The Dodgers were in an unfamiliar position of late, trailing early on Sunday. They dug a hole they could not get out of in a 7-2 loss to the Mets on Sunday afternoon at Dodger Stadium, snapping the Dodgers’ win streak at nine games.
In the Dodgers’ six wins over the Mets in the previous nine days, New York had only three singles in 47 at-bats with runners in scoring position. But they had three run-scoring hits in the first inning alone against David Price. The first was a double by the freshly-activated Javier Báez to score Brandon Nimmo from first. The singles that followed were of the runners-in-scoring-position variety.
“Leading the game off with a walk is never good,” said Price. “That’s how you give up runs.”
Sunday’s 3-0 deficit marked the first time the Dodgers trailed in 48 innings, dating back to Monday night against Pittsburgh.
The Dodgers outscored their opponents 10-0 in the first inning during their nine-game win streak, scoring in the opening frame in five games.
Price needed 33 pitches to get through the first, but retired 10 of his final 11 batters faced, throwing 42 pitches over the next three scoreless frames. He was pinch-hit for in the bottom of the fourth during a Dodgers rally.
His outing only underscores how phenomenal Dodgers pitching has been in August, including Price. His start on Sunday is the only appearance by an LA pitcher this month allowing more than two earned runs.
The nine spot
Cody Bellinger’s two-run single in the fourth inning pulled the Dodgers to within a run, and put runners on the corners with two outs. Price was removed in favor of pinch-hitter Billy McKinney, but on an 0-2 pitch Bellinger was caught trying to steal second.
Manager Dave Roberts said he wanted a straight steal of second base on the play, but Bellinger instead tried to stop, trying to draw a throw so AJ Pollock could try to score from third base.
“Miscommunication on my part,” Roberts said.
That ended the inning without clearing the pitcher’s spot, which meant reliever Brusdar Graterol batted for himself in the fifth. On the mound in his second inning of work, Graterol hit J.D. Davis and allowed a double to Jeff McNeil with no outs. But he recovered to get the next two batters, including a nifty play by shortstop Corey Seager for the second out.
The Dodgers intentionally walked catcher Pat Mazeika to load the bases for the pitcher’s spot, and Mets manager Luis Rojas opted to let Marcus Stroman bat, sitting on 81 pitches through five innings. Stroman tapped back to the box to end the inning, to the Dodgers’ benefit, but then LA didn’t make the Mets pay in the bottom of the inning, going down in order against Stroman on 13 pitches.
It’s been a rough couple of weekends for J.D. Davis, who was 4-for-21 with 11 strikeouts in the first six games against the Dodgers, including three different escape-hatch outs with the bases loaded.
On Sunday he took a Chris Taylor smash off his throwing hand at third base, and was hit by a 100-mph pitch from Graterol in the sixth. But Davis also had an RBI single in the first inning, and widened New York’s advantage with a two-run home run to left field in the seventh.
Counter goes up
Neftalí Féliz pitched a perfect eighth inning, including a strikeout. Shane Greene pitched an imperfect ninth, allowing a single, hitting two batters, walking in a run while recording only one out. Greene allowed two runs.
They are the 36th and 37th pitchers used by the Dodgers this season, extending a franchise record.
The Dodgers have used 21 different pitchers in relief in August, two more than any other month in franchise history. The previous high came in September 2016, back when active rosters could expand to up to 40 players.
Home run: J.D. Davis (5)
WP — Marcus Stroman (9-12): 6 IP, 4 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts
LP — David Price (4-2): 4 IP, 3 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts
For the first time in two weeks, the Dodgers have an off day, on Monday. They open a series against the Padres on Tuesday night (7:10 p.m.; SportsNet LA, ESPN) at Petco Park. Julio Urías is expected to be activated off the injured list to start the opener for Los Angeles.