MILWAUKEE — — The Los Angeles Dodgers had struggled against left-handed pitching all season and hadn’t solved Milwaukee’s Eric Lauer throughout his entire career.
They ended both those slumps emphatically Tuesday night.
Mookie Betts, Will Smith and Miguel Vargas homered to help the Dodgers withstand Noah Syndergaard‘s early exit in a 6-2 victory over Lauer and the Milwaukee Brewers. The Dodgers had been hitting an MLB-low .193 against lefties this season before breaking through against the left-handed Lauer.
“He’s had a lot of success against us, so it was good to kind of hit him around a little bit,” Betts said. “The main thing is we got the win.”
Lauer had gone 7-1 with a 2.37 ERA in 11 previous starts against the Dodgers. The only active pitcher who has made at least 10 starts against the Dodgers with a better ERA is San Diego’s Yu Darvish (2.36).
He wasn’t nearly as successful this time.
Lauer allowed four runs – three earned – in 3 2/3 innings. The unearned run was due to Lauer’s own errant pickoff attempt.
“I kind of felt like towards the end of my outing I was starting to kind of find it a little bit, but obviously, too little, too late,” Lauer said.
The news wasn’t all good for the Dodgers.
Syndergaard lasted only one inning because of a cut on the index finger of the 30-year-old right-hander’s pitching hand.
“I went to use the restroom before the game and looked own and my hand was bleeding pretty good,” Syndergaard said. “We tried to do what we could to make it serviceable but it just got to the point where it was probably going to just continue to open up.”
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said there’s a chance Syndergaard could end up on the injured list.
“I think we’ll know more in the next couple of days,” Roberts said. “He’s had it and put stuff on it to keep it at bay. Tonight, it just didn’t take.”
Phil Bickford, Justin Bruihl (1-0), Yency Almonte and Victor González combined to allow one hit over five innings of shutout relief as the Dodgers built a 6-0 lead. The Brewers’ only runs came in the seventh, when Rowdy Tellez and Victor Caratini homered off Shelby Miller.
After the Brewers put two runners against Brusdar Graterol in the ninth, Evan Phillips came out of the bullpen and retired Tyrone Taylor on a grounder for his sixth save in as many chances.
Betts sent Lauer’s second pitch of the night over the wall in left-center for his 39th leadoff homer, putting the Dodgers ahead for good. Smith hit a solo shot off Lauer in the third. Vargas added a two-run drive off Bryse Wilson in the sixth.
Los Angeles also got quality defense from Chris Taylor, whose outstanding play in left field brought back memories of the Dodgers’ 2018 NL Championship Series Game 7 victory over the Brewers in this stadium.
With two on and nobody out in the first inning, Taylor caught a Willy Adames drive in front of the left-field wall. Taylor followed that up by making a diving catch of a Christian Yelich liner in the third.
Taylor also robbed Yelich of a hit in the fifth inning of that 2018 game to preserve the Dodgers’ 2-1 lead in a 6-1 win.
“It was like that was 2018 revisited,” Roberts said. “Chris is playing some really good baseball.”
Brewers: RHP Gus Varland was activated from the injured list, over three weeks after a line drive from San Diego’s Manny Machado went off his pitching hand before striking him on the chin and left forearm. The hand issue had put him on the injured list. The Brewers optioned LHP Bennett Sousa to Triple-A Nashville.
Dodgers: DH J.D. Martinez (lower back tightness) is expected to return Friday for the start of a home series with San Diego. … Max Muncy played third base Tuesday. He was limited to a designated hitter role Monday due to an illness. … The Dodgers recalled Bruihl and placed RHP Caleb Ferguson on the paternity list.
Clayton Kershaw (5-2, 2.53) pitches for the Dodgers and Wade Miley (3-1, 2.31) starts for the Brewers as this three-game series concludes with a Wednesday matchup of left-handers. ——
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