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Dodgers defense costs them in 1-run loss to Sandy Alcántara, Marlins

Los Angeles Dodgers v Miami Marlins Photo by Bryan Cereijo/Getty Images

The Dodgers were able to outhit their porous defense to win on Friday night, but on Saturday that was not the case. A Keystone Cops routine broke out in the sixth inning, providing the difference in a 2-1 loss to Sandy Alcántara and the Marlins.

Miscues on three consecutive plays turned a sixth inning that should have been over into the game-deciding frame.

Both Alcántara and Dustin May delivered a pitching treat, with blazing velocity and incredible movement that makes one wonder how anyone ever manages to score against them.

Mookie Betts provided the Dodgers’ lone run off the Marlins ace with a solo home run in the third inning, his 30th home run of the season. Betts is just the fourth player in major league history with multiple seasons of 30 homers out of the leadoff spot. He’s also the 25th different Dodgers player to hit 30 home runs in a season.

May didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning, but Miami bunched two together to score the first run against May this season. Jon Berti singled with one out and stole second, and scored easily on Brian Anderson’s double. The latter was eventful, not just for the run, but for Anderson narrowly beating Joey Gallo’s throw to second, only to be tagged after briefly coming off the bag. Anderson argued that Chris Taylor pushed him off the base, and in the span of mere seconds was both called out and thrown out of the game by second base umpire D.J. Reyburn.

That chaos looked downright conventional compared to the sixth inning, when May got the first two outs with ease. Then he induced a tapper in front of the plate, what was the fourth soft grounder back to May on Saturday. Only this time the ball went under his glove, allowing Joey Wendle to reach. Jon Berti followed with a harmless grounder to second base that Chris Taylor booted.

Amazingly, both plays were ruled singles by the official scorer.

Jerrar Encarnacion made the Dodgers pay with an RBI single, and this time Gallo’s throw was wildly off the mark. May was late in backing up home plate, but got a favorable carom that might have allowed him to throw out Berti at third base. Except May dropped that ball, too.

Despite the implosion, and the extra 11 pitches, May was able to finish the sixth with only the one run in, marring an otherwise sharp outing. He struck out four in his six innings.

Problem was, Alcántara was better, a far cry from last Sunday at Dodger Stadium when the Dodgers chased him in the fourth inning after seven runs. This time, the Marlins ace pitched his fourth complete game, two more than anyone else in the majors.

Alcántara has lasted at least eight innings 11 times this season, five more than any other major league pitcher. His four fastest pitches came in the eighth and ninth innings, including three pitches at least 100 mph.

Freddie Freeman reached on his own glove-evading bounder in the ninth, and like the sixth-inning for Miami, that was also ruled a single. Will Smith followed with a more conventional hit, and a walk to Justin Turner loaded the bases with two outs.

On Alcántara’s 111th pitch of the night, with the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position, he got Joey Gallo to ground to first base, albeit with a 100-mph exit velocity. This one was fielded cleanly by Lewis Díaz, sending the Dodgers to their first loss to the Marlins this season in five games.

Saturday particulars

Home run: Mookie Betts (30)

WP — Sandy Alcántara (12-6): 9 IP, 6 hits, 1 run, 2 walks, 10 strikeouts

LP — Dustin May (1-1): 6 IP, 5 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts

Up next

Sunday morning is the most burdensome Dodgers game to watch this season, broadcast exclusively on Peacock (9:05 a.m. PT), a subscription streaming service (that has a free trial through some cable providers). The final a.m. start of the season has Julio Urías on the mound for Los Angeles, and right-hander Edward Cabrera pitching for the home team.