Dodgers’ extra-inning frustrations continue in Arizona

PHOENIX — Back on April 16 at Petco Park, the Dodgers scored five times in the 12th inning to beat the San Diego Padres.

If they had known then that it might be their only extra-inning win of the season, maybe they would have savored it a little more.

The Dodgers spotted the Arizona Diamondbacks a three-run headstart, ran them down in eight innings but lost in the 10th, 6-5, on Friday night.

The Dodgers have ventured into the dark alley of extra innings 12 times this season and came out at the other end with a victory just that one time back in the innocent days of April.

This loss kept them in lockstep with the rest of the NL West’s big three. The Giants and Padres also lost, maintaining status quo in the division – the Dodgers three games back, the Padres 5½.

Max Scherzer can’t get here soon enough – literally, they could use a starter Saturday.

The trade that will bring Scherzer to the Dodgers eventually – he is scheduled to join the team in Arizona on Saturday and make his Dodgers debut most likely on Wednesday – cost the Dodgers their Saturday starter, Josiah Gray.

Some bullpen games are planned. Others are thrust upon you.

Starter Tony Gonsolin faced just 11 batters on Friday and walked five of them, putting the Dodgers in an early hole and setting off a conga line of relievers.

Scherzer’s arrival and Clayton Kershaw’s imminent return from the injured list have made Gonsolin’s days in the starting rotation numbered. It’s a spot he has never really had much of a grip on.

Gonsolin spent the first two months of the season nursing a shoulder injury. In 10 games (nine starts), he has only occasionally looked over it.

Gonsolin completed five innings just twice in those 10 games. His fastball velocity has been consistently low – he averaged 93.3 mph on Friday, down from 95.1 mph last season. And his command has been erratic. Friday was the fifth time he walked three or more batters in a game. In total, he has walked 26 batters in 35-2/3 innings this season.

The only damage the Diamondbacks could manage before Manager Dave Roberts got Gonsolin out of the game was a two-run double by Josh Van Meter. They added a single run in the fourth against Phil Bickford and two more against Brusdar Graterol and Alex Vesia in the sixth.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers had just three baserunners in the first five innings against Diamondbacks starter Zac Gallen – a walk, an error and a single. From the sixth through the 10th, though, they put 13 runners on base, chipping away with two runs each in the sixth and seventh innings. Chris Taylor drove in three of the four runs – one on a home run, two on a triple.

A pinch-hit RBI single by Albert Pujols in the eighth tied the score – and Kenley Jansen nearly untied it in the bottom of the eighth. Jansen loaded the bases before striking out Christian Walker and Carson Kelly.

But the Diamondbacks pushed across the winning run in the 10th against Jimmy Nelson, a double by Asdrubal Cabrera driving in the extra runner from second.

More to come on this story.

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Dodgers lose to Giants as Kenley Jansen lets another 9th-inning lead disappear

