Neither team had a hit with runners in scoring position on Saturday at Dodger Stadium, unless you count the batter’s box. The Dodgers hit three home runs to the Mets’ two in a 4-3 win, the sixth for Los Angeles over New York in the last nine days.
Four of those wins over the Mets are by one run, including each of the last two days. After a 13-21 record in one-run games to start the season, the Dodgers have won their last six such games.
“For me, it’s the law of averages. It’s not like guys are trying any harder,” manager Dave Roberts said before Saturday’s game. “I do think the easy answer is that’s baseball. But I knew we were better than the record said in one-run games, and it’s kind of showing itself.”
Those six straight one-run wins are part of a nine-game winning streak for the Dodgers, matching their longest win streak of the season, also done June 25 to July 4.
All three Dodgers home runs were solo shots, including Trea Turner hitting his first homer as a Dodger to lead off the first inning. His 19th home run of the season was his first since July 19 with the Nationals.
“It was good to get it over with,” Turner said of his first home run with his new team. “It felt like it’s been forever since I hit one.”
Turner had three hits on the day, his fifth multi-hit effort in the last six games.
A long time coming
Saturday featured the two oldest players in the majors this season, and 41-year, 217-day-old Albert Pujols hit the first pitch he saw from 41-year, 163-day-old Rich Hill over the wall in center field in the first inning.
Albert Pujols going deep at Dodger Stadium on a Saturday afternoon draped in blue just feels right. pic.twitter.com/5J19hWfK2f— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) August 21, 2021
Playing time has been more intermittent of late for Pujols, who on Saturday started for the third time in the last 14 games. But the home run run was his 11th this season against left-handed pitching, against whom he’s hitting .308/.347/.615.
Hill is the first pitcher age 40 or older to face Pujols since he turned 40. The first-inning home run was the first hit by a Dodgers batter 40 or older against a pitcher 40 or older.
Max Scherzer only allowed one run but was limited to five innings, as the Mets made him work. The damage came in a 34-pitch fourth that saw Brandon Nimmo homer with two outs in the frame, cutting the Dodgers’ lead to 3-1.
A double by Jeff McNeil, a hit by pitch, and a walk loaded the bases and put Scherzer in trouble, but he got out of it by striking out J.D. Davis.
“Right there I thought he emptied the tank,” Roberts said. “Guys like Max make big pitches. That was the difference in the game.”
Scherzer struck out eight in five innings, including four with runners in scoring position, with the Mets 0-for-7 in those at-bats against him.
The Dodgers didn’t even have a runner in scoring position until the sixth, when they loaded the bases with nobody out against reliever Miguel Castro, pushing across a run when Chris Taylor worked an 0-2 count into a walk.
Taylor’s walk gave the Dodgers a 4-1 advantage, though in the top of the seventh a walk to McNeil followed by a two-run home run by Pete Alonso cut the margin to one. Those were the first two earned runs Blake Treinen has allowed since June 23, and his first home run allowed since June 5.
The only other Mets runner in scoring position came in the ninth, after Kevin Pillar was hit by a pitch from Kenley Jansen. Nimmo flew out to left for the first out of the frame, and Pillar tagged up from first. He was dead to rights at second base, but Trea Turner was unable to corral the bounced throw from AJ Pollock.
But Jansen struck out McNeil and Alonso to end it, sealing his second save in as many days.
Home runs: Trea Turner (19), Albert Pujols (15), Chris Taylor (18); Brandon Nimmo (14), Pete Alonso (28)
WP — Max Scherzer (11-4): 5 IP, 5 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts
LP — Rich HIll (6-5): 5 IP, 6 hits, 3 runs, 2 strikeouts
Sv — Kenley Jansen (27): 1 IP, 2 strikeouts
The Dodgers try to finish off a second consecutive weekend sweep of the Mets on Sunday afternoon (1:10 p.m., SportsNet LA), with David Price on the mound in the series finale. Marcus Stroman pitches for New York.