One timely swing by slumping Cody Bellinger turned a nip-and-tuck game in favor of the Dodgers.
Bellinger hit a grand slam to break a scoreless tie in the sixth inning and Los Angeles beat the sinking New York Mets 5-2 on Friday night behind Alex Wood’s effective pitching.
”Yeah A'Shawn Robinson Jersey , it felt good,” said Bellinger, who began the night batting .231. ”I was just honestly trying to hit the ball any way I could and luckily I connected.”
Yasiel Puig added a solo home run in the ninth, and the defending NL champions won their 10th straight against the Mets dating to May 2016. Los Angeles has outscored New York 75-20 in those games, winning each of the past eight by at least three runs – a first in Dodgers history against any opponent, according to STATS.
Wood (3-5) outdueled Zack Wheeler, allowing two runs and six hits in six innings to win consecutive starts for the first time since last August.
”With the last two, I feel I’ve made some steps forward, for sure. You’ve just got to keep building on it,” Wood said.
The left-hander with the funky delivery struck out seven and walked one as the resurgent Dodgers (39-35) improved to 23-9 since May 17 – the best mark in the majors during that stretch.
”I thought he threw the ball really well. So he’s back, for me,” manager Dave Roberts said . ”He seems very confident now.”
Jose Bautista hit his first homer for the Mets, a two-run shot in the sixth.
”It’s nice to get on the board,” he said. ”Hopefully a couple more coming.”
An error by second baseman Max Muncy gave New York a chance in the eighth, but with runners at the corners Scott Alexander got Bautista to ground into an inning-ending double play on the next pitch.
Muncy made the turn after a smooth play by shortstop Enrique Hernandez.
”It’ll help him sleep a lot better tonight,” Roberts said.
Alexander tossed two shutout innings, and Kenley Jansen fanned two in a perfect ninth for his 19th save.
New York wasted a dazzling catch by center fielder Michael Conforto that saved a run. After opening 11-1 Nevin Lawson Jersey , the Mets (31-42) have lost four in a row and 21 of 27 to fall a season-worst 11 games under .500. They are 1-11 in their past 12 home games and have gone 14 straight at Citi Field without eclipsing four runs.
”No real reason to explain it,” rookie manager Mickey Callaway said. ”I wish we were playing better for our home fans and giving them more wins. They deserve more wins.”
Wheeler (2-6) walked the first two batters in the sixth – though his full-count pitch to leadoff man Joc Pederson certainly appeared to be in the strike zone. One out later, Matt Kemp blooped a single to right field to load the bases.
Bellinger connected on an 0-2 delivery, launching a 96 mph fastball into the second deck in right for his second career slam. Last season’s NL Rookie of the Year entered the day hitting .179 with runners in scoring position.
”He was kind of blowing it by me all day. But then again, he’s got three other pitches so you can’t sell out 100 percent. Like I said, I just tried to have a short swing,” Bellinger said.
SOMETHING TO GROW ON
In the opener of a three-game series, Wheeler went seven innings but dropped to 0-5 in 10 starts since his last win April 29 at San Diego. He threw 114 pitches, his most since returning to the mound last year after missing two seasons while recovering from Tommy John surgery. ”Walked them and ended up paying for it,” Wheeler said. ”Thought I threw well tonight. In essence, just that one pitch.”
Dodgers: SS Chris Taylor sat out because of a tight left hamstring. He was available off the bench – probably just to hit, according to Roberts. … Reserve infielder Chase Utley was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list after missing 19 games with a sprained left thumb. … Rookie RHP Walker Buehler (right rib microfracture) is scheduled to throw 20-30 pitches in a bullpen session Saturday. He could return to the rotation without a minor league rehab assignment, Roberts said. Buehler is 4-1 with a 2.63 ERA in nine big league starts.
Mets: RHP Noah Syndergaard (strained ligament in right index finger) was scheduled to play catch. … OFs Yoenis Cespedes (tightness in upper right quad) and Jay Bruce (strained right hip) will not resume baseball activities until they are free of symptoms. … 3B David Wright (shoulder, back surgery) planned to hit in the indoor batting cage and go through other baseball activities on the field.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw (1-4, 2.76 ERA) is set to make a surprise return from the disabled list Saturday night, starting against Jacob deGrom (5-2, major league-low 1.51 ERA) in a marquee matchup – weather permitting. Kershaw has been sidelined since June 1 with a lower back strain. He originally was scheduled for a rehab start Saturday with Triple-A Oklahoma City at Omaha Taylor Decker Jersey , but heavy rain in the forecast caused the team to change plans. The three-time Cy Young Award winner and 2014 NL MVP, who also missed nearly all of May with left biceps tendinitis, will be limited against the Mets, with 21-year-old rookie LHP Caleb Ferguson (0-1, 7.59 ERA) ready in reserve.
