Manny Machado collected two hits and four RBIs, Brian Dozier collected two hits, including a home run, and Kiké Hernández collected three hits, as the Dodgers beat the Rangers 8-4 on Tuesday night in Arlington, Texas. Walker Buehler lasted only four innings, but the bullpen carried the load, allowing just two runs over five innings of work. A couple hours after the Dodgers won, the Diamondbacks lost, bringing the Dodgers within one game of first place.
After going through a cold stretch against the Cardinals, the Dodgers have begun hitting again. After doing exactly what they were supposed to do against the Padres (they swept them), the Dodgers started hitting early against the Rangers (another bad team). The Rangers’ starter, Ariel Jurado, had a 6.40 ERA going into the game. That basically means that if the Dodgers hadn’t scored against him, something was wrong.
Machado started the scoring for the Dodgers in the top of the third inning, when Jurado found himself in a bases-loaded jam with one out. Machado grounded a two-run single into center field, giving the Dodgers a 2-0 lead. Dozier then singled to drive in another run and give the Dodgers an early 3-0 lead.
One of the best things about being on a baseball team is that your teammates are always there to back you up. Walker Buehler started his night cruising, but he ran into a wall in the bottom of the third inning. He threw 37 pitches in the inning and allowed two earned runs. Elvis Andrus and Nomar Mazara each hit RBI singles off Buehler. The rough third inning made it impossible for Buehler to pitch into the fifth inning. But the bullpen and bats were there to pick up their teammate.
“I just wasn’t as crisp,” Buehler said. “Wasn’t my best day. That’s why we’ve got offense and bullpens.”
The Dodgers didn’t waste time before re-extending their lead. And they did it in a way that surprised a lot of us. The Dodgers are known as a power team. In other words, they hit homers, or they don’t score. But not on Tuesday night.
Machado put it plainly when he said, “Can’t win ballgames by just hitting home runs. We’re preaching about passing the baton to the next guy, just taking what the pitchers give us. Today, we did a good job with that, stick to the plan and we did our job.”
Machado practiced what he preached. He started the scoring with the two-run single, then he added another RBI to his total with a fourth-inning sacrifice fly. Later, he singled to drive in a fourth run. On the night, he went 2-4 with 4 RBI and no strikeouts.
Dozier made sure to get his name in headlines as well, with a two-hit, two-RBI game. His first RBI came in the third inning when he hit his RBI single, but in the fifth, he decided it was time for a long ball. He pulled the ball in the air to left field, where it hit the top of the wall and bounced over for a solo home run. At this point, the Dodgers took a 6-2 lead.
Dave Roberts decided to bring Kenley Jansen in to pitch the ninth inning with the Dodgers on top 8-2. He decided that it would be a good time for Jansen to try to get everything worked out. As we found out later, it was also Jansen’s first game back off of heart medication.
Jansen wasn’t sharp by any means. Most of his pitches had no movement and he couldn’t hit his target. The Rangers loaded the bases against him with one out, then Ronald Guzmán singled to drive in two runs. But then, as Jansen put it, “At least something [went] my way.” On the first pitch, Shin-Soo Choo grounded into a 1-6-3 double-play.
The Dodgers will close the two-game set with the Rangers by sending Alex Wood to the mound against Mike Minor. Wood pitched poorly in four innings against the Cardinals in his last start. The Dodgers will try to keep the momentum in their favor as they finish the series and head back home to face the D-backs. The game will begin at 5:05pm PT.