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Will Smith and Tony Gonsolin pave the way to end Dodgers’ 3-game losing streak

Three home runs back Gonsolin in Chicago

Los Angeles Dodgers v Chicago White Sox Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Although it was hardly a plausible scenario at the beginning of the season, one can’t really argue that anyone but Tony Gonsolin is the Dodgers’ best option for stopper at the moment. He won again on Wednesday night, beating the White Sox 4-1 in Chicago.

The Dodgers came into tonight’s game having lost each of its last three affairs, two against the Mets and the opener in Chicago on Tuesday.

Gonsolin is not the ace of this team, and he most likely won’t be at the end of 2022, but as of right now, he is pitching like one, and the Dodgers are reaping the benefits of it. More than any labels, it’s simply worthy of great praise what Gonsolin has been able to do.

On the other side of the hill, Tony LaRussa sent out Johnny Cueto who in some ways has been exactly what the White Sox hoped Dallas Keuchel would be at the beginning of the season, that veteran presence in the rotation capable of eating up innings and keeping them in the ballgame at the very least.

Tonight, both pitchers did their job admirably.

Cueto finished six strong innings, allowing three runs on a couple of home runs in the first two innings of the game. Will Smith took him deep for a two-run bomb in the top of the first, sweeping away any lingering effects of the shutout loss in last night’s ballgame, and Cody Bellinger led off the second with a solo bomb.

After the Bellinger homer, Cueto retired 15 of the last 17 batters he faced, and in doing so kept the White Sox in the game. In fact, Cueto became the first White Sox pitcher since Chris Sale in 2016 to complete at least six frames in each of their first five starts of the season.

Without the efforts of Jake Burger, Tony Gonsolin would have allowed only one hit over his six innings in tonight’s game, but Burger led the charge in doing damage off of the Dodgers starter, with a single in the second, and a bullet of a home run to lead off the fifth.

The White Sox threatened to do more damage in the fifth inning, following Burger’s home run, but Gonsolin stranded two runners with the top of the order up, as he got Danny Mendick, Leury Garcia, and Luis Robert out with a groundout, strikeout, and flyout respectively. That was the only stressful inning Gonsolin had all night long.

The Dodgers starter left the game in line for the win with three hits, one walk, and one run over six frames and five strikeouts. Gonsolin lowered his season ERA to an astonishing 1.58 mark. Pitching like this, he’s basically punching a ticket for the first All-Star game appearance of his career, at home to make it even more special.

Yency Almonte was the first man out of the pen as he continues to climb the ladder of high-leverage situations in an overworked and somewhat depleted ‘pen in recent days. The former Rockies right-hander pitched a 1-2-3 frame with a couple of punchouts.

Brusdar Graterol came in for the eighth and needed only 10 pitches to complete a scoreless frame, he should be good to go in Thursday’s series finale if needed.

Trea Turner padded the Dodgers' lead with a solo bomb in the ninth inning, the third home run for the Dodgers in tonight’s game, accounting for all of their scoring.

Craig Kimbrel is on paternity leave until this weekend, and Daniel Hudson, who’s been undoubtedly the biggest deliverer for the Dodgers in the absence of Blake Treinen, locked down the ninth inning. The ‘pen retired the first eight hitters it faced until Yasmani Grandal singled with two outs in the ninth, but Hudson struck out Burger to end the game.

Wednesday particulars

Home runs: Will Smith (7), Cody Bellinger (7), Trea Turner (7); Jake Burger (6)

WP — Tony Gonsolin (7-0): 6 IP, 3 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts

LP — Johnny Cueto (0-3): 6 IP, 4 hits, 3 runs, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts

Sv — Daniel Hudson (5): 1 IP, 1 hit, 2 strikeouts

What’s up next?

A day game for the rubber match of this series on Thursday (11:10 a.m. PT; SportsNet LA, MLB Network), as Tyler Anderson takes on Dylan Cease.