LOS ANGELES — For all the talk about how he might recover after his start, Tony Gonsolin was effective while on the mound on Tuesday, tossing six scoreless innings in the Dodgers’ 5-1 win over the White Sox in the series opener at Dodger Stadium.
A Dodgers pitcher going six innings has been a rarity for the last month, with Gonsolin delivering just the eighth start of at least that long by the team over the last 27 games. By contrast, the Dodgers had 20 starts at least that long in the first 40 games of the season.
Gonsolin’s fastball averaged a season-low 91.1 mph, continuing a three-start velocity drop that’s been a concern of late, but he got strikes with the pitch and allowed only three hard-hit balls on the night.
“He was mixing pretty well. He mixed in his curveball, his fastball, his slider, just making pitches,” said catcher Will Smith. “They were chasing a little bit, and he took advantage. Got a lot of soft contact, groundballs, weak flyouts, and strikeouts, really attacking.”
He pounded the zone, throwing 60 of his 90 pitches for strikes and allowed only two hits and two walks in his six innings, and one of the hits was a grounder to second base on which Miguel Vargas threw to the wrong Dodger (Gonsolin, not Freddie Freeman) at first base. Chicago batted only twice with runners in scoring position against Gonsolin, to no avail.
“I thought I was attacking the zone all night,” Gonsolin said. “I had a couple walks, which might happen, but overall I felt I was attacking.”
After leaving the possibility open pregame for Gonsolin to not pitch on four days rest this Sunday — matching the decision from the road trip that just concluded — manager Dave Roberts said after the game that Gonsolin would indeed start Sunday against the Giants.
“If today was a higher pitch count, or the stuff wasn’t good, and then to bet on a regular start to think it would be better would be a tougher bet,” Roberts said. “But considering everything we saw tonight, how he felt coming out of the game, and his assurance that he’ll be ready to go Sunday kind of justifies that.”
His mostly stress-free night was greatly helped by a four-run first inning.
Will Smith hit a two-run home run to start the scoring, further bolstering his All-Star campaign.
David Peralta saw his streak of 10 straight starts with a hit snapped on Sunday, but he made up for it with a two-run home run in the first inning, his second home run in three games.
Over his last 13 games, Peralta is hitting .425 (17-for-40) with four extra-base hits.
At Dodger Stadium this season, Gonsolin has allowed only four runs in four starts, with a 1.66 ERA in 21⅔ innings.
Jonny DeLuca pinch-hit for Jason Heyward in the seventh inning for his first plate appearance at Dodger Stadium, the ballpark he grew up attending as a child. DeLuca singed to right field, but narrowly missed out on his first major league RBI when Mookie Betts was thrown out at home plate by Clint Frazier.
J.D. Martinez struck out in the eighth inning, with the third strike coming on a pitch timer violation. It was Martinez’s third timer violation of the season.
Home runs: Will Smith (10), David Peralta (4)
WP — Tony Gonsolin (4-1): 6 IP, 2 hits, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts
LP — Lance Lynn (4-7): 5 IP, 6 hits, 5 runs (4 earned), 2 walks, 6 strikeouts
Clayton Kershaw is on the mound for the Dodgers on Wednesday (7:10 p.m., ESPN), with right-hander Mike Clevinger pitching for Chicago.
Austin Barnes will catch Wednesday’s game, in what will be his first game since getting hit by a pitch on his right hand on Thursday in Cincinnati. Roberts said Barnes will catch two of the six games on the homestand.