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Dodgers rally in 8th inning to steal doubleheader opener from Marlins

Miami Marlins v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game One Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers couldn’t get anything going on offense for most of the game, but rallied for three runs in the eighth inning to steal the first game of a split doubleheader, 3-1 over the Marlins on Saturday afternoon at Dodger Stadium.

Facing reliever David Robertson in the eighth inning and trailing by a run, James Outman walked with one out and advanced to third on a single by Kiké Hernández. That brought up Thursday’s hero Austin Barnes, who tried twice to squeeze home Outman with the equalizer. The first went foul, but the second was a successful single, and a throwing error by Josh Bell gave the Dodgers two runners in scoring position.

Mookie Betts cashed them in with a two-run single.

“That’s pretty much been my game for my whole life,” said Barnes, who has two of the Dodgers’ four sacrifice hits this season, before Saturday’s single. “I’m not a big guy, obviously, I’m 5-foot-9. I just try to do the little things that help the team win, I take pride in that.”

Barnes has struggled mightily this season, hitting just .147/.224/.186 with a 17 wRC+. But he has six hits in 17 at-bat in August, including a solo home run to win Thursday’s game against Milwaukee.

“Sometimes when you’re struggling, you want to swing your way out of it,” manager Dave Roberts said. “But for him to step back and play for the good of the team, his teammates, and win a baseball game, I trust him more than anyone in that [bunting] spot.”

The Dodgers were just happy not to face Marlins’ 20-year-old rookie Eury Pérez, who dominated them for six innings, continuing a stretch of facing tough starting pitching for three days in a row.

Pérez followed the Dodgers beating the Brewers 1-0 after 2021 National League Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes pitched seven scoreless innings, and after 2022 NL Cy Young Award winner Sandy Alcantara pitched seven strong innings in Friday’s blowout win by Miami.

Pérez was awesome for the Marlins, the 20-year-old rookie mowing through the Dodgers lineup twice and facing only two batters over the minimum in his six scoreless innings.

Most swinging strikes vs. 2023 Dodgers

Pitcher Team Date Whiffs
Pitcher Team Date Whiffs
Eury Pérez Mia Aug 19 22
Spencer Strider Atl May 23 21
Shohei Ohtani Ana Jun 21 19
Sandy Alcantara Mia Aug 18 18
Source: Baseball Savant

The only two Dodgers to reach agains Pérez were Chris Taylor, who doubled with two outs in the second inning, and Will Smith, who singled with one out in the fourth. Smith also advanced to second on a wild pitch. But the right-hander escaped both by striking out all three batters he faced with a runner in scoring position.

Pérez on the day struck out 10 batters, his most in 14 career starts. He kept the Dodgers off balance all day with his fastball, slider, and curve. Pérez induced 22 swinging strikes, most by a pitcher against the Dodgers this season.

Pérez for a while overshadowed a strong pitching day for the Dodgers, with four pitchers combining to allow only one run.

Ryan Pepiot’s season debut was impressive, allowing only one run on three hits and a walk in five innings, with five strikeouts after getting called up as the 27th man for the doubleheader earlier in the day.

He followed opener Caleb Ferguson, who allowed two hits but escaped a scoreless first inning thanks to a leaping catch by Outman at the wall in center field. Good defense also reared its head in the third inning, when David Peralta uncorked a strong throw from right field to nail Jorge Soler at home plate.

They kept the game close, as did Ryan Yarbrough, who followed Pepiot with two scoreless innings of his own for the win. The veteran left-hander has allowed just two runs in 12⅓ innings in four appearances since joining the Dodgers.

Rest day

Jason Heyward injured himself while making a sliding catch in right field on Friday night. He is unavailable for both games of Saturday’s doubleheader.

“It’s a little glute, it’s a little hip, it’s a little hamstring,” manager Dave Roberts said. “He’s sore. Could have posted today, but I think it’s best we give him the next three days off to hopefully get him back to health on Tuesday.”

Saturday Game 1 particulars

Home runs: none

WP — Ryan Yarbrough (6-5): 2 IP, 1 strikeouts

LP — David Robertson (4-4): 1 IP, 3 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks

Sv — Evan Phillips (19): 1 IP, zeroes

Up next

These two teams are back at it in a few hours for the nightcap (6:10 p.m., SportsNet LA). Julio Urías is on the mound for the Dodgers, with fellow southpaw Braxton Garrett pitching for Miami.