  • Dodgers starting pitcher Walker Buehler throws to the plate during Thursday’s game against the Giants at Dodger Stadium. Buehler held the Giants to one run in 7-1/3 innings, striking out nine, but the Dodgers blew another ninth-inning lead in a 5-3 loss. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Giants LaMonte Wade, #31, steals third base as Dodgers Justin Turner, #10, gets the throw late during first inning action against the SF Giants at Dodger Stadium Thursday, July 22, 2021. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers Walker Buehler, #21, gets checked for foreign substances by umpire Jansen Visconti after the first inning against the SF Giants at Dodger Stadium Thursday, July 22, 2021. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Giants starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani throws to the plate against the Dodgers during Thursday’s game at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers Justin Turner, #10, connected on this pitch for a ground single to drive in Chris Taylor during first inning action against the SF Giants at Dodger Stadium Thursday, July 22, 2021. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers Chris Taylor, #3, scores on a ground ball by Justin Turner during first inning action against the SF Giants at Dodger Stadium Thursday, July 22, 2021. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers shortstop Chris Taylor forces out the Giants’ Alex Dickerson at second on a throw from Max Muncy, not but the throw to first was late during second inning action against the SF Giants at Dodger Stadium Thursday, July 22, 2021. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ AJ Pollock is out as first as the Giants’ LaMonte Wade catches the ball during the second inning at Dodger Stadium Thursday, July 22, 2021. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers center fielder Cody Bellinger went deep to catch this ball hit by the Giants’ Wilmer Flores during the first inning on Thursday at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers starting pitcher Walker Buehler throws to the plate during the first inning against the Giants on Thursday at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ AJ Pollock is safe at first on a grounder as the Giants’ LaMonte Wade can’t make the play during the fourth inning on Thursday at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers relief pitcher Kenley Jansen shows his frustration after he thought he struck out the Giants’ Darin Ruf only for it to be called a bases-loaded walk during the ninth inning of Thursday night’s game at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers blew a ninth-inning lead and lost for the second night in a row. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, left, argues with first base umpire Ed Hickox after the Giants’ Darin Ruf was issued a bases-loaded walk during the ninth inning of Thursday night’s game at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers blew a ninth-inning lead and lost for the second night in a row. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, left, argues with first base umpire Ed Hickox after the Giants’ Darin Ruf was issued a bases-loaded walk during the ninth inning of Thursday night’s game at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers blew a ninth-inning lead and lost for the second night in a row. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Giants celebrate after scoring a pair of runs to cap their four-run ninth-inning rally against the Dodgers on Thursday night at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

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LOS ANGELES — A casual conversation with Dodgers manager Dave Roberts during batting practice Thursday afternoon ended with this pronouncement.

“Kenley’s getting the save tonight,” Roberts said, the ever-optimistic manager striding away confident in his pronouncement.

Roberts had no idea how wrong he would be.

Hours later, Roberts entrusted Kenley Jansen with another ninth-inning lead, his third in the past five days. By the time Jansen strode off the mound, the lead was gone again, Roberts had been ejected for the second consecutive game and the Dodgers were about to lose, 5-3, to the San Francisco Giants.

According to Elias Sports, this is the first time in franchise history the Dodgers have lost three consecutive games in which they led entering the ninth inning (in a single season).

“It’s a big series. It’s Dodgers-Giants,” Dodgers starter Walker Buehler said after taking a 3-1 lead into the eighth inning. “They’re in first place. Obviously, it’s something we’re accustomed to being in that position. We’ve just got to keep going. Obviously, we’ve got a lot of baseball left to play.

“It is what it is. But these stink to lose. We want to win. We want to play well. I think we’ve played well both nights. It just hasn’t gone our way.”

More than not going their way, the Dodgers followed their biggest win of the season with back-to-back gut-punch losses to a team they – in their heart of hearts and private moments – don’t believe is their equal.

But the Giants came to town one game ahead of the Dodgers in the NL West and they leave having stretched that lead to three games thanks to ninth-inning rallies Wednesday (three runs) and Thursday (four runs). The two ancient rivals will catch their breath over the weekend then meet again for three more games starting Tuesday in San Francisco.

“First of all, Kenley’s been great for us all year. He’s been our closer and he’s been dominant,” said catcher Will Smith, whose two-run home run in the fourth inning gave the Dodgers their lead. “Tonight … he gets a ground ball with two outs, we didn’t make the play. Strikes a guy out, we didn’t get the call. They tie it up.

“It’s more the chips didn’t fall his way than anything he’s doing wrong. He’s been great all year.”

There were chips scattered all over the infield by the end of the ninth inning Thursday.

Buehler passed the lead to Blake Treinen in the eighth and Treinen retired both batters he faced easily, throwing just seven pitches – two fewer than he needed to retire the side in the eighth inning Wednesday.

When Jansen was shown on the video boards as he warmed up before the ninth inning, it set off a nervous rumble through the crowd, notes of discontent unmistakable Then he made their worst fears come true.

After striking out Yastrzemski to start the inning, Jansen gave up a single to Wilmer Flores – distinct improvement over the two-run home run Jansen served up to Flores in the ninth inning Wednesday. That brought the tying run to the plate.

