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Tony Gonsolin at his best, and longest, as Dodgers wait out Blake Snell to beat Padres

The major league ERA leader is 10-0

LA Dodgers defeat the San Diego Padres 5-1 Photo by David Crane/MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News via Getty Images

Tony Gonsolin had his best start of the season, pitching into the eighth inning for the first time in his career to lead the Dodgers over the Padres 5-1 on Friday night at Dodger Stadium.

Gonsolin allowed just four hits, working around two Jurickson Profar doubles to strand him. Trent Grisham hit a ball into the Loge section in right field to tie things in the fifth inning, just the seventh home run allowed by Gonsolin in 15 starts.

After the home run, Gonsolin retired his next eight batters until Grisham singled to open the eighth. Manny Machado pinch hit as the potential tying run for San Diego, but Gonsolin struck him out, then did the same to C.J. Abrams.

That gave Gonsolin eight strikeouts, but he wasn’t allowed to face Profar a fourth time, instead getting a well-deserved standing ovation on his way back to the Dodgers dugout.

Evan Phillips got Profar to ground out, preserving the lead, helping to lower Gonsolin’s ERA to a major-league-best 1.54. And now, with 81⅔ innings through 76 team games, Gonsolin will last on the leaderboard a little while longer.

Dodgers pitchers to start 10-0

Pitcher Year Start Final record
Pitcher Year Start Final record
Alex Wood 2017 11-0 16-3
Larry French 1942 10-0 15-4
Preacher Roe 1951 10-0 22-3
Don Newcombe 1955 10-0 20-5
Ed Roebuck 1962 10-0 10-2
Tony Gonsolin 2022 10-0 TBD

Gonsolin’s gem improved his record to 10-0, just the sixth Dodgers pitcher to start a season undefeated with that many wins. The best such start was by Alex Wood, who was 11-0 in 2017. Wood finished 16-3 that year and made his first All-Star team.

If Gonsolin doesn’t get the same midsummer classic news in nine days when All-Star rosters are announced, it’s time for the pitchforks.

Gonsolin needed only 92 pitches to get through his 7⅔ innings, which was fewer than his counterpart, who recorded eight fewer outs.

Blake Snell was his typical dominant self against the Dodgers, and in his usual condensed fashion. The Dodgers made Snell throw 107 pitches to get through five innings, and had their chances, but could only plate one run against him, a Max Muncy home run in the second inning.

Eight times, the Dodgers batted against Snell with a runner in scoring position, but they never put a ball in play in those situations. They worked three walks to extend rallies, but also struck out five times. Snell struck out 12, one shy of his career high but his most against the Dodgers, and continued a pattern.

Snell has never allowed more than two runs in any of his nine starts against the Dodgers, and has a lifetime 1.99 ERA against them, with 62 strikeouts in 40⅔ innings. He left a start against the Dodgers trailing only once. He’s been truly lights out against them, but has also been unable to last deep into games, recording an out past the fifth inning in only three of his nine starts against them.

This leaves plenty of time for the Dodgers to make hay against the pitchers who follow Snell, which they’ve done in winning six of his nine starts. This counts both the regular season and postseason, including one particularly famous game you might recall.

Craig Stammen followed Snell and struck out his first two batters in the sixth inning, but then Cody Bellinger untied the game with a solo home run of his own.

Keeping the faith

This has been a big series for the three Dodgers regulars who have struggled the most offensively this season. Entering the series, these were their numbers:

  • Justin Turner: .634 OPS, 80 wRC+
  • Muncy: 612 OPS, 84 wRC+
  • Bellinger: .669 OPS, 88 wRC+

Despite the relative lack of production, that trio started nearly every day. Turner through Wednesday started 68 out of 74 games, Bellinger started 66 of the 71 games for which he was healthy, and Muncy started 55 out of 61 games in which he was active.

Manager Dave Roberts earlier in the week was a guest on The Show podcast with Joel Sherman and Jon Heyman of the New York Post, talking about keeping the faith in players who have produced for him before. Using Turner as a specific example, Roberts explained one reason why he’s stuck with his guys.

“You also have to have a solution,” Roberts said on the podcast. “The way that our guys have been swinging the bat, as far as consistency, you have to have someone you feel who could supplant Justin and do a better job.”

The Dodgers’ lack of internal options has been especially clear with Mookie Betts out with a broken rib, and with Edwin Ríos sidelined until at least August with a hamstring tear. Keeping with the theme, those three have started each of the first two games against the Padres.

And it’s paid off handsomely.

Turner provided the offense with two home runs in the opener on Thursday, and home runs by Muncy and Bellinger gave their Dodgers their first two runs on Friday. Bellinger also delivered a sacrifice fly as part of an insurance-filled eighth as well.

Friday particulars

Home runs: Max Muncy (7), Cody Bellinger (11); Trent Grisham (7)

WP — Tony Gonsolin (10-0): 7⅔ IP, 4 hits, 1 run, 8 strikeouts

LP — Craig Stammen (1-1): 1⅔ IP, 3 hits, 3 runs, 3 strikeouts

Up next

Tyler Anderson starts for the Dodgers on Saturday afternoon (4:15 p.m., Fox, with Joe Davis on the call), facing Yu Darvish for the Padres.