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Dodgers run out of bullets, 3-run 11th inning wins it for Jays

Toronto Blue Jays v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers didn’t have the high-powered offensive performance they showed on the road trip, and dropped a back-and-forth game to the Blue Jays 6-3 in 11 innings in series opener on Monday night at Dodger Stadium.

Toronto scored three runs in the top of the 11th inning off Phil Bickford, the Dodgers’ sixth reliever of the night. Daulton Varsho’s double plated two go-ahead runs, both of which were unearned due to the free runner to open the frame and third baseman Chris Taylor’s throwing error.

Bickford allowed two hits and two walks after Taylor’s error, the latter walk forcing in a run, all before recording an out.

Crazy eighth

Matt Chapman hit a go-ahead home run off Brusdar Graterol in the top of the eighth inning, but Max Muncy tied things back up in the bottom of the frame with his fourth home run in the last five games. Muncy has driven in at least one run in each of his last six games, one shy of his career-best streak in August 2019.

After Muncy’s home run, the Dodgers loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth inning, then pinch-hit for Yonny Hernández against the right-hander Trevor Richards. But instead of J.D. Martinez, who might have been available, or rookie Jonny DeLuca, Dave Roberts opted for a third right-handed batter in shortstop Miguel Rojas, who flew out to right field.

After the game, Dave Roberts said Martinez wasn’t available on Monday, chalk one up to gamesmanship.

“From what I understand, he’ll be in there tomorrow, but for what it takes to get his body going, he wasn’t available tonight,” Roberts said.

Caleb Ferguson, Yency Almonte, Graterol, Evan Phillips, Ryan Brasier combined for 5⅓ innings, allowing one run to get the Dodgers through 10 innings.

For starters

The Dodgers got out to a 2-0 lead, the first run scoring in the first inning on a Mookie Betts double followed by two singles.

Jason Heyward hit a solo home run in the fourth inning, giving him 10 on the season, one more than his previous two years combined with the Cubs. It was also a welcome sight for Heyward, who had just two hits in his previous 23 at-bats dating back to July 4.

Michael Grove was effective through four scoreless innings, and efficient too with just 49 pitches despite his six strikeouts. Blue Jays batters to that point had just four hits in 15 at-bats, but Toronto got four hits in five at-bats against Grove to start the fifth inning to tie the game, continuing a pattern.

Through his first 50 pitches of a game this season, Grove has an opponent’s batting line of .276/.311/.429. But after pitch 50, opponents are hitting .373/.453/.667 against Grove.

Grove also was asked to change his pants between the fourth and fifth innings, when the Blue Jays asked the umpires to check.

“I guess they wanted to check my pants,” Grove said. “I rub my hand there after every pitch, so I guess there was build up.”

“They wanted to clean that up a little bit, and [Grove] followed what they asked him,” Roberts said.

Either way, Grove’s night was over after just 4⅔ innings, leaving in a tie game.

Length has been an issue for Dodgers starters of late, averaging just 4.97 innings in the 21 games since Clayton Kershaw last pitched, with a 6.12 ERA that ranks 29th in the majors, shining a spotlight on the team’s clear need for starting pitching help at the trade deadline.

Monday particulars

Home runs: Jason Heyward (10), Max Muncy (25); Matt Chapman (13)

WP — Jay Jackson (3-0): 2 IP, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

LP — Phil Bickford (2-3): 1 IP, 2 hits, 3 runs (1 earned), 2 walks, 2 strikeouts

Sv — Jordan Romano (28): 1 IP, 1 strikeout

Up next

Back to the top of the rotation for the Dodgers on Tuesday (7:10 p.m.; SportsNet LA, MLB Network), with Julio Urías trying to wash away the bad taste of his eight-run Baltimore start. Chris Bassitt starts for the Blue Jays.