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Dodgers' offense and bullpen come through to beat Padres and snap losing streak

Jorge Castillo, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Baseball

LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers technically played their 19th game of the 2020 season Wednesday. But the stakes were higher than that number suggests. Each game weighs more in this 60-game race to the postseason. And the Dodgers, looking to avoid a third straight loss to a budding contender, operated with an urgency not seen in 19th games of the past.

Recently stung by their reliance on the home run, the Dodgers dug into the archives to manufacture runs with small ball and aggressively deployed their bullpen before putting the game away with a four-run eighth inning to beat the San Diego Padres, 6-0, at Dodger Stadium.

Tony Gonsolin, recalled to start Wednesday, was cruising through four innings when he encountered trouble in the fifth. Pitching coach Mark Prior emerged from a mound visit with a runner on first base, two outs, and Fernando Tatis Jr., the Padres' best hitter, on deck. Gonsolin then allowed a single to Jurickson Profar to put runners on first and second. His night ended there, after 82 pitches and a career-high eight strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings.

Sensing the situation's importance, Roberts gave the ball to Blake Treinen, perhaps the Dodgers' best reliever, to escape the jam. Treinen struck Tatis out.

AJ Pollock drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the fifth before Chris Taylor dropped a bunt single to third. Edwin Rios then hammered a line drive off Padres starter Zach Davies' glove for an RBI single. Austin Barnes next safely reached base with a safety squeeze to score Taylor from third and give the Dodgers (12-7) a two-run cushion.

Five Dodgers relievers held the Padres scoreless over 4 1/3 innings to drop the bullpen's 1.31 earned-run average entering Wednesday even lower.

 

Before the game, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was unusually terse and defensive in his daily videoconference call with reporters.

Roberts was first asked if he had ever seen a group of prominent hitters simultaneously endure slumps together before. Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy and Joc Pederson all entered Wednesday with batting averages under .200.

"It happens every year that a group of guys aren't swinging the bat well," Roberts said. "We have this conversation every year. Every manager does. So, I think the guys are handling it well."

Roberts was then asked about the decision to recall and start Gonsolin before a question was posed about whether Clayton Kershaw was fine with getting pushed back a day. Kershaw was originally scheduled to start Thursday and was moved to Friday. The manager scoffed before saying Kershaw approved.

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