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Dodgers offense backs Clayton Kershaw in powerful, yet painful rout of Rangers

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LA hits 5 HR; Muncy, Bellinger leave early with injuries

MLB: JUN 11 Rangers at Dodgers Photo by John McCoy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Friday night’s game at Chavez Ravine was essentially locked into the win column by the first inning, but the Dodgers still suffered some losses in their 12-1 blowout of the Rangers.

Max Muncy homered in the first inning, then only a few minutes later his night was over because of right side tightness, felt on a swing before his home run in the first inning. Muncy was replaced at first base by Albert Pujols.

“I’m really hesitant to say an oblique, but that’s where it was at,” manager Dave Roberts said.

Muncy’s was one of three Dodgers home runs in the first inning, building a 6-0 lead over Mike Foltynewicz. They scored plenty more, including home runs by Pujols and Will Smith in the fourth against reliever Hyeon-Jong Yang.

A single by Cody Bellinger in the fifth — his third time reaching base in four trips — gave the Dodgers an 11th run, but after limping to first base Bellinger was removed from the game. On his way back to the dugout, Bellinger could be heard on the SportsNet LA broadcast saying “cramp,” and the Dodgers later announced Bellinger had left hamstring tightness.

Bellinger felt tightness while getting out of the way of a wild pitch from Brett de Geus.

Before the game, manager Dave Roberts said he planned to rest Bellinger on Saturday, in the midst of nine days in a row for the Dodgers. As of now, both Muncy and Bellinger are day to day.

Neither one was sent for tests or scans. The Dodgers will wait to see how both feel on Saturday.

“Right now I’m going to kind of hold on to hope that it’ll be short-term, if any lost time for both guys,” Roberts said.

Mookie Betts also hit by a pitch for the eighth time this season, tying his career high. The Dodgers still have 99 games left on the schedule.

While the offense grabbed the headlines on Friday, Clayton Kershaw had a good bounce-back start after allowing five runs in each of his last two games. He held Texas scoreless until surrendering an unearned run in the sixth, and struck out nine on the night.

Kershaw induced 21 swinging strikes on Friday, his third-highest total in a start this season. His 29-percent strikeout rate is his highest since 2017.

Notes

  • Five home runs are a season high for the Dodgers. The previous best was four homers, hit at home against Colorado on April 13.
  • Kershaw struck out four batters in the fourth inning, with Adolis García reaching first base on a wild pitch. Four strikeouts match the major league record for an inning. It’s been done eight times by a Dodgers pitcher, with Sergio Santos the last before Kershaw, on May 16, 2015.
  • Kershaw had two hits and drove in a run at the plate.
  • After not pitching since last Friday, Jimmy Nelson was deemed a high priority to pitch in the series opener. He followed Kershaw with a scoreless seventh inning, throwing 19 pitches in a scoreless frame, walking one and striking out two. “Rest is good,” Roberts said before the game, “But also you’ve still got to pitch to stay sharp.”
  • Mitch White, who also hadn’t pitched since last Friday, pitched the final two innings.
  • Old friend Charlie Culberson, who started at third base, pitched the eighth inning for the Rangers, allowing a hit in a scoreless frame. He’s the third position player to pitch against the Dodgers this year — joining Jake Cronenworth on April 16, and Alex Blandino on April 28 — with those three combining for two scoreless innings.

Friday particulars

Home runs: Max Muncy (14), Justin Turner (12), Gavin Lux (6), Albert Pujols (10), Will Smith (6)

WP — Clayton Kershaw (8-5): 6 IP, 3 hits, 1 unearned run, 9 strikeouts

LP — Mike Foltynewicz (1-7): 2⅔ IP, 8 hits, 8 runs (7 earned), 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Up next

Trevor Bauer starts the middle game of the series on Saturday night (7:10 p.m.; SportsNet LA, MLB Network), with left-hander Kolby Allard on the mound for Texas.