Max Muncy singled with one out in the eighth inning off Adam Ottavino, who has allowed 14 stolen bases in only 37 innings this season. Muncy took advantage, getting a tremendous jump on what would have been an easy steal, except J.D. Martinez singled through the hole at second base to put runners on the corners.
David Peralta grounded into what was nearly an inning-ending double play, but Pete Alonso’s throw to second was high. The slight delay of Francisco Lindor needing to set himself after a jump was just enough for Peralta to be safe at first, scoring Muncy.
That was only the Dodgers’ second run of the game, but that was enough thanks to another stellar pitching night from the entire staff that has allowed one run in two games this weekend.
Brusdar Graterol got the win by pitching a scoreless seventh, erasing his leadoff walk by starting a nifty double play on a ball back to the box.
The Mets got to Caleb Ferguson, working for a second night in a row, for a walk and a single to open the eighth. Chris Taylor, playing his first game since getting activated off the injured list, cut off the hit in the left center field gap, keeping Francisco Alvarez at first and Tommy Pham at third. Ferguson got a pop out and two strikeouts to extinguish the threat.
That was the only hit allowed in seven innings by the Dodgers bullpen so far in this series.
New York’s inability to make plays was exacerbated in the ninth, when a pop-up to third base by Max Muncy confounded Brett Baty. The ball not only landed, but then hit Baty in the face as he fell to the ground. Choose your viewing angle:
That gaffe scored one run, and the Dodgers tacked on two more insurance runs after that.
A tale of two bounces
Home Run Derby performance aside, Mookie Betts continued his power barrage in games that count. He opened the scoring in the third inning with a solo shot into the right field corner off Kodai Senga, one that bounced off the top of the right field wall and into the stands.
This came one night after the Mets’ Brandon Nimmo nearly led off Friday’s game with a home run, only his drive off the top of the right field wall bounced back into play for a double.
Betts has four home runs in his last four games, eight in his last 13 games, and 27 on the year, only eight shy of last year’s career high. Saturday’s home run was the first hit to right field by Betts this season.
Long and the short of it
Nimmo was able to trot round the bases for the second night in a row, but on Saturday he left no doubt as to whether his drive went over the fence. He blasted a curveball that caught too much of the plate in the fourth inning off Tony Gonsolin, hitting a ball near the giant apple in center field for a game-tying solo home run.
Gonsolin was getting hit hard all night — nine of his 16 batters faced hit a ball at least 95 mph off the bat — though the bulk of those found gloves. Daniel Vogelbach hit a 97.2-mph grounder right at Freddie Freeman in the second inning for an easy double play. After a fourth-inning walk, Jeff McNeil’s 101.7-mph grounder up the middle was right at Miguel Rojas, who turned two to neuter a potential rally.
But Gonsolin also worked efficiently, needing only 54 pitches to get through five innings. But all those hard-hit balls meant his night was done despite allowing only the one run on Nimmo’s homer.
Ken Rosenthal, reporting from near the dugout on the Fox broadcast, said Dave Roberts felt Gonsolin’s stuff had diminished and the bullpen was rested. That’s why Gonsolin was pulled, not because of injury. Roberts and Gonsolin expanded on this after the game.
Tony Gonsolin said he felt he could've kept going but understood Dave Roberts' rationale: “I couldn’t get a good grip on the ball tonight. Pretty wet. Felt like the fastball was sliding out a lot. Splitter kind of did too."— Fabian Ardaya (@FabianArdaya) July 16, 2023
After lasting at least six innings in half of his 24 starts last season, Gonsolin this year has gotten through six innings just four times in 13 starts.
A new gambit?
In addition to his home run, Betts also singled three times on Saturday. In the seventh inning, with Miguel Rojas on second and two outs, Buck Showalter made the choice to intentionally walk Betts to get to Freddie Freeman with left-hander Brooks Raley on the mound.
The context for the walk is that Betts is nuclear at the moment, hitting .500 (23 for 46) in his last 13 games, reaching base 37 times in 62 plate appearances for a tidy .597 on-base percentage.
That makes three times in the last four games Betts was intentionally walked in front of Freeman, after zero times in that duo’s first year and a half as teammates. Angels manager Phil Nevin ordered the code blue in the final two games before the All-Star break, and the Dodgers tacked on in big innings both times.
This time, however, the Mets got out of it when Freeman popped out harmlessly to foul territory near third base.
The start of Saturday’s game was delayed 46 minutes by the threat of rain. It’s the third time in the Dodgers’ last six road games they’ve waited out a delay before starting.
Home runs: Mookie Betts (27); Brandon Nimmo (14)
WP — Brusdar Graterol (3-2): 1 IP, 1 walk
LP — Adam Ottavino (0-4): 1 IP, 3 hits, 1 run
The Dodgers go for the sweep on Sunday morning (10:40 a.m. PT; SportsNet LA, MLB Network), with Bobby Miller on the mound. Max Scherzer starts for New York.