Though neither starter will pitch in this series, May gray came to Dodger Stadium Monday thanks to the cloudy sky overhead. Dodgers pitching has been murky lately, but they’ve found a semblance of stability in rookie Bobby Miller, who impressed in a second straight start to beat the Nationals 6-1 in the series opener in Los Angeles.
Miller went six innings, mixing in almost as many non-fastballs (42) as fastballs (45), the latter split between his two-seamer and four-seamer. Just like his major league debut last Tuesday in Atlanta, Miller allowed one run, and allowed no more than one batter to reach base in any other inning.
Three Nationals got hits against Miller in the second inning to score a run. Washington had designs on a second run, but on a single to right field by C.J. Abrams, Jason Heyward threw out Corey Dickerson at home plate to limit the damage. Miller retired 12 of his final 14 batters faced after that.
Miller pitched the Dodgers’ first quality start since May 13. At that point, he only had three Triple-A starts under his belt this year after getting sidelined by shoulder soreness during spring training. Now, the rookie is shouldering the load as the Dodgers’ best pitcher of the last two weeks.
Unlike in his debut, Miller was pitching from behind for most of his start on Monday, as Trevor Williams blanked the Dodgers through four innings on only two hits to that point. But then it all fell apart for Washington in the fifth.
After Jason Heyward walked to open the frame, Miguel Vargas hit a potential double-play grounder that Abrams booted at shortstop, and Heyward alertly took third base. James Outman, who singled to snap an 0-for-20 skid earlier in the game, hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game.
With two outs in the fifth, Williams faced the Dodgers lineup for the third time, and five straight reached base.
Freddie Freeman doubled home two, achieving a pair of records in the process. Freeman has 17 doubles in May, the most in any month by a Dodger in franchise history. The double was Freeman’s 23rd extra-base hit of May, tying Babe Herman (July 1930) and Duke Snider (June 1954) for the most in any month in Dodgers history.
Will Smith walked, which put two on for J.D. Martinez, who has thrived in this situation since returning from the injured list. Martinez slammed a three-run home run to cap a six-run inning, with all of the runs against Williams unearned, but still painful nonetheless.
Martinez since returning from the injured list on May 12 has driven in 21 runs in 16 games. Of his seven home runs since then, four are three-run shots.
Freeman has an 18-game hitting streak, and Martinez has a 13-game hitting streak, two of the four longest active hitting streaks in MLB.
Home run: J.D. Martinez (11)
WP — Bobby Miller (2-0): 6 IP, 4 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts
LP — Trevor Williams (2-3): 5 IP, 6 hits, 6 unearned runs, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts
The middle game of the series comes at the usual nighttime start on Tuesday (7:10 p.m., SportsNet LA), with Tony Gonsolin on the mound for the Dodgers. Rookie right-hander Jake Irvin starts for the Nationals.