Behind the long ball, and another solid performance by Julio Urías, who surely appreciates facing this Colorado lineup away from Coors Field, the Dodgers wrapped up another win, improving to 4-2 on the season, beating the Rockies 5-2 on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers' start to the season has been marked by blowout victories, and narrow losses, something that carried over to the first game of this series, and while a 5-2 win doesn’t necessarily scream either of those things, in a way it was a bit of both.
The Dodgers looked in control for much of this game and came into the ninth inning up 5-0, but an out-of-nowhere rally on Phil Bickford, required Dave Roberts to turn to Evan Phillips in the middle of the ninth, pitching with the tying run on base at one point.
However, Phillips wiggled his way out of it and earned the save.
Will Smith continues hot start
It is no secret that the Dodgers will need to rely even more on Smith’s offense to help carry this lineup in 2023, than they’ve had to, in years past, and so far the Dodgers’ catcher has been more than up to the task.
It wasn’t long before the Dodgers got out in front of this one, as Smith took German Márquez deep, in the bottom of the first inning.
Third game in a row with a homer for Will! pic.twitter.com/Y5oPqECwcU— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) April 5, 2023
Not only that, but it was the third homer of the season for Smith, all coming in the last three games, and he didn’t stop there, adding an RBI double in the eighth inning.
Pivotal moment in the top of the third inning
Before the Dodgers could increase their lead, the Rockies had their big chance of the night, in the third inning, when this was still a two-run game.
Urías had surrendered a one-out double in both the first and second inning, but each time, he managed to retire the subsequent batters, neutralizing the threat, nevertheless, he wasn’t his sharpest self early on in this outing.
Colorado appeared to begin a rally in the third inning, with each of its first three batters reaching base safely, ahead of their two more dangerous hitters, Kris Bryant and C.J. Cron.
The bases were loaded with no outs, and Urías was laboring, but the southpaw bore down and absolutely froze Bryant on a 3-2 slurve, to punch him out.
In came Cron, who arrived in Dodger Stadium after touring the Padres to win NL Player of the Week, in the first series of the season, and Urías quickly handled him with a double play ball around the horn.
In an almost symbolical or poetically punishing manner, almost to properly illustrate the missed opportunity by the Rockies, right in the next at-bat, Jason Heyward led off the bottom of the inning with an absolute rocket for his second homer in as many games.
After that inning, Urías handled Colorado with ease, finishing his night with six scoreless frames, allowing five hits, no walks, and punching out eight, needing only 87 pitches to do so.
Muncy continues to own Márquez
Dodgers third baseman Max Muncy is in a weird spot right now. He and probably the entire fan base wants to put 2022 behind them, but with every moment of struggle, and an opening night involving five strikeouts, well, it’s easy to get caught up in the here-we-go-again mode.
Nevertheless, things have started to look up, and he certainly enjoyed seeing Márquez on the schedule for this game, a pitcher he’s handled well in his career. Muncy went two for four on the night, and hit this solo bomb in the middle innings.
This was Muncy’s fourth home run in 39 career plate appearances against Márquez.
It was the third home run of the night for the Dodgers, and the 13th of the year, the best mark in baseball.
Evan Phillips shuts the door in the ninth inning
Things went very smoothly in the seventh and eighth innings, after Urías left the game, with both Caleb Ferguson and Brusdar Graterol pitching in a scoreless frame, but in the ninth, Bickford ran into a little bit of trouble, and Dave Roberts had to turn to Evan Phillips for the final two outs.
Phillips hit his first batter, loading the bases, but after that, got the two necessary outs, and closed the door on the 5-2 victory.
Home runs: Will Smith (3), Jason Heyward (2), Max Muncy (1)
WP — Julio Urías (2-0): 6 IP, 5 hits, 6 strikeouts
LP — Germán Márquez (1-1): 5⅓ IP, 5 hits, 4 runs, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts
Sv — Evan Phillips (1): ⅔ IP, 1 HBP
The Dodgers are off Wednesday, which means extra rest for Miguel Vargas and his thumb injury, Miguel Rojas and his groin injury, and Mookie Betts after getting upended by Jason Heyward in short right field in Tuesday’s game, though he remained in the game. The Dodgers open a four-game series against the Diamondbacks on Thursday at Chase Field (7:10 p.m., SportsNet LA).