Corey Seager’s RBI double in the eighth inning completed a methodical Dodgers comeback, beating the Braves 3-2 on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium.
Coupled with the Giants’ home loss to Milwaukee, the Dodgers now trail in the National League West by only a half-game, the closest they’ve been in the division since July 6.
Mookie Betts walked to open the eighth inning, and one out later scored with ease on Seager’s double, showing no ill effects of the hip injury that has sidelined him on the injured list twice in the last month and a half.
Go-ahead RBI double from Corey? Betts. pic.twitter.com/SvQvEs6zjc— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) September 1, 2021
“Ten days ago, having this conversation didn’t seem like it was going to happen,” manager Dave Roberts said of Betts’ hip. “I’m really happy he’s feeling well.”
Down 2-0 to the Braves early, the Dodgers scored single runs in the fourth, seventh, and eighth to finish off August at 21-6 (.778), the fourth-best month for the franchise since moving to Los Angeles in 1958.
The first of those runs came on a home run by Mookie Betts, who went deep for a second straight night. Since the All-Star break, Betts has six home runs and 10 extra-base hits in 14 games, with an .833 slugging percentage.
That was the only run off Charlie Morton, who stymied the Dodgers through six innings, allowing only three hits while striking out eight.
Betts also helped on defense, in the second inning by reaching over the short wall in right field to rob Travis d’Arnaud of a home run.
“Just to watch him play free again,” Seager said of Betts. “He runs into walls and doesn’t worry about it, scores from first, and hits a homer. He’s out there and just having fun playing again.”
Walker Buehler was solid yet again, allowing only two runs in seven innings, a winnable game on most nights. He allowed only four hits, including a tomahawk home run by old friend Joc Pederson in the fourth inning, Pederson’s 74th career home run at Dodger Stadium.
“I know I’m going to get a text from him or whatever,” Buehler said. “People aren’t supposed to hit that pitch that way.”
Buehler was efficient, striking out five and needing only 92 pitches to get through seven innings. But with the Dodgers trailing and two runners on base in the seventh, it was a no-brainer to pinch-hit for him.
With runners on the corners and one out, pinch-hitter Chris Taylor lofted a fly ball deep enough to right center to score AJ Pollock with the tying run.
The two runs allowed match Buehler’s high over his last 10 starts, during which he allowed 11 total runs. Buehler finished his August with a 1.56 ERA in six starts.
Blake Treinen followed Buehler and earned the win by striking out all three batters faced in the eighth inning. Kenley Jansen finished things off in the ninth for his 30th save of the season, the seventh time he’s reached that milestone.
Both Jansen and Treinen pitched three times in the last four days, and Roberts said both would be unavailable on Wednesday.
The Dodgers finished August with a 2.25 ERA in 27 games, tied for the team’s 15th-best ERA in any month since moving to Los Angeles.
Sigh of relief
Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies fouled a ball off his left knee in the fifth inning and had to be carried off the field. The team announced during the game that X-rays were negative.
Home runs: Mookie Betts (19); Joc Pederson (16)
WP — Blake Treinen (5-5): 1 IP, 3 strikeouts
LP — Tyler Matzek (0-4): 1⅓ IP, 1 hit, 1 run, 2 walks, 1 strikeout
Sv — Kenley Jansen (30): 1 IP, 2 strikeouts
The Dodgers and Braves finish things off on Wednesday night (7:10 p.m., SportsNet LA), with Max Scherzer on the mound for Los Angeles, against left-hander Max Fried.