Los Angeles Dodgers fans created a hostile environment throughout the night, but the Houston Astros got the last laugh with a 3-0 win in the series opener at Dodger Stadium.
Dodgers fans mercilessly booed the Astros during batting practice and threw their home run balls back onto the field, and carried that behavior into the game. The Astros did not homer in their victory, but foul falls and inflatable trash cans regularly spilled onto the field of play.
Walker Buehler appeared to feed off the intensity, but Houston’s top-ranked offense regularly made contact and forced him to labor.
Buehler induced a double play in the first inning to face the minimum and stranded a two-out double in the second. However, Martín Maldonado’s leadoff double in the third came back to cost him when Michael Brantley broke up the scoreless tie on his own extra-base hit with two outs.
Buehler left the bases loaded in the fourth inning and stranded two more in the sixth. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts appeared poised to bring the hook after a two-out walk, but stuck with the right-hander and was rewarded.
Buehler’s 113 pitches tied for a career high that was previously set on June 29 (he threw 117 in during the 2019 postseason). He’s gone at least six innings in 21 of 22 starts this season.
Unfortunately for Buehler, his effort was bested by Lance McCullers Jr. keeping his spotless history at Dodger Stadium intact. He scattered five hits and worked around a Carlos Correa error to shut out the Dodgers through 6.2 innings innings.
McCullers did exit with two on, though Blake Taylor ended the threat by striking out Max Muncy.
Victor Gonzalez’s struggles continued as he surrendered a two-run home run to Yordan Alvarez in the eighth inning. The insurance wasn’t needed, but did take some pressure off Kendall Graveman and Ryne Stanek over the final two innings.
L.A. did put two on in the eighth, only for Cody Bellinger to go down looking as the tying run at the plate. They left 10 runners on base and went 0-for-8 with men in scoring position.
Scherzer on deck for Dodgers debut
The Dodgers will look to avoid being swept by the Astros on Wednesday with Max Scherzer taking the mound for his debut with the team.
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