For the second straight series, the Dodgers turned on the power in a blowout win to complete the sweep. On Wednesday, that came in the form of Max Muncy and AJ Pollock leading the offense, and Mitch White taking the bullpen out of a bullpen game in a 9-0 drubbing of the Pirates.
By the time White entered Wednesday’s game in the second inning, the Dodgers already lead 3-0. It was a perfect cushion for a bullpen game, though White provided all the relief.
The right-handed had his best major league game to date. Following opener Justin Bruihl — who got five outs, starting for the second time in three days — White allowed only two singles and two walks, and struck out six while finishing the game.
“I’ve just been working on being efficient, and doing my best with that, just attacking guys and not walking,” White said. “Get a little swing and miss with the curveball, then go from there.”
White was efficient, needing only 74 pitches to get through 7⅓ innings, the longest professional outing of White’s career. His longest minor league games were a trio of seven-inning games in 2017-18 between Class-A Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A Tulsa.
“He was fantastic. This is something he’s going to remember for a long time,” manager Dave Roberts said. “We needed a big performance out of him, and he gave us that and plenty more.”
Dodgers pitchers have allowed 23 total runs in the last 11 games, winning 10, including the last six in a row.
Those three runs in the first inning began with a single by AJ Pollock, batting first for the first time this season.
Since the All-Star break, Dodgers leadoff hitters have started the game off with a bang more often than not. They have 16 hits in 28 at-bats to open the first inning, with six doubles, three home runs, and two walks. That’s a cool .571/.600/1.107 batting line, with 13 runs scored.
Over those 30 games, Chris Taylor has the most times batting leadoff with 12, filling in when Mookie Betts (six starts batting first) was hurt. Trea Turner assumed the top spot once he came to the Dodgers, and it was his first day off with his new team that paved the way for Pollock to hit leadoff on Wednesday.
In addition to the single in the first inning, Pollock hit solo home run in the second, and singled again in the fourth inning.
After each of Pollock’s first two singles, Muncy homered, a two-run shot in the first and a three-run job in the fourth. Muncy has three multi-homer games this season, all since the All-Star break, including two in the last four days. After the second homer, the Dodger Stadium crowd even chanted “M-V-P” a few times for Muncy, an outcome that makes quite a lot of sense.
“It’s probably one of the cooler moments I’ve had in my career,” Muncy said. “I was kind of wild. I had to hold back a smile when I was in the batters box.”
“Whenever fans recognize you as a potential MVP, you’ve got to be doing something right,” Roberts said. “I’m very happy for him.”
The second Muncy home run helped chase Pirates starter JT Brubaker after four innings, continuing a brutal stretch for the right-hander. Brubaker was 4-4 with a 3.74 ERA in his first 10 starts this season. But starting with a loss to the Dodgers in Pittsburgh on June 8 — allowing three runs in 4⅔ innings — Brubaker is 0-9 with a 7.08 ERA in 12 starts.
Walking the plank
The Dodgers have won 16 straight games against the Pirates, dating back to 2018. That’s tied for the club’s longest win streak against a single opponent since moving to Los Angeles, matching a streak against the Padres in 1973-74.
At home the Dodgers have been even better against Pittsburgh. They swept the Pirates at Dodger Stadium in 2017, 2018, 2019, and again in 2021, for 12 straight home wins against them.
Home runs: Max Muncy 2 (28), AJ Pollock (15), Corey Seager (6)
WP — Mitch White (1-1): 7⅓ IP, 2 hits, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts
LP — JT Brubaker (4-13): 4 IP, 8 hits, 7 runs, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts
The Dodgers go for a seventh straight win on Thursday night (7:10 p.m.; SportsNet LA, MLB Network), with another bullpen game in the opener of a four-game series with the Mets. Taijuan Walker, who against the Dodgers took a no-hitter into the seventh inning last Saturday, starts for New York.
“It’s going to be all hands on deck,” Roberts said. “There’s going to be no bulk guy.”