New additions help Dodgers edge Astros 3-2 to prevent sweep
With the Dodgers struggling for offense against the team that beat them for the World Series title in seven games last fall, it was the new additions who came through. Machado was acquired from Baltimore during the All-Star break and Dozier came over from Minnesota at last week’s trade deadline.
“You really never know what you’re going to get when a guy goes to a new club, but I think the intent, the at-bat quality to a man with those two guys has been very consistent,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “The results will be there, but I just like the approach on every pitch.”
A two-time All-Star, Springer exited in the third with left thumb discomfort after he was thrown out trying to steal second base. It’s unclear how long the 2017 World Series MVP might be sidelined.
“At first, I thought it was the base that caught him and then when I got out there both (Chris) Taylor and Dozier told me that the glove clipped his (left) hand,” Astros manager AJ Hinch said. “He was in a lot of pain. It bothered him, so it was an easy decision to bring him out. He is going to get evaluated. Other than that I have no idea.”
New reliever Roberto Osuna did not pitch in his first game on the active roster for Houston. Osuna was reinstated from the restricted list after serving a 75-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy. The All-Star closer was acquired Monday in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays while he was still serving his suspension.
Before the game, Osuna met his new Astros teammates and addressed the club for 10 minutes in a closed-door meeting.
Springer’s home run to open the game was his 19th of the season. He has 24 career leadoff homers, six this season.
Astros starter Gerrit Cole (10-4), a product of nearby UCLA, allowed three runs on six hits in five innings with one walk and eight strikeouts.
“Poor slider command today. I had to find a second option after that,” Cole said.
After Springer homered, the Dodgers responded quickly on Dozier’s two-run double with two outs in the first.
The power-hitting second baseman has five extra-base hits and seven RBIs in five games (four starts) with the Dodgers.
“First of all, it was a big win to salvage while facing a real good pitcher in Gerrit Cole,” Dozier said. “I think we got to him a little bit. We squared him up a few times early on and kind of rattled him a little bit and he made some mistakes.”
Cody Bellinger made it 3-1 with an RBI double in the third. Kemp’s homer cut it to 3-2 in the fifth.
Jake Marisnick, who replaced Springer in center field, reached over the wall to rob Taylor of a home run in the sixth.
The Dodgers hit three more Astros batters with pitches, and Springer was knocked down by an inside fastball from Buehler. In the series, Los Angeles pitchers plunked seven Houston hitters.
“If they are hitting us then they are pitching inside,” Hinch said. “I think a couple of them were breaking balls. To be honest, I hadn’t thought about it.”
OLD COLLEGE TRY
Kemp struck out and homered against Buehler — the two were teammates at Vanderbilt in 2013. Buehler knows the home run will carry more weight, though.
“I’ll hear about it, but we won so it was OK,” he said.
Kemp led Vanderbilt to the 2011 College World Series, while Buehler was on the Commodores’ 2014 and 2015 College World Series clubs.
“I don’t know if I get bragging rights, but Walker did a good job today,” Kemp said. “He pitched above the zone, he used his fastball well and got ahead with the curveball. It felt good to get a homer off him right there, but in the end we didn’t win.”
Astros: RHP Lance McCullers Jr. was placed on the 10-day disabled list because of right elbow discomfort and sent back to Houston to be examined by team doctors. … 2B Jose Altuve (right knee soreness) was sent back to Houston for further examination, with Hinch saying it “feels like” a setback in the sense that Altuve will not come off the DL when he is eligible this week.
Dodgers: OF Yasiel Puig was unavailable after feeling some oblique soreness a week after returning from the DL. … OF Matt Kemp (bruised left ankle) was able to pinch-hit. … 3B Justin Turner (right groin strain) was given the day off to ease him back into regular playing time after he came off the disabled list Thursday.
Astros: RHP Charlie Morton (12-2, 2.90 ERA), who has won five of his last six decisions, will open a two-game series at San Francisco on Monday.
Dodgers: LHP Rich Hill (4-4, 3.63) starts Tuesday in the opener of a two-game series at Oakland against the team that dealt him to the Dodgers at the 2016 non-waiver trade deadline.