Dustin May made up for lost time Saturday, his first time on a major league mound in 476 days, mowing through the Marlins lineup for five innings in the Dodgers’ 7-0 win in the middle game of the weekend series at Dodger Stadium.
May was understandably amped in his first inning back, and after a leadoff ground ball single he walked a pair of hitters to load the bases with two outs. But May escaped the jam, his 26th pitch of the frame a slider to get Nick Fortes swinging, eliciting a triumphant scream as he walked off the mound.
After that leadoff single, May only allowed one other ball hit to the outfield, a harmless flyout in the fifth inning. May retired his final 13 batters faced, needing only 45 pitches to get through the final four innings. He struck out nine, four finished off on a high-spin slider. May also got two strikeouts each on the four-seam fastball and sinker, and even got one on a changeup, which he threw twice on Saturday.
Dustin May is most certainly back. pic.twitter.com/df4gC5MbAa— MLB (@MLB) August 21, 2022
May threw 71 pitches, and got 13 swinging strikes to go with 16 called strikes. His 40.8-percent CSW% (called strikes plus whiffs rate) is the third-highest in any start by a Dodgers pitcher this season, behind only Tony Gonsolin pitching into the eighth to beat the Padres on July 1 (42.4 percent) and Clayton Kershaw’s seven perfect innings on April 13 in Minnesota (41.3 percent).
All in all, five scoreless innings was as good a return as the Dodgers, or May, could have hoped.
It probably helped that, after the high-stress top of the first, the game was pretty much stress-free, thanks to the Dodgers offense.
Welcome to the bigs
The first major league inning for Bryan Hoeing included Will Smith homering, a three-run shot that followed Trea Turner and Freddie Freeman continuing their race atop the major league hit leaderboard. The long ball was the first meeting between the former Louisville teammates, though Smith never caught the right-hander in their one season (2016) together. Smith was a junior that year, drafted by the Dodgers in the first round, and Hoeing was a redshirt freshman.
Three straight hits again in the third tallied another run against Hoeing, but this time he avoided the same fate against Smith by striking him out looking with a sinker on the corner. Two pitches later though, another Hoeing sinker caught too much of the plate and Justin Turner made him pay with another home run, to roughly the same spot down the left field line Smith hit his two innings earlier.
Saturday is the first game this season the Dodgers hit two three-run home runs.
This was the Dodgers’ 15th win by at least seven runs this season, most in the majors.
Home runs: Will Smith (18), Justin Turner (9)
WP — Dustin May (1-0): 5 IP, 1 hit, 2 walks, 9 strikeouts
LP — Bryan Hoeing (0-1): 3 IP, 8 hits, 7 runs, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts
The Dodgers go for the series sweep on Sunday, with Ryan Pepiot on the mound for the home team. National League Cy Young Award favorite Sandy Alcántara, the major league leader in innings and ERA, starts the finale for the Marlins.