Walker Buehler turned in a fifth career double-digit strikeout performance (fourth this season) and Justin Turner carried the offense as the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the San Diego Padres, 4-1.
There were early signs Buehler would remain undefeated at Dodger Stadium this season as he struck out the side in the first inning and had four strikeouts through two perfect frames. Greg Garcia led off the third with a single, only for Buehler to strike out the next two batters.
When an error and base hit put two on with nobody out in the fourth, Buehler got Eric Hosmer swinging and induced an inning-ending double play. He benefitted from another double play to end an inning in the sixth after Fernando Tatis Jr. singled with one out.
Both were completed behind Turner throwing to Max Muncy at second base, who fired over to Cody Bellinger at first. They in some sense validated Dodgers manager Dave Roberts voicing confidence his team would improve defensively prior to first pitch.
“This is kind of putting it out in the universe, that, yeah, it’s over,” Roberts said of the Dodgers’ rut. “We’re going to be locked and loaded, we’re going to play the best defense we’ve played from here on out.”
Of course, the double plays came after Corey Seager’s error on a hard-hit ground ball in the fourth.
As Buehler was working on his gem, Turner broke the scoreless tie with a solo home run to left-center field in the fourth inning. The homer was Turner’s 17th this season and eighth in his last 22 games.
A leadoff double by Will Smith and Alex Verdugo’s base hit put two on and led to an RBI when Matt Beaty grounded into a force out. Runners again were at the corners after Hosmer’s throw to second base on Buehler’s sacrifice bunt attempt was wide and carried into center field.
Bloop singles from Muncy and Turner extended the Dodgers’ lead before the Padres could get through the fifth inning. Turner finished with a game-high two RBI one night after uncharacteristically finishing with three strikeouts.
Buehler allowed a solo home run to Manuel Margo in the eighth inning before finishing off his second career complete game. Buehler had 15 strikeouts, which was one short of tying a career high that was set in his first complete game this year.