By rule, the Dodgers and Giants played another close game, the sixth time in eight tries this season their game has been within two runs in the seventh inning or later. Baseball, by definition, is a team sport, but Monday night was all about the solos. Home runs accounted for all five runs in the series opener, with the Dodgers prevailing 3-2.
After allowing first-inning home runs in five straight games last week — one of the main drivers of the Dodgers’ four-game losing streak — the early power shoes were on the other foot on Monday. Mookie Betts and Max Muncy started the game with two home runs, giving the Dodgers a 2-0 lead just two batters into the bottom of the first.
They were the Dodgers’ first opening-frame home runs in nine games.
Both home runs were hit off starter Anthony DeSclafani, who also surrendered a fourth-inning shot to Will Smith. It’s been a tale of two seasons for DeSclafani, who has been quite good with a 2.91 ERA and 3.61 FIP overall. But the Dodgers in only three starts have accounted for almost half the damage against him:
- DeSclafani vs. Dodgers: 12⅓ innings, 15 runs, five home runs
- DeSclafani vs. everyone else: 80⅓ innings, 16 runs, six home runs
The Giants twice pulled to within a run thanks to a pair of home runs off Trevor Bauer, who is channeling 2017 Clayton Kershaw in home run damage against him.
The solo homers were the only two runs against Bauer in six innings, striking out eight. On the season Bauer has allowed a team-high 19 home runs, second only to the Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks (20 home runs) in the majors. But 14 of those homers have been solo shots, with only 24 total runs allowed on the 19 home runs. Bauer has only allowed 12 other runs this season.
Kershaw in 2017 allowed a then-career-high 23 home runs, but only 34 total runs on them. He allowed 15 runs on non-homers and led the National League with a 2.31 ERA.
Bauer’s 2.59 ERA currently ranks 13th in the NL. Two pitchers ahead of him — Kevin Gausman (1.49, second) and Walker Buehler (2.51, 12th) — start the series finale on Wednesday.
There were other scoring opportunities aside from the home runs. Not so much from the Dodgers, who only had two hits and two walks outside of the balls they hit over the wall. They were 0-for-1 with runners in scoring position.
It was the Giants who constantly threatened, with eight non-homer hits and two walks. But they were a whopping 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position, which allowed for the Dodgers’ three solo homers to hold up.
Home runs: Mookie Betts (10), Max Muncy (16), Will Smith (10); Lamont Wade Jr. (6), Brandon Crawford (17)
WP — Trevor Bauer (8-5): 6 IP, 8 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts
LP — Anthony DeSclafani (8-3): 5 IP, 5 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts
Sv — Kenley Jansen (19): 1 IP, 1 hit, 1 strikeout
The homestand finale on Tuesday night (7:10 p.m.) will be televised by both SportsNet LA and ESPN. Dave Flemming and Jessica Mendoza are on the national call.