Kiké Hernández had three extra-base hits on his birthday and Michael Busch hit his first major league home run, leading the Dodgers’ 9-3 win over the Guardians on Thursday afternoon at Progressive Field in Cleveland.
Hernández doubled twice in the second game on Thursday, on his 32nd birthday. He then added a home run in the top of the ninth inning, the fifth game in his career with three extra-base hits, including the postseason.
He doubled three times in the final two games of the series, the first of which was hit Wednesday before the game was suspended. Since re-joining the Dodgers, Hernández has 12 extra-base hits in 25 games, matching his total over his final 72 games with Boston.
In between major league stints, Busch lit the Pacific Coast League on fire with 17 home runs in 43 games. Since getting called back up Tuesday, Busch now has one homer in two games with the Dodgers.
The solo shot to center field in the fourth inning gave the Dodgers the lead, and was the first major league home run for Busch.
1st Career Home Run for Busch pic.twitter.com/e2E8r5bPk3— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) August 24, 2023
Busch also added a sacrifice fly in the fifth, upping the Dodgers lead to 7-2. He followed fellow rookie James Outman, whose two-run single broke the game open.
Ryan Pepiot, just like on Saturday at home, was the 27th player for Thursday’s doubleheader for the Dodgers, and was the bulk guy. Only he followed another bulk guy in Ryan Yarbrough after Caleb Ferguson opened with a scoreless first inning. By the time Pepiot entered the game, the Dodgers led by five runs.
Provided that runway, Pepiot took off, striking out all three batters he faced in the fifth inning, then kept it going by pounding the strike zone.
Pepiot didn’t allow a run until the eighth inning, his fourth inning of work, when Gabriel Arias led off the frame with a solo home run. Pepiot allowed only two other singles and no walks, with six strikeouts.
This was a rare situation in that Pepiot could have gotten a five-inning save, something that’s only been done 12 times since saves became an official statistic in 1969.
But he never got the chance, pulled after four innings and 76 pitches. Evan Phillips finished off the win, the only other Dodgers reliever who hadn’t yet pitched on Thursday, by pitching a perfect ninth in his first outing since Saturday.
Yarbrough was first out of the bullpen in this one, and pitched with traffic in all three of his innings. He allowed six hits and a walk, the latter his only walk in 15⅓ innings and 57 batters faced since joining the Dodgers. Yarbrough allowed two runs, both in the second inning, exacerbated by a pickoff in which the Dodgers got no outs, with Kiké Hernández taking too long in a rundown.
The two runs allowed matched Yarbrough’s total in his first four games with the team.
Mookie Betts had two more hits and a walk. During the series in Cleveland, he reached base 11 times in 13 plate appearances, with nine hits and two walks. Amed Rosario pinch-ran for Betts after his sixth-inning walk.
Freddie Freeman also had two hits, including a double in each game of the doubleheader. Freeman’s 47 doubles tied his career high, with 36 games remaining on the schedule. The Dodgers single-season record is 52 doubles, set by Johnny Frederick in 1929. The Los Angeles record is 49 doubles, by Shawn Green in 2003.
Home runs: Michael Busch (1), Kiké Hernández (8); Gabriel Arias (8)
WP — Ryan Pepiot (1-0): 4 IP, 3 hits, 1 run, 6 strikeouts
LP — Gavin Williams (1-5): 4⅓ IP, 8 hits, 7 runs (5 earned), 2 walks, 5 strikeouts
After escaping rainy Los Angeles to start a road trip, the Dodgers leave rainy Cleveland to head to Boston, where more rain is expected, especially on Friday (4:10 p.m. PT, Apple TV+). Should they get the game in, Mookie Betts will make his return to Fenway Park and Lance Lynn will be on the mound for the Dodgers.