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Home runs back Julio Urías in Dodgers win over Brewers in opener

LA’s 10th shutout win

Los Angeles Dodgers v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images

On the start of the work week, Julio Urías worked around traffic throughout his start. But even when not at his best, the Dodgers left-hander persevered to deliver another typically strong albeit abbreviated performance in a 4-0 win over the Brewers on Monday night in Milwaukee.

The Dodgers losing streak was snapped at one.

Urías allowed the leadoff batter to reach base in each of the first three innings, including the first two batters getting on in the first and third. But none of them scored, thanks to the Brewers going 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position against him.

The left-hander allowed four six to reach base in the first four frames, but struck out six to deliver his sixth scoreless start of the season, and his third since the All-Star break. Urías lowered his ERA to 2.40, which ranks fourth in the National League. Teammates Tony Gonsolin (2.24) and Tyler Anderson (2.81) rank second and sixth, respectively.

Urías has won each of his last six starts and has captured his last 10 decisions. Because of the baserunners, his night was done after just five innings thanks to 94 pitches.

Twenty-five of those pitches were to Christian Yelich, who walked twice in his first two trips to the plate. The first free pass snapped a string of 76 batters and three entire starts for Urías since his last walk.

Yelich hit 11 foul balls in three plate appearances against Urías, with six coming in a 10-pitch at-bat in the fifth that ended in a groundout.

Defensive play of the night

Urías first clean inning on Monday came in the fifth, though it could have been much worse. Tyrone Taylor had designs on extra bases with this sharp grounder down the third base line, only to have Justin Turner made a nifty backhand stab, and strong throw to first base to get him.

A long(ball) wait

Freddie Freeman got the scoring started with a drive into the second deck in right field in the first inning. Not only did it put the Dodgers up 1-0, scoring first for the 15th time in the last 17 games, but it was also Freeman’s first home run since July 23.

Freeman was still productive in between homers, hitting .297/.379/.378 with six doubles, 11 runs batted in and 15 runs scored, and after Monday on the season leads the majors in both doubles (38) and hits (142), the latter tied with teammate Trea Turner.

But those 87 plate appearances without a long ball, over 20 games, was the sixth-longest home run drought of Freeman’s career. His longest was 28 games and 128 plate appearances earlier this season from April 25 to May 25.

That most recent homerless stretch going away might explain the sense of relief Freeman had after getting back to the dugout, or maybe he was just having some fun with Mookie Betts.

Betts’ legs were on display in the fifth, when he reached on an errant throw by shortstop Willy Adames.

Then on third base with one out, Betts tagged on a medium fly ball to Yelich in left field, then easily beat the throw, which was wide (though it wouldn’t have gotten Betts even if on target).

Welcome home

This is the second major league trip to Milwaukee for Gavin Lux, who played high school ball about 40 miles away in nearby Kenosha, Wisconsin, after hitting two singles in 10 at-bats plus a walk last season.

Lux this year is on month three of his power drive, and added a hometown twist in the sixth inning, going the other way on a 2-2 pitch against sidearm southpaw Hoby Milner for a two-run shot.

That home run — the first against a left-hander this season by Lux — widened the Dodgers advantage to four runs. It was the second home run in three games for Lux, who on the season ranks fourth in the NL with a 375 on-base percentage, and is slugging .508 since June 1.

Fearsome foursome

Chris Martin faced four batters in the sixth inning and struck them all out, including a third-strike passed ball by Will Smith that allowed Andrew McCutchen to reach first base to start the frame. Martin is the ninth Dodger to strike out four batters in an inning, and the first since Clayton Kershaw on June 11, 2021 against Texas.

Outside of McCutchen reaching base on a strikeout, the Dodgers bullpen — Caleb Ferguson, Evan Phillips, and David Price followed Martin — retired every batter they faced in four innings to end the game.

Martin has nine strikeouts and no walks in seven appearances since the Dodgers traded for him on July 30, with a 2.45 ERA in 7⅓ innings.

Monday particulars

Home runs: Freddie Freeman (16), Gavin Lux (6)

WP — Julio Urías (13-6): 5 IP, 4 hits, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts

LP — Freddy Peralta (4-3): 4 IP, 2 hits, 1 run, 4 walks, 3 strikeouts

Up next

Ryan Pepiot gets a second start in his latest major league stint on Tuesday night (5:10 p.m. PT, SportsNet LA), with Brandon Woodruff on the mound for Milwaukee.