It was closer than you’d like, but a win is a win as the Dodgers picked up the close 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Earlier today, I wrote about Max Muncy staying hot after an incredible series in New York. Well, he must have done some pregame reading. With one out in the eighth inning, Muncy connected and launched the go-ahead home run deep into the right field pavilion, giving the Dodgers a 2-1 lead.
Max effort for the lead! pic.twitter.com/bkJzpvrN6o— MLB (@MLB) August 17, 2021
For the Dodgers, they only scored two runs on the night, both of which came late. Luckily for them, that was all they needed on Monday night.
It was an eventful seventh inning, that somehow only resulted in two runs combined. We’ll start with the Pirates, who jumped on the board first. With runners on first and second, an error from Cody Bellinger at first base brought in Pittsburgh’s first run. There could have been interference called, but the umps ruled to play on.
This game could have gotten out of reach quickly, but the Dodgers’ bullpen locked things down. With runners on second and third with no outs, Brusdar Graterol retired two, with Blake Treinen getting the third out on one pitch. The Pirates were only able to tack on one run.
The Dodgers got that run back pretty quickly in dramatic fashion. Billy McKinney picked a perfect time to hit his first homer with the Dodgers, as his solo shot tied the game at one.
“I thought it was [gone], but I try not to push the limit,” he said. “I try not to assume anything until it happens.
First Dodger homer for Billy McKinney! pic.twitter.com/seVvZxzzpN— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) August 17, 2021
It wasn’t McKinney’s only highlight for the night. Earlier in the game he had a huge game-changing moment in right field.
With a runner on first, he fielded a hit in right field and gunned a throw to third base to get the runner. He had a lot of mail on the throw, as it was nearly sent into the bleachers. A leaping grab and great tag from Justin Turner got the crucial out at third base.
“He’s been great,” manager Dave Roberts said of McKinney. “He’s filled a void and played a big role. Like I mentioned, he takes good at bats and his job isn’t to carry us offensively. Couldn’t be happier for him.
“That assist he got in right field, it’s a different ballgame. To get that assist, that changed the game.”
McKinney said having a game like this at Dodger Stadium was incredible, giving credit to the atmosphere.
“Just the roar of the crowd,” he said. “Gives me chills thinking about it. It’s so cool. The fans are so driven. Honored and blessed to be on this side of the dugout.”
Andre Jackson was called up from Oklahoma City to make his major-league debut. He did everything the Dodgers could have asked for, and then some.
The right-hander gave the Dodgers four scoreless innings out of the bullpen. Justin Bruihl was the opener for LA, with Jackson coming in to pitch in the second inning. He showed flashes of what made him one of LA’s top pitching prospects, striking out five in his four innings.
“It was everything I thought it was going to be, and more,” he said. “I didn’t have the nerves I thought I’d have.”
He struggled a bit with command, as he issued four walks. Of his 71 pitches, only 39 were for strikes. Still, he settled down and allowed only one hit over his final three innings.
Early on, he had himself in a jam with multiple runners on base. He didn’t waver, as he settled down and got himself out of the inning without any damage.
“I had to dog up and make some pitches,” he said. “That’s when it hit me, ‘This is real’. I’m glad I escaped with some clean innings. It helped me boost some confidence.”
It was certainly an encouraging outing from Jackson, a pitcher the Dodgers might have to turn to for the remainder of the season.
With a one-run lead, the Dodgers turned to Kenley Jansen in the ninth inning. Jansen has been great over the last week and continued his stretch of looking good. He threw 11 pitches, with every pitch being a strike. Old friend Yoshi Tsutsugo hit a double and moved over to third, representing the tying run with two outs. Jansen got the final out, securing the save for the Dodgers.
WP: Blake Treinen (3-5) 1.1 IP, 0 ER, 2 SO
LP: Chasen Shreve (1-1) 1 IP, 1 ER
SV: Kenley Jansen (24) 1 IP, 0 ER, 1 H
HR: Max Muncy (26) Billy McKinney (9)