Jansen struck out Alex Dickerson but Donovan Solano doubled over Cody Bellinger’s head in center field, putting the tying runs in scoring position. With the crowd on its feet – no doubt, many prepared to boo Jansen for a second consecutive night – Jansen walked pinch-hitter Jason Vosler to load the bases (after getting ahead 1-and-2 in the at-bat).

Thairo Estrada bounced a slow ground ball to shortstop Chris Taylor, who threw to Sheldon Neuse (in the game as a defensive replacement that inning) at second for the forceout that briefly ended the game.

Only briefly. A replay review overturned the original call, a run scored and the drama continued.

“Estrada’s a really good runner,” Roberts said, defending Taylor’s decision to go for the force at second on Vosler rather than make the play to first. “It’s a jailbreak and we had the force play. Sheldon’s a heckuva ballplayer, a heckuva defensive player. But I just think right there in that situation if we stretch, we get the guy and there’s no replay. But that’s part of baseball.”

The next batter, Darin Ruf, worked the count full against Jansen then checked his swing on the seventh pitch of the at-bat – a cutter up and away.

At least that’s what one person – and probably only one – thought. First base umpire Ed Hickox signaled no swing, allowing Ruf to walk and force in the tying run.

Roberts erupted from the Dodgers dugout, firing his hat into the ground and quickly getting ejected.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that he went and the game should have been over,” Roberts said. “Eddie’s a very good umpire, been around a long time. But in that spot, two contending teams, you just can’t miss that call. The game should have been over and there’s no other way to look at it.”

Instead, Jansen’s next pitch decided it. LaMonte Wade Jr. lined a soft cutter into right field. It fell in front of Billy McKinney, freshly arrived from the New York Mets and no substitute defensively for Mookie Betts. Two runs scored on the single, the fifth consecutive batter to reach safely with two outs against Jansen.

“There’s a lot of people that are really pissed off and I’m leading the way,” Roberts said. “We should have won that game. It’s a game we really wanted, we had and we didn’t.

“The game should have been over, man. I don’t think the blame should be all on Kenley at all.”

Nonetheless, in three appearances since the All-Star break Jansen has faced 19 batters and allowed 13 of them to reach base on nine hits (including three doubles and a home run) and four walks – all while blowing three save situations.

“I thought that play at second base, if we stretch, he’s out and the game’s over,” Roberts said. “The checked swing, the game’s over and we’re not having this conversation. I’m not reconsidering his role.”

Will Smith unloads on one for the lead! #Dodgers pic.twitter.com/ZoMa4gwxzQ

— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) July 23, 2021

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Alexander: Dodgers’ Kenley Jansen has a rough night and hears about it

It is undoubtedly small consolation – or maybe no consolation at all – to frustrated Dodger fans, both the ones booing in the ballpark and the ones yelling at their TVs, phones or tablets on Wednesday night while watching him squander a lead to the Giants with a share of first place on the line.

It might drive you crazy that he’s not perfect, as closers are expected to be (and aren’t). It’s likely tough to take that any momentum gained from Tuesday night’s dramatic comeback victory was squandered in the time it took Wilmer Flores to redirect Jansen’s high cutter 406 feet into the left field pavilion, wiping out a 2-1 Dodger lead.

But Jansen doesn’t hide. He displays rare accountability in an era when locker rooms are closed and it’s easier than ever for an athlete to avoid questions about why he failed. He deserves credit for that, at least.

A while after the Giants had closed out their 4-2 victory on Wednesday night and regained a two-game lead over the Dodgers in the National League West, Jansen followed starting pitcher Julio Urias into the Zoom session to answer questions about what went wrong. Most relievers, most players period, wouldn’t have come near the camera and microphone under similar circumstances.

“Obviously, it’s not a good one today,” he said. “You know, you just got to shake it off, let it go and get back on that horse tomorrow. That’s pretty much it. … Can’t overthink it. Can’t let it become a mind game. You just got to move on from it. And tomorrow’s a new day. Brand new day.

