LOS ANGELES – Before this three-game series opened, manager Terry Francona was asked about the Dodgers, the team with the $ 260 million payroll and a full roster of All-Stars.
“Some teams are built for October, they look like they’re built for late October,” said Francona.
The Guardians did not see that team Friday night as they squeezed out a 2-1 win in 10 innings. On Saturday they saw a sampling of what Francona was talking about. The Dodgers had 11 hits, including 10 in five innings against Cal Quantrill, in a 7-1 win in front of over 50,000 fans at Dodger Stadium.
For as many hits and baserunners as Los Angeles had, it seemed like it should have scored twice as many runs. A stubborn streak by Quantrill and some decent relief work prevented that from happening.
As for the Guardians, they caught a glimpse of what life could be like without Jose Ramirez. The MVP candidate missed his first game of the season with a bruised right thumb. The Guardians, minus Ramirez, did not look like the same team that had won five straight and 15 of its last 19 games before Saturday.
Quantrill (4-4, 3.77) allowed five runs on 10 hits in five innings. He struck out four and walked one as his three-start winning streak came to an end. This was Quantrill’s fourth appearance against the Dodgers. The first three took place when he pitched for San Diego. He’s 1-3 with a 7.78 ERA against Hollywood’s team.
“They’re a good team,” said Quantrill. “I don’t think they’re vastly better than any of the other good teams we’ve faced. I didn’t throw the ball particularly well today. I didn’t command any of the off-speed pitches very well. It’s a tough one. “
Francona said the Dodgers not only took advantage of Quantrill’s mistakes, but his good pitches as well.
“Sometimes it feels like it can pile on a little bit,” said Quantrill. “You make a good pitch and they hit it. Then you make a bad pitch and they hit it even harder.
“I think Tito is being generous. Today I made quite a few bad pitches and paid the price. I competed. I got through five which was really important to me. But I really didn’t give the team a good chance to win today. “
When the Dodgers weren’t filling the bases, lefty Julio Urias was having his way with Guardians hitters. He allowed an unearned run in the first and then dominated until he was removed after six innings. Urias (4-6, 2.56) struck out six, walked two and allowed two hits as he ended a personal three-decision losing streak.
“Don’t get me wrong, Josie (is important to us),” said Francona, when asked if hitters put too much pressure on themselves without Ramirez. “But the Dodgers were without (Mookie) Betts. That guy (Urias) pitched really well. That’s more what it was. “
The Guardians took a 1-0 lead in the first. Then the Dodgers’ pitching staff, boasting the best ERA in the NL, said no more.
Urias had trouble getting into the game as he walked Amed Rosario and Owen Miller with one out. He struck out Oscar Gonzalez, but Rosario scored and Miller went to third when second baseman Max Muncy deflected Oscar Mercado’s hard grounder into center field for an error.
Quantrill, however, could not contain the Dodgers.
Through five innings they had 10 hits. Every starter except catcher Austin Barnes had at least one hit off Quantrill. Barnes tied the score at 1 with a sacrifice fly in the second after Cody Bellinger singled and Chris Taylor doubled him to third to start the inning.
Trea Turner followed with a two-run homer to put the Dodgers ahead, 3-1.
The Dodgers made it 5-1 in the third. Muncy walked to start the inning and Justin Turner doubled to the gap in left center. After Muncy scored, Turner continued to third as Rosario’s relay throw sailed wide of the plate.
Quantrill retired the next two batters, but Gavin Lux tripled to score Turner.
The Guardians didn’t have a hit until Gonzalez started the fourth with a single past Urias. Their only other hit was Rosario’s leadoff double in the sixth.
“Urias has everything,” said Francona. “He’s got velocity. He’s got the breaking ball. He’s got the whole package. There’s a reason their staff has the numbers they do and the two starters we just saw (Urias and Clayton Kershaw on Friday) are a big part of that. “
The Dodgers added single runs in the sixth and seventh. Anthony Castro forced home a run in the sixth with a bases-loaded walk to Justin Turner. Lux scored in the seventh when Nick Sandlin made an offline throw to first on Freeman’s hard shot back to the mound.
Next: RHP Shane Bieber (3-3, 3.01) will pitch the series finale against the Dodgers at 4:10 pm LHP Andrew Heaney (1-0, 0.00) will start for Los Angeles.
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