth straight win, this one 6-3 over the Giants at Oracle Park in San Francisco.

Buehler scattered three hits and a walk over his first six innings, then the Giants managed three more hits against him in the seventh for their first run. But facing the tying run at the plate with one out in the inning, Buehler responded with strikeouts of Mauricio Dubón and Darin Ruf to extinguish the threat.

Dodgers starters have 28 quality starts this season, five more than any other team. They’ve lasted seven innings 14 times, most in the majors.

Buehler has lasted at least six innings in all nine of his starts, tied with teammate Trevor Bauer and a handful of others for the most such games in the majors this season.

“It’s been kind of a theme of my career, and something I’ve always wanted to do better is go deeper into games,” said Buehler, who leads the Dodgers averaging 6.48 innings per start, ranking seventh in the majors.

The Dodgers have won 10 of their last 11 games, allowing only 24 runs in that span.

That is a winning formula.

Scott Kazmir, pitching in his first major league game in 56 months, limited the Dodgers to only two hits in his four innings. Both hits were by Max Muncy, who has been locked in for basically all of May.

Muncy’s first hit was a 423-foot shot down the right field line and into McCovey Cove, his third splash hit in this ballpark. He added two singles later, and Muncy this month is hitting .383/.493/.733 with six home runs.

“I think it’s just one of those cool things in baseball,” Muncy said. “When it comes to seeing where a ball goes, there’s not many ballparks out there where there’s a cool thing to hit at, and that’s one of them. Putting it in the water is pretty cool.”

With Kazmir out of the game, lefty Jarlin Garcia had the fifth inning, and with a 2-1 count on catcher Austin Barnes, Eric Karros on the Fox broadcast said, “Austin Barnes, looking for his first home run of the year,” just seconds before he did this:

Barnes has had very little power this season — even with the home run, he’s slugging .318 — but he does have an extra-base hit in three of his last four starts, and has reached base in 12 of his last 13 starts.

It was the first home run for Barnes since Game 3 of the World Series, and he also repeated his other feat that night — aside from catching a Buehler win — by bunting home a run later in the game.

“Austin right now, I think his approach, his mechanics at the plate is in as good a spot as I’ve seen since 2017,” manager Dave Roberts said. “He’s just been an all-around good ballplayer.”

Notes

  • DJ Peters started his season 0 for 13 with 10 strikeouts in at-bats that ended on a fastball, but snapped that skid with a hustle double on a fastball in the fifth inning, then singled home a run in the seventh for his first multi-hit game int he majors.
  • Albert Pujols singled home a run in the eighth inning, the fourth game in five starts that he’s driven in at least one run.
  • Roberts has won Kazmir’s last four major league starts.

Saturday particulars

Home runs: Max Muncy (9), Austin Barnes (1); Buster Posey (9)

WP — Walker Buehler (3-0): 7 IP, 6 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts

LP — Scott Kazmir (0-1): 4 IP, 2 hits, 1 run, 2 strikeouts

Sv — Kenley Jansen (11): 1 IP, 1 strikeout

Up next

Julio Urías starts Sunday afternoon’s series finale (1:05 p.m., SportsNet LA), with right-hander Anthony Desclafani starting on the mound for San Francisco.