“… I didn’t get my job done today. I’m going to focus on getting back tomorrow. Like I say, I worked my butt off. And at the end of the day, I’m just going to come out here and compete and help the Dodgers win ballgames, that’s all. So today wasn’t a great day and we’ll move on from that.”

That last part was in response to a question about the boos, which were loud after the home run and far louder when he was removed after giving up another hit and two walks.

Jansen wouldn’t directly discuss the crowd reaction, which makes sense. That’s a no-win situation. But Dodgers manager Dave Roberts did, when asked if the home fans’ reaction to Jansen bothered him.

“It does,” he said. “It does. The fans certainly have a right to voice their frustrations, and absolutely I get that. But I do believe that this guy is born and raised as a Dodger. He cares about the Dodgers, the fan base, and he’s shown that on the field, off the field. And no one hurts more than he does, to be quite honest.

“He’s worked really hard to get back and should have been an All-Star this year. And he’s had a fantastic season. So there was a hiccup the other night (Sunday in Denver, when a ninth-inning lead got away). And to have one at home – he was looking forward to pitching at home. And so for it to not go well, yeah, I’m disappointed to hear that (reaction), certainly. He’s not going to say it, but I am.”

For the record, going into the evening Jansen had converted 21 of 24 save opportunities and had a 1.45 ERA, a 1.04 WHIP and a .140 opponents’ batting average.

And yet he has walked a thin ledge ever since the 2017 World Series against Houston, when untimely home runs by Marwin Gonzalez in Game 2 (not trash can-aided, as far as we can tell) and Alex Bregman in Game 4 (you be the judge) represented a dividing line. Before that he’d never given up more than six home runs in a season. Afterward, he gave up 13 in 2018 (plus two in his four innings in the World Series) and nine in 2019 and reached a point the last two seasons when he was no longer automatically trusted in key situations.

For the most part, he has regained his manager’s trust. But games like this bring back old, bad memories to the fan base.

On Wednesday night, Victor González inherited Jansen’s mess, got the second out but walked Curt Casali on a 3-and-1 pitch above the knees that resembled a strike to everyone watching except home plate umpire Andy Fletcher and, presumably, those in gray uniforms. That walk forced in the Giants’ fourth run of the night, left González with a stunned look on his face and left Roberts so mad he got ejected after the top of the ninth.

That blown lead wiped out any residue of the euphoria from the previous night, when Will Smith’s pinch-hit, three-run walk-off homer in the ninth completed a comeback from a 6-1 deficit and gave the Dodgers an 8-6 victory and, according to common wisdom, the momentum needed to catch the Giants.

They won’t catch them this week. The best the defending World Series champs can do is win Thursday night to split the four-game series and again pull within a game, for the third time in a week. They’ll get three more cracks at the Giants next week in San Francisco. And Roberts made it clear to SCNG colleague Bill Plunkett that he will not re-think Jansen’s role in the Dodgers’ bullpen … though that can always change.

The trade deadline is now eight days away. The Dodgers’ clear and pressing need is for at least one additional starting pitcher.

But the Cubs’ Craig Kimbrel is available.

jalexander@scng.com

@Jim_Alexander on Twitter

“Obviously it’s not a good one today. You’ve just got to shake it off. Let it go and get back on that horse tomorrow. That’s pretty much it.” @kenleyjansen74 on his performance tonight. pic.twitter.com/zAeeVspjFj

— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) July 22, 2021

Wilmer for the lead! 😱 pic.twitter.com/9pr6IqMHIw

— MLB (@MLB) July 22, 2021

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Dodgers rally past Giants on Will Smith’s walk-off homer

LOS ANGELES — In this case, the Black Knight from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” came back to win on a walk-off home run.

Already playing without Mookie Betts (for the past three games) and Corey Seager (for the past two months) and featuring a patchwork pitching staff that had them sending out a pair of rookies to cover the first six innings of a key game in a showdown series for first place in the NL West, the Dodgers were further depleted when Justin Turner (left knee) and Max Muncy (right shoulder) each left Tuesday’s game after being hit by pitches from Giants starter Alex Wood.

