It was first the surge of emotions Friday night at Dodger Stadium. Then came the deluge of runs. The Dodgers jumped on Sean Manaea early and often in an 8-1 collage of the Padres in the opener of a weekend series in Los Angeles.
Vin Scully was honored with a touching ceremony before the game, including a pair of video tributes and a speech from the mound by manager Dave Roberts with the entire Dodgers team behind him.
Roberts same led the sold-out crowd saying “It’s time for Dodger baseball”, a signature Scully slogan, in unison. Due to the ceremony, the first pitch did not take place until 7:18 p.m., eight minutes after the scheduled time.
But the show had only just begun.
The first inning was key for both teams in this one, with Tony Gonsolin and Manaea needing 30 pitches to get through the frame. The two former Nationals who became Padres this week – Juan Soto and Josh Bell – singled out their first game at bat, but Freddie Freeman landed a hard jab from Jake Cronenworth to end the inning without incident.
Late in the inning, Manaea hit Freeman with a pitch to charge the bases with no one on, but a pair of defensive misses helped cash them in, and more. Will Smith hit a dribbler on the third base line for a hit, but another San Diego newcomer, Brandon Drury – starting in the hot corner with Manny Machado at the designated hitter – threw the ball up to allow two points to score. Then Drury couldn’t snag a hard ground from Hanser Alberto who passed him for a two-run double instead of the second out of bounds.
Since the All-Star break, the Dodgers have scored 19 first-inning runs in 16 games. During the season, they scored 75 points in the opening frame, slightly less than the Yankees for most in MLB. The Dodgers also have authorized the least in the first set, only 36 points against them to start things off. San Diego was second in points allowed, with 41 points allowed on Friday, but those four points dropped the Padres a few spots.
Another explosion came in the third inning, with Chris Taylor hitting a two-run brace in his first major league game in a month and then Cody Bellinger adding another. Bellinger has had an extra hit in each of his last three games against Manaea, homering on Sept. 23, 2020 (when Manaea was with Oakland) and April 24 of this year in San Diego.
In addition to the pair of four-run innings, Manaea allowed ten hits for the Dodgers in this one, but managed to go four innings, thanks to his seven strikeouts. Manaea in two starts against Los Angeles this season has allowed 15 runs on 16 hits in just 8⅓ innings.
Gonsolin after that scare in the first inning also threw 22 pitches in the second, but managed to go five innings without allowing a run. Friday was the sixth scoreless start of the season for Gonsolin, who has allowed a run or none in 12 of 20 starts.
- Smith had three hits on Friday, extending his hitting streak to eight games, in which he is hitting .382 (13 for 34).
- Alberto in his last eight starts is 10-for-29 (.345) with four doubles, one triple and eight RBIs in those games, which date back to July 12.
- Trea Turner had two hits and scored once, bringing her hit total to 132 this season. He’s second in the majors behind Freeman, who went 1-for-2 on Friday and scored two runs, giving him 134 hits this season.
- Padres infielder Matthew Batten pitched a scoreless eighth inning, and things got weird. Pitcher Tyler Anderson hit for Freeman and was called out.
- The Dodgers have won 19 of their last 21 games against National League West teams and are 33-12 against the division this season. It’s no coincidence that the Dodgers’ 13½-game lead over their Padres is their biggest NL West cushion of the year so far.
Home runs: nothing
WP-Tony Gonsolin (13-1): 5 IP, 3 hits, 1 run, 6 strikeouts
LP – Sean Manaea (6-6): 4 IP, 10 hits, 8 runs, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts
Andrew Heaney is scheduled to pitch Saturday (6:10 p.m., SportsNet LA), which would be the first time this season that he has made three straight major league starts. Mike Clevinger leaves for San Diego.