For the second time in as many starts, Walker Buehler was stingy against the Giants. On Wednesday night in San Francisco, the Dodgers offense provided much more support in a 8-0 win that pulled Los Angeles to within two games of San Francisco in the National League West.
Buehler, pitching on his birthday for a third straight year, allowed only the occasional batter to reach base on Wednesday, with three singles and two walks. Two of those were erased on ground ball double plays.
Only once did two Giants reach base against Buehler in the same inning, and that was only because of a wild pitch on a strikeout of Alex Dickerson in the sixth, one of eight strikeouts Buehler had on the night.
“He’s nasty. He’s just dialed in,” outfielder AJ Pollock said of Buehler. “He doesn’t look like a fun at-bat up there.”
Buehler has allowed just 13 total runs in his last 10 starts, and he’s allowed zero or one run nine times this season. His ERA is 2.19, ranking second in the National League behind only Brandon Woodruff of the Brewers. Buehler has a 0.00 ERA as a 27-year-old.
“We all know how good he is in October, and I think a challenge for him — the next level — was to put it together in the regular season,” manager Dave Roberts said. “To throw 100 pitches and go deep into games, the consistency, what he does for our ball club, he’s been a big bonus, considering all we’ve had to go through this year.”
Buehler’s mound counterpart didn’t fare as well on Wednesday.
It really is bizarre how well the Dodgers have done this season against right-hander Anthony DeSclafani, who has owned just about everyone else, to the tune of a 1.78 ERA in 16 starts. He’s allowed 21 total runs in those starts, but the Dodgers have scored 22 runs off DeSclafani in 21 innings.
Four of those runs came Wednesday, all in a punishing fourth inning that the right-hander couldn’t finish. DeScalafani faced eight batters in the fateful frame, walking two. He threw a whopping 40 pitches in the inning before getting pulled with two outs. The Dodgers swung at half of them, and didn’t miss a single one. Fourteen of those were foul balls, agonizingly extending plate appearances, but they also had four hits in the inning, the key blow a two-run triple by Will Smith appropriately hit to Triples Alley in right center.
“These guys do a great job of preventing runs,” Roberts said. “It seems DeSclafani dominates everyone else in the league, but we seem to put up some runs against him. I don’t know.”
Reliever John Brebbia found himself in the crosshairs in the seventh, an inning that started with Pollock getting hit by a pitch after singles in his first three at-bats. Two more hits followed, including a two-run double by Max Muncy, giving him 10 extra-base hits and 12 RBI in 15 games against the Giants this season.
Brebbia was still in the game in the eighth inning, when Cody Bellinger homered to right field, his second home run in a hellacious July in which he has nine hits in 79 at-bats. Four of those hits have come in his last three starts, including three extra-base hits, after just one extra-base hit in his previous 20 games.
Home run: Cody Bellinger (5)
WP — Walker Buehler (11-1): 7 IP, 3 hits, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts
LP — Anthony DeSclafani (10-5): 2⅔ IP, 6 hits, 4 runs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts
Day baseball for Thursday’s finale (12:45 p.m.; SportsNet LA, MLB Network), with a battle of 35-year-old pitchers. David Price starts for the Dodgers, facing Johnny Cueto for the Giants.