In a game that was looking eerily familiar to Friday night’s loss, the Dodgers flipped the script, taking care of things before extra innings this time. Chris Taylor’s two-run double in the eighth gave the Dodgers a 5-3 win over the Angels on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium.
Just like the series, the Dodgers saw a 2-0 lead evaporate, but by the eighth inning the game was tied at 3-3, setting the stage for the winning rally. Corey Seager singled to open the frame and Will Smith followed one out later with one of his own. Taylor then drove a pitch from Junior Guerra into the gap in left center, scoring a pair.
CHRIS TAYLOR. THAT IS ALL. pic.twitter.com/oYINl0dkFr— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) August 8, 2021
That made a winner out of Brusdar Graterol, whose scoreless eighth inning was punctuated by a thrilling strikeout of all-world Shohei Ohtani to thwart a rally.
Kenley Jansen, pitching on his second night in a row, closed out the win with an easy ninth inning, part of four excellent innings from the bullpen. More on them shortly.
A new sensation
Trea Turner made his first start as a Dodger on Saturday, and showed off his array of skills right away.
“To be able to utilize his speed at the top, and create havoc on the bases, and stress, I feel good about that,” manager Dave Roberts said.
Havoc was wreaked in the first inning, when Turner walked, then flew around the bases to score easily on a double by Max Muncy, the new Dodgers acquisition staking his claim as the fastest player on the team.
Hey, how fast is Trea Turner?— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) August 8, 2021
30.6 ft/sec while scoring from first, in the first inning of his first game, is instantly the fastest any Dodger has run all season long.
In the fifth, Turner singled and stole second so incredibly easy it almost felt like he was running against the Dodgers. On offense, Los Angeles picks their spots to swipe a bag, stealing bases at an 82-percent clip, well above the 75-percent league-wide success rate. But before Saturday, the Dodgers stole only 36 bases on the season, tied for 24th in the majors.
Turner has 22 stolen bases all by himself, good for fourth in the majors. He brings another dimension to the team. Among other things.
“The speed started out early in my life and career. I never wanted to just be a speed guy, bunt and do that sort of thing,” Turner said. “I always wanted to be a dangerous hitter, and that means you’ve got to hit for power and you’ve got to be consistent at the plate.”
Turner’s also been one of the best shortstops in baseball the last few years, and on Saturday in his first game at second base since Game 5 of the 2016 NLDS, he adjusted rather quickly on the defensive end. This play robbed José Iglesias to end the seventh.
Trea Turner— Blake Harris (@BlakeHarrisTBLA) August 8, 2021
Second baseman pic.twitter.com/rWt3Fr6QSS
“He looks like he’s doing fine,” said Taylor, no stranger to switching positions himself. “I believe if you can play shortstop, you can play anywhere.”
A tale of two popups
After two doubles and a smash single off Julio Urías tied the game in the third inning, Jo Adell lofted a high fly ball just in front of the mound that should have been the final out of the inning. Max Muncy eventually claimed it, but the ball clanged off his glove, allowing Phil Gosselin to trot home with the go-ahead run.
The third inning saw the only runs scored against Urías all night. He labored to get through his five innings, throwing 95 pitches. None of the five innings were clean, as he allowed nine runners to reach base. Saturday marked just the third time in 23 starts this season Urías has walked three or more batters.
In the bottom of the fourth, after a fly ball double by Chris Taylor down the right field line that bounced — with Adell — over the wall in foul territory, the Dodgers had runners on second and third with one out for Cody Bellinger, with the pitcher Urías due up next. A prime RBI opportunity, only to be denied when Bellinger popped out into Gosselin in foul territory. Urías then grounded out to end the inning, keeping the Dodgers behind.
Bellinger was booed by a reasonable portion of the 50,000-plus on hand at Dodger Stadium for the popout, after which he was hitting .169/.267/.290 on the season. But in the seventh, he won them back by crushing a slider from Angels starter Jaime Barria into the visitors bullpen, tying the score.
Home run: Cody Bellinger (6)
WP — Brusdar Graterol (2-0): 1 IP, 2 hits, 2 strikeouts
LP — Junior Guerra (2-2): ⅓ IP, 3 hits, 2 runs, 1 strikeout
Sv — Kenley Jansen (23): 1 IP, 1 strikeout