Dodgers get good news on Mookie Betts, then beat Mariners

Jorge Castillo
·5 min read
Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Julio Urias throws against the Seattle Mariners.
Dodgers pitcher Julio Urías throws against the Mariners in the first inning Tuesday in Seattle. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)

The best news the Dodgers could have received Tuesday, regardless of whatever happened on the field at T-Mobile Park, was confirmed before they beat the Seattle Mariners 1-0.

Manager Dave Roberts said X-rays on Mookie Betts’ right forearm were negative. He isn’t expected to miss extended time after he was hit by a pitch in the ninth inning Monday in a 4-3 loss to the Mariners.

Betts didn't play Tuesday — he was available only as a pinch-runner — but he’s expected to start Thursday when the Dodgers (14-4) open a four-game series against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium.

“I was hoping it would be soft tissue, something soft tissue,” Roberts said. “As opposed to the wrist or elbow or something like that. So I guess [this is] best-case scenario and there was a slight exhale once he wanted to stay in there. So that’s part of it, the soreness, but I think that we dodged a bullet there.”

The game itself was a pitcher’s duel. The Dodgers struggled to score for the fourth straight game, but a three-man pitching crew made sure the one run held up. Julio Urías recorded the best start of his career, Victor Gonzalez tossed a scoreless eighth inning, and vintage Kenley Jansen emerged to shut the door in the ninth for the Dodgers’ fifth shutout win in 11 games.

Urías held Seattle to one hit and a walk with a career-high 11 strikeouts over seven innings. The Mariners’ only hit off him was Mitch Haniger’s two-out dribbler for an infield single in the third inning. Their only other baserunner against Urias reached on a walk in the first inning.

“Today was just a clinic on pitching,” Roberts said.

Urías retired the final 13 batters he faced. He threw first-pitch strikes to 19 of the 23 hitters he faced and started 0-2 on 13 batters. He threw 88 pitches and generated 17 swing-and-misses. His slurve, a pitch he redesigned on the fly last season, finished off six of his strikeouts.

The performance was quite the reversal from his start in Seattle last August when he was removed after throwing 52 pitches in 1 2/3 innings.

“What Julio did today is what I’ve always thought of him,” catcher Austin Barnes said. “I think he’s an unbelievable pitcher.”

Gonzalez relieved his fellow Mexican and worked around a walk in the eighth inning, making a sprawling play for the third out. Jansen then emerged with his best stuff in years.

Haniger hit a long flyout to lead off the frame, but the Mariners (11-7) didn’t stand a chance otherwise. Jansen struck out the next two hitters — Kyle Lewis and Kyle Seager — on eight pitches.

Two of those pitches reached 97 mph — the first time Jansen has touched 97 mph since June 2018. He ended the dominant outing by getting Seager to swing through an 84-mph slider — the only one he threw — to end the game and avoid the Dodgers’ first three-game losing streak since August 2019.

Dodgers' AJ Pollock doubles against the Seattle Mariners.
The Dodgers' AJ Pollock doubles against the Mariners in the third inning on Tuesday in Seattle. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)

Jansen has faced 32 batters in eight innings this season. He’s surrendered two runs on two hits with six walks and 10 strikeouts.

“We’re kind of getting glimpses of old Kenley,” Barnes said.

The pitchers had no margin for error because the offense went missing again. Mariners left-hander Marco Gonzales entered the day with an 8.22 ERA in his first three starts, but he held the Dodgers to one run and two hits in seven innings. The Dodgers’ only three baserunners against him all reached in the third inning when Corey Seager’s two-out RBI single snapped the deadlock.

They mustered two walks off relievers in the eighth and ninth innings but no insurance runs.

The Dodgers have 13 hits and eight runs over their last four games. They’ve scored three or fewer runs in each of those games. And yet they went 2-2 and still own the best record in the majors.

“Baseball goes in waves,” Barnes said. “We started off pretty hot and we can win games in a lot of different ways. The hitting will come, but our pitchers always keep us in games.”

Injuries haven’t helped. Center fielder Cody Bellinger (fibula) and second baseman Gavin Lux (wrist) remain on the 10-day injured list. Roberts said Tuesday that he expects Lux to come off the injured list when he’s eligible early next week. The plan is for him to take on-field batting practice Thursday and face live pitching this weekend.

Roberts declined to give a timetable on Bellinger’s return. The center fielder hasn’t played since suffering a hairline fracture in his left fibula April 5. He still hasn’t run at full speed and will need to take live at-bats before returning. Roberts said Bellinger probably will face live pitching at the team’s alternate training site in Arizona.

Already without one former MVP, losing Betts for a long stretch would’ve been detrimental for the scuffling offense. But Betts should be back on the field Thursday, just in time for another round against the club’s stiffest competition in the National League West.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.