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Andre Jackson makes strong first impression in Dodgers debut

Four scoreless innings in his first major league start

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Pittsburgh Pirates v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Andre Jackson made a solid major league debut in front of around 50 family members and friends Monday night. The 25-year-old wriggled off the hook of more than one situation when the game could’ve got away from him, completing four scoreless innings on 71 pitches.

“It was everything I thought it was going to be and more,” Jackson said. “It was weird, I didn’t have the nerves I thought I was going to have, so I’m very grateful for that. But that last pitch I threw, I really felt like the energy of the crowd, it really was awesome. I don’t have the words.”

After the Pirates failed to score in the first on opener Justin Bruihl, Jackson took the mound in the second.

The right-hander allowed two runners on a walk and a hit with only one out in the second, putting himself in a little hot water early. Facing the eight hitter in the Pirates lineup, Jackson threw a beautiful 2-2 changeup at 84-mph to get an important second out.

“The changeup for me is just my bailout pitch,” Jackson said. “Whenever I need to throw a strike or make a big pitch, it’s kind of what I go to.”

Despite balking the runners up 90 feet, Jackson would get Steven Brault to groundout, ending the threat.

The same pattern emerged in the third inning with a one-out walk, followed by a single. But Billy McKinney fired a seed to third base to hose Ke’Bryan Hayes trying to go first to third. From that point, Jackson worked around a pair of walks in the fourth and would end up retiring seven of the final nine hitters he faced.

Four walks in four innings of work isn’t optimal but Jackson was able to push through it, striking out five to keep Pittsburgh off the scoreboard.

With so many innings being asked of the many arms the Dodgers have used lately, manager Dave Roberts was more than happy to hand the ball to Jackson for four against the Pirates.

“I thought he was fantastic,” Roberts said. “I thought he kept his composure really well. So proud of him in earning this opportunity. I know he had a lot of family and friends here. They’ve been on this journey with him. Really good to have them in attendance, him to pitch well, us to win. It was just a great night for all.”

The 2017 12th-round pick generated a little buzz in spring training after a few games with the big club and continued impressing with Double-A Tulsa in the regular season. It was just back on July 31 that the right-hander earned a promotion to Triple-A.

What’s better than hitting the go-ahead homer in a win? Baby snuggles, that’s what.