The Dodgers managed only three hits in the nightcap of Saturday’s doubleheader, but they made them count. Mookie Betts hit a three-run double and added a two-run home run to lead Los Angeles over the Cubs 6-2 and a doubleheader sweep at Wrigley Field in Chicago.
Despite the three hits, the Dodgers did manage nine walks, helping to stretch out Chicago’s bullpen game to seven pitchers and 168 pitches. The nine walks match a season high for LA this season, also April 12 in Minnesota.
Four of those walks scored in the second inning, the first run coming home on a four-pitch walk to Hanser Alberto, whose 2.3-percent career walk rate ranks 415th among the 415 players with at least 1,000 plate appearances since 2015.
After the bases-loaded walk tied the game, Betts untied it.
Clear the bases Mookie, don’t be Chi. pic.twitter.com/vulgUHBCcU— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) May 8, 2022
Betts cleared the bases against reliever Keegan Thompson, but the first three runs of the inning were charged to Daniel Norris, the opener of this bullpen game who recorded four outs. All three runs against him reached base via walk. Technically, Norris is just the seventh starting pitcher to lose to the Dodgers despite allowing zero hits, and the first since Jered Weaver on June 28, 2008.
Through two outs in the ninth, the Dodgers only had one hit as a team, coming eerily close to just the fifth game in MLB history in which a team scored at least four runs despite zero or one hit. The most is six runs, by the White Sox against the Washington Senators in 1909.
Betts ruined the footnote with a home run to left, cashing in yet another walk and continuing his hot run. Betts during his eight-game hit streak is 12-for-31 (.387/.412/.677) with three home runs, eight runs batted in, and eight runs scored.
The Dodgers had to settle for six runs on three hits instead, which was more than enough thanks to continued stinginess from a pitching staff that has held opponents to three or fewer runs 21 times in 25 games.
It was a Steve Winwood type of night for Dodgers starter Tyler Anderson, who had a lot of traffic on the bases behind him early, but was able to roll with it, baby.
Much of the action was in right field, including a drive by Willson Contreras that clanged off Betts’ glove after a long route, scored a triple. Contreras, a catcher by trade who was the designated hitter in the nightcap, scored on a ground ball, beating out a throw from third baseman Max Muncy.
After stranding a two-out double in the second, Anderson allowed another triple in the third, this one by Seiya Suzuki that found its way past Betts into the right field corner. A walk gave Chicago runners on the corners with one out, but Anderson induced a popout and a strikeout to escape the jam.
The Cubs were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position against Anderson, who notched three of his seven strikeouts in those situations.
Nobody was on base in the fifth inning for Contreras, who proved he was in scoring position in the batters box by launching a ball 420 feet and nearly onto Waveland Avenue.
That was just the second run against Anderson, who has allowed either one or two runs in all five games, recording between twelve and fifteen outs. His seven strikeouts Saturday are a season high. The left-hander, who began the season as the Dodgers sixth starter, has a 2.78 ERA.
Contreras had the only hit against Brusdar Graterol, who stranded him thanks to two strikeouts, finishing off a season-high two innings.
Daniel Hudson, Graterol, and Craig Kimbrel finished off the win with four scoreless frames.
Saturday Game 2 particulars
Home runs: Mookie Betts (5); Willson Contreras (3)
WP — Tyler Anderson (3-0): 5 IP, 4 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts
LP — Daniel Norris (0-2): 1⅓ IP, 0 hits, 3 runs, 3 walks, 1 strikeout
Both teams can sleep in a little tomorrow, with the series finale on Sunday Night Baseball (4:08 p.m. PT, ESPN). Walker Buehler takes the mound with an active scoreless streak of 14 innings, with Marcus Stroman pitching for the Cubs.