Walker Buehler turned in a valiant effort in his first career start on short rest and the Los Angeles Dodgers staved off elimination with a 7-2 win against the San Francisco Giants in Game 4 of the National League Division Series.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts didn’t have a hard pitch count on Buehler, and instead planned to focus on the right-hander’s mechanics and how the ball was coming out of his hand. Buehler was effective early and pitched with a fastball that averaged 96.3 mph, up one mph from the season.
Buehler faced some trouble in the second inning when singles by Kris Bryant and LaMonte Wade Jr. put two on with nobody out. Buehler wiggled out of the jam by retiring the next two batters and he didn’t allow another baserunner until Bryant’s walk with two outs in the fourth.
Buehler seemingly ran out of gas the next inning as a Steven Duggar walk put two on. Joe Kelly walked the bases loaded and traded an out for a run before getting through the inning.
The Dodgers’ bullpen otherwise was nearly spotless to finish out the game. The Giants only managed an RBI groundout against Blake Treinen in the eighth inning.
Meanwhile, L.A. again found early success against Anthony DeSclafani. Corey Seager’s base hit in the first inning was followed by an RBI double from Trea Turner that gave the Dodgers a 1-0 lead.
Chris Taylor’s sacrifice fly in the second inning added to the Dodgers’ lead. Taylor was primed to do more damage with the bases loaded in the third, but his line drive to left field was caught by LaMonte Wade Jr. on the run to end the inning.
The Dodgers would not be denied in the fourth as Buehler reaching on an error was followed by Mookie Betts going the other way for a two-run home run. Betts collected another RBI on a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning.
Will Smith effectively broke the game open in the eighth with a two-run homer.
While the Dodgers received contributions from multiple players, Gavin Lux and Cody Bellinger were instrumental in helping the bottom half of the lineup deliver. They combined to go 4-for-6 with two runs scored and two walks.
Dodgers turn to Urias
After taking Buehler up on his offer to start on short rest, the Dodgers now hand the ball to Julio Urias in winner-take-all Game 5 on Thursday. The outing will be on Urias’ normal turn through the rotation.
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