The Dodgers took care of business on Sunday, as expected with the best pitcher starting against a middling team. But two plays stood out in the 8-2 win over the Angels at Dodger Stadium.
Trea Turner’s speed was on display in Saturday’s win, but on Sunday he made Dodger Stadium collectively gasp.
After a one-out walk, he scored from first on a single. Yes, you heard that correctly.
Sure, Turner was running on the pitch, and AJ Pollock’s grounder was deflected by second baseman David Fletcher into left field. But Turner just kept on running, using a gear that only a select few players have.
Turner scoring from first base on a single is one way to describe what happened. A boring way. Joe Davis more accurately described the action on SportsNet LA: “Trea Turner, a bolt of lightning!”
Almost as fast as the idiot who ran on the field in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Echoes of the past
Trea wasn’t the Turner who stole a base on Sunday. That was Justin Turner in the first inning. But shortly after a second-inning defensive gem at third base, Justin Turner left the game with left groin discomfort.
That brought up Albert Pujols to pinch hit in the bottom of the second, facing pitcher Reid Detmers, who was born eight months before Pujols’ major league debut. Pujols got the better of this matchup, crushing a ball more than halfway up the left field pavilion.
Seeing Pujols hit home runs isn’t surprising, especially this year against a left-hander. After all, he’s the active leader in homers and fourth on the all-time list. But it was the sound of this one that could have awakened a hibernating bear.
Whose Tío Albert is this? Ours. pic.twitter.com/m19FRG8daL— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) August 8, 2021
Of the 676 home runs Pujols has in his career, this was just the ninth on a 3-0 count.
It was Pujols’ third career pinch-hit home run, and his first since September 5, 2009, off the Pirates’ Matt Capps.
Deploying the ace
Nearing the end of a stretch of three off days in an eight-day span, the Dodgers had only 12 pitchers on the active roster all weekend against the Angels, two fewer than the most common allocation this season. Eight of those pitchers are relievers, and with Kenley Jansen, Phil Bickford, and Alex Vesia all pitching in each of the first two games of the series, availabilities in the bullpen were limited on Sunday.
Enter Dodgers’ ace Walker Buehler, whose 147⅔ innings pitched rank second in the majors, trailing only Zack Wheeler. That total includes six innings from Buehler on Sunday, allowing only a run on four hits, striking out eight.
It’s the 22nd time in 23 starts Buehler has pitched at least six innings this season, and he lowered his ERA to 2.13.
- AJ Pollock continued his offensive assault with a double, two RBI singles, and a stolen base.
- Cody Bellinger, starting against a left-hander for defense in right field with Mookie Betts out, homered against a right-hander for a second straight game, a two-run shot in the seventh off Mike Mayers.
- Justin Bruihl made his major league debut in the eighth inning, striking out Brandon Marsh on three pitches to begin his career. He walked Shohei Ohtani to load the bases but got Jack Mayfield to tap back to the box to end the threat. Bruihl got the final three outs in the ninth inning as well.
- Bruihl escaped the jam of Kevin Quackenbush, who pitched to the first four batters of the eighth, in his first time in the majors since 2018. Quackenbush and Bruihl are the 31st and 32nd pitchers used by the Dodgers this season, setting a franchise record.
Home runs: Albert Pujols (14), Cody Bellinger (7)
WP — Walker Buehler (12-2): 6 IP, 4 hits, 1 run, 4 walks, 8 strikeouts
LP — Reid Detmers (0-2): 5 IP, 7 hits, 5 runs, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts
Monday is a travel day for the Dodgers, who fly to Philadelphia to face the red-hot Phillies, winners of eight straight games. Max Scherzer makes his second start with his new team in Tuesday’s opener (4:05 p.m., SportsNet LA), with Aaron Nola starting for the home team.