Emmet Sheehan continued to impress, pitching six strong innings. Backed by Mookie Betts and strong bullpen work, the Dodgers made Sheehan a winner in this one, beating the Astros 3-2 on Friday night at Dodger Stadium.
It took the Dodgers five innings to get Sheehan the lead in his major league debut. But on Friday against the Astros, Betts drove in runs in each of the first two innings. The first was on a first-inning home run, his seventh leadoff home run of the season and 18th overall.
A Mookie leadoff homer? That's what he does. pic.twitter.com/plqxrdMyOv— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) June 24, 2023
It took until after recoding 25 outs for Sheehan to allow his first major league hit, and it came on a seemingly normal grounder to shortstop that Chas McCormick beat out with one out in the third inning on Friday.
The hits were more traditional in the fourth inning, when Mauricio Dubón (to left) and Kyle Tucker (to right) hit back-to-back home runs to open the frame, and ensured that Sheehan’s ERA won’t be zero.
After the home runs Sheehan walked Alex Bregman, but then settled down, and started missing more bats. Sheehan retired his final nine batters faced, notching three of his four strikeouts during that stretch. He’s the first Dodgers pitcher to last six innings in each of his first two major league games since Ross Stripling and Kenta Maeda did so two days apart in 2016.
After the Houston home runs, the Dodgers got Sheehan the lead right back thanks to a productive bottom of the order. James Outman singled and stole second, followed by a walk from Miguel Vargas. Michael Busch doubled inside the left field line to bring home Outman. Hopes for a two-run double were dashed when Corey Julks and Jeremy Peña relayed to erase Rojas at the plate, so the Dodgers settled for one.
Outman had three hits, his third multi-hit game in his last five starts. Outman, Rojas, and Busch, hitting seven-eight-nine on Friday, combined for six hits and two walks reaching base eight times on the night.
Outman also scored in the second inning on a sacrifice fly by Betts.
Not needed in a starting role for now, Michael Grove was the first one out of the bullpen on Friday for the Dodgers, and he needed only 19 pitches to get through two scoreless frames in a one-run game. Pitching in his first game in eight days, Grove threw 14 strikes in those 19 pitches and allowed only a walk, which was immediately erased by a double play in the eighth.
In an extremely uneventful ninth inning, Brusdar Graterol needed only seven pitches to induce three groundouts for his fourth save.
Home runs: Mookie Betts (18); Mauricio Dubón (4), Kyle Tucker (10)
WP — Emmet Sheehan (1-0): 6 IP, 3 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts
LP — J.P. France (2-3): 6 IP, 8 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts
Sv — Brusdar Graterol (4): 3 up, 3 down
The series shifts to national television for the rest of the weekend beginning Saturday (4:15 p.m., Fox). Bobby Miller starts for the Dodgers, with fellow rookie right-hander Ronel Blanco pitching for Houston.