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Home runs doom Dodgers to series split with Brewers

LA ends 4-3 road trip

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Milwaukee Brewers Milwaukee Journal Sentinel-USA TODAY NETWORK

Andrew Heaney missed more bats on Thursday than in any start the last two seasons. But he didn’t miss Andrew McCutchen, who homered twice off the Dodgers starter to earn the Brewers a series split with a 5-3 win on getaway day Thursday in Milwaukee.

McCutchen hit a solo home run in the first inning, then added a two-run shot in the third. He spoiled what was building as an impressive outing for Heaney, who struck out 10 batters. The last strikeout was McCutchen with two outs in the fifth inning, but the ball got away from catcher Will Smith to extend the inning.

The goal of a five-inning start for Heaney, something he hasn’t done in five starts since returning from his second extended injured-list stint this year, proved elusive, as Hunter Renfroe followed with a two-run home run of his own, ending Heaney’s day.

Heaney only gave up one home run in his first seven starts this year, and on Thursday got 19 swinging strikes, his most in a start since August 28, 2020 with the Angels. Eleven of the misses came on the slider, on just 22 swings. But when he didn’t miss bats, the contact was loud. Heaney had just the second Dodgers outing this year allowing more than two home runs, joining Julio Urías on May 14.

The pitching line for Heaney was an odd one, but he had some company: He and Sandy Koufax are the only two Dodgers to strike out 10 batters in a start of less than five innings. Koufax’s start was September 6, 1961 against the Giants at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Both Heaney and Koufax in these starts struck out 10 in 4⅔ innings, and allowed five runs, including three home runs.

It was a sleepy series on offense for both teams, combining for 25 runs in the four games. Each team won games started by pitchers who received Cy Young votes last season, with Julio Urías prevailing Monday, Milwaukee winning a Brandon Woodruff start Tuesday, and the Brewers taking the finale behind Corbin Burnes.

Burnes, last year’s National League Cy Young Award winner, struck out six, though the Dodgers finally got to him in the sixth inning.

Los Angeles didn’t have a runner in scoring position through the first five innings, collecting just two hits and two walks the first time through the lineup. But Trea Turner, batting first on Thursday with Mookie Betts getting a rest day, led off the sixth with a double. Two singles brought home Turner, and Gavin Lux brought home two more with a triple that was nearly a three-run home run if not for the incredible effort by centerfielder Tyrone Taylor.

Four hits in six times through the third time through the order ended Burnes’ day early, and turned a five-run deficit into a two-run game.

Even with that sixth-inning rally, the Dodgers in the series were just 8-for-48 (.167/.241/.250) with runners on base during the series. Seven of the eight Dodgers home runs during the four-game series were solo shots, with the Dodgers hitting .205/.286/.455 with nobody on base.

Thursday particulars

Home runs: Andrew McCutchen 2 (13), Hunter Renfroe (21)

WP — Corbin Burnes (9-5): 5⅔ IP, 6 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts

LP — Andrew Heaney (1-1): 4⅔ IP, 5 hits, 5 runs (3 earned), 1 walks, 10 strikeouts

Sv — Devin Williams (8): 1 IP, 3 strikeouts

Up next

The Dodgers return home Friday to face the Marlins for a weekend series, with Tyler Anderson starting the opener (7:10 p.m.; SportsNet LA, MLB Network). Lefty Jesús Luzardo starts for Miami.