Gavin Lux wasn’t even expected to start this weekend, but he was back in the lineup and continued to seize his opportunity, helping the Dodgers to a 5-1 win over the Reds on Saturday afternoon in Cincinnati.
Lux was scratched from Friday’s lineup after getting hit by a pitch on the right forearm from a pitching machine. Manager Dave Roberts said Friday night that Lux would likely be only available off the bench the rest of the weekend. But there he was, playing left field and hitting seventh on Saturday.
“Quick healer,” Roberts said.
It took some time for the Dodgers offense to get in gear against Sonny Gray, who retired his first 11 batters faced. The game was scoreless into the fifth, when Justin Turner led off with a double. Chris Taylor reached on an infield single, and moved into scoring position on a bad throw from third baseman Mike Moustakas.
Lux followed with a liner down the right field line to score both runners, and his speed took him to third base for a triple. He scored on a tapper in front of the plate by Austin Barnes.
After rehabbing his hamstring injury, Lux was the odd man out for a Dodgers lineup that was back at full strength in late August. Optioned to the minors in a roster crunch, Lux added outfield to his bag of tricks, which proved useful when he was recalled last week after injuries to AJ Pollock and Billy McKinney.
Since returning, Lux has been written into the lineup in left field in all eight games, only missing Friday night’s game with the forearm injury. Lux has reached base in all but one of those games, going 8-for-20 (.400) with four walks, five runs scored, and five RBI.
As you might imagine, that was more than enough offense for Max Scherzer, who continued his romp through the National League while wearing a Dodgers uniform.
Longest Dodgers 0-ER streaks
Scherzer was battling in a relative sense. He walked Joey Votto twice, matching his walk total in his previous five starts combined. But despite the relative struggles, Scherzer still got through seven scoreless frames, striking out seven.
After the second walk to Votto, Scherzer retired his final 12 batters faced.
In his last five starts, Scherzer has a 0.00 ERA, with only one unearned run charged to his ledger in 36⅔ innings. His last earned run came on August 21, lowering his MLB-best ERA to 2.08.
“You just see the dominance,” Roberts said. “To execute multiple pitches to multiple quadrants, it’s incredible. We’re lucky to see it firsthand.”
Only three Dodgers pitchers have had longer streaks of starts with no earned runs allowed than Scherzer — Orel Hershiser (1988), Don Drysdale (1968), and Zack Greinke (2015), each with six starts in a row.
“For me, this is as good as I can remember him,” said Trea Turner, Scherzer’s teammate for parts of six seasons in Washington. “I feel like the last few starts he’s been so efficient, and he’s still striking people out.”
Since joining the Dodgers, Scherzer has allowed six runs (five earned) in 58 innings, with 79 strikeouts and seven walks. Los Angeles has won all nine starts.
The game was delayed about 11 minutes before the bottom of the fourth inning, when home plate umpire Brian O’Nora had to leave the game. O’Nora, who briefly left the field in a previous inning break, was said to be feeling lightheaded, per Tim Neverett on the SportsNet LA broadcast.
Second base umpire Fieldin Culbreth, the crew chief, moved behind the plate.
Home runs: none
WP — Max Scherzer (15-4): 7 IP, 2 hits, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts
LP — Sonny Gray (7-8): 6 IP, 5 hits, 4 runs, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts
Sv — Kenley Jansen (34): ⅓ IP, 1 strikeout
Clayton Kershaw starts the series finale on Sunday morning (10:10 a.m.; SportsNet LA, TBS), with Tony Gonsolin expected to pitch in relief at some point in the game. Left-hander Wade Miley starts for the Reds.