MILWAUKEE — For the Atlanta Braves, the big question as they headed from a long three-game series in Yankee Stadium to Milwaukee concerns the status of star first baseman Freddie Freeman.
All indications are Freeman will play the opener of a four-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers, but it will not be official until the lineup card is posted Thursday afternoon at Miller Park.
“If you ask him, he’s going to say yes,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “But until we get there and see how it is, we won’t know. It was probably good that we got him out of there and started on some treatment.”
Freeman exited in the fourth inning of Thursday’s 6-2 loss to the New York Yankee Stadium with an upper right arm contusion. He was injured when he was hit in the third inning by CC Sabathia, and by pulling him early to get treatment, Freeman and the Braves hope the precautionary measure means he can play Thursday.
“Luckily, it didn’t hit my hand,” Freeman said. “I’ll take the elbow and a little soreness. As long as I have the strength in my arm tomorrow, I can deal with the pain.”
Atlanta is 4-2 on its 10-game trip. The Braves swept three games in St. Louis last weekend and took a 5-3, 11-inning victory over the Yankees on Monday before losing the last two games.
“I thought we handled ourselves really well,” Snitker said. “We won a really tough game the first night Golden Tate III Jersey , we put ourselves in a position to win today and today here we come again. The guys never quit. They know they can play with anybody and it’s a good sign.”
Milwaukee (51-35) is the first team in the National League to reach 50 wins after completing a three-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins with a 3-2 win on Wednesday.
Brad Miller and Nate Orf played roles in three close wins as Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell is employing a mix-and-match approach at shortstop. He is using that strategy while remaining optimistic that shortstop Orlando Arcia will rediscover his offensive stroke at Triple-A Colorado Springs and rejoin Milwaukee for a playoff push.
Miller has gotten off to a good start with the Brewers. He extended his hitting streak to nine games Wednesday and has a hit in 10 of 12 games since joining the team, with a pair of home runs.
Orf was batting .307 with an .875 OPS when he was summoned Monday from Triple-A and recorded his first career hit with a solo home run against the Twins.
Both are immediate offensive upgrades to Arcia, who was slashing .197/.231/.482 but remained in the regular lineup because of his defensive ability.
While Miller saw extensive action at the position earlier in his career and Orf has spent most of the season there at Colorado Springs, neither player is a natural shortstop so Counsell was prepared to sacrifice defense to shore up the bottom of the order.
“When we sent Orlando down, we had multiple players on the roster who aren’t true shortstops so we’re trying to find guys who can play shortstop and who can kind of fill in at shortstop,” he said. “I don’t think we have an answer, but this is how we’re going to try it.”
A more stable solution could be coming soon. Tyler Saladino was on a roll before suffering a severe ankle sprain on May 29.
In 16 games with the Brewers, he batted .324 with three home runs and eight RBIs while playing defense well enough to make it possible for Milwaukee to send Arcia down a first time on May 25.
Saladino has been rehabbing for the last week and could rejoin the team in the next few days.
“Tyler will be back soon and will end up having some of the shortstop duties,” Counsell said. “We’ll sit down here soon and figure that out.”
The right-handed hitting Orf is likely to get the starting nod Thursday when the Brewers face Braves left-hander Max Fried.
Fried (1-2, 2.55 ERA) returned to the rotation last week when Brandon McCarthy was placed on the disabled list and struck out 11 over 6 2/3 innings and earned his first victory of the season as Atlanta beat the Cardinals in St. Louis.
Fried remained with the team after his last outing but didn’t learn for sure that he’d get another start until Wednesday morning. He’s looking forward to getting his first taste of meaningful action as the two winningest teams in the National League face off for the first time this season.
Milwaukee counters with right-hander Jhoulys Chacin (6-3, 3.71) who bounced back from his worst outing of the season to hold the Cincinnati Reds to a run over five innings while striking out nine his last time out.
Signed to a two-year contract over the winter, Chacin has been a stabilizing force in the Brewers’ rotation. He leads the staff with 18 starts and 97 innings his season.
Chacin has pitched well against Atlanta throughout his career, posting a 3.94 ERA in six previous starts. Due to a lack of run support in those contests, is just 1-4 lifetime against the Braves.