’Tis but a flesh wound.

With Chris Taylor doing the heavy lifting and Will Smith striking the final blow, the Dodgers came back from five runs down to beat the Giants, 8-6, on Smith’s pinch-hit, three-run walk-off home run.

“That was huge for us. Obviously, this is a huge series for us,” Taylor said, in no way overstating things. “They took that first one from us and jumped out to an early lead in the second one. So for us to kind of stick with it, come back and find a way to win a game – that’s probably our biggest win of the year so far.”

That’s hard to deny as well.

The Dodgers came into this four-game series against the Giants trying to wrest away first place with one arm tied behind their back.

In Monday’s series opener, they started Tony Gonsolin, whose command and velocity are both off. He didn’t make it through four innings and the Dodgers lost. In the second game Tuesday, the Dodgers got a combined six innings from a pair of rookies, Darien Nunez (in his first big-league start and fourth big-league game) and Josiah Gray (making his MLB debut). But the pair gave up four home runs and the Dodgers trailed, 6-1, in the fifth inning.

“I’ll echo that, what CT said. … Division rival, the team we’re chasing. …. Staring down a 6-1 deficit at one point, lose a couple players in the middle of the game,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said, also measuring the comeback win as “huge.”

The Dodgers were in danger of dropping three games behind the Giants – a team that has surprised everyone by pitching better than expected and hitting far more home runs than would reasonably have been predicted by anything other than Farhan Zaidi’s laptop.

Alex Dickerson homered off Nunez. Gray had his moments, striking out seven in the first four innings of his big-league career (including four batters in a row at one point). But his mistakes traveled more than 400 feet, something that tends to happen with frequency in the big leagues.

LaMonte Wade Jr., Thairo Estrada and Mike Yastrzemski each took Gray deep, giving the Giants 142 home runs this season and moving them past the Toronto Blue Jays for the major-league lead. The Giants ranked 12th in the majors in home runs last season and 26th during the last full season, 2019.

Taylor was the Dodgers’ only answer.

“He was great. He had a big night,” Roberts said. “He’s relentless. With two superstars out of the game (Turner and Muncy) and Mookie unavailable, he carried us tonight.”

Taylor led off the game with a double and scored on an RBI single by Muncy. In the fifth inning, he drove a solo home run over the left field fence.

That was all the damage the Dodgers did against Wood. But after he left, Austin Barnes had an RBI double against reliever John Brebbia and Taylor struck again, driving in two with his second home run of the game.

That cut the Giants’ lead to one, 6-5 – within walking distance, as it turned out.

“Yeah, losing JT and Munce is definitely a tough blow – especially when you’re fighting from behind,” Taylor said. “I think we just put our heads down and focused on every out, every at-bat, one inning at a time. We slowly worked our way back into it and gave ourselves a chance at the end.”

Taylor Rogers gave them that chance. The Giants reliever threw six consecutive balls to start the ninth and walked both Taylor and Matt Beaty. Smith came off the bench and hammered one of only three pitches Rogers managed to put over the plate, driving it deep into the left field pavilion as the crowd erupted.

“The 0-0 was actually a pretty good pitch to hit,” Smith said recapping his big moment. “Took it. (He) hung a slider, I put a good swing on it, got it in the air to left and I got it out.”

Smith’s collection of clutch hits includes another pinch-hit walk-off home run (on June 23, 2019 – part of “Rookie Walk-off Weekend”). According to Stats LLC, Smith and Hall of Famer Willie McCovey are the only players in major-league history with two pinch-hit, walk-off home runs before their 27th birthday.

“Will, coming off the bench, just calm and cool – he just keeps getting big hits,” Roberts said.

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Dodgers’ bats go silent against Giants’ bullpen in loss

  • Dodgers center fielder Cody Bellinger goes to the turn to catch a ball hit by the Giants’ Mike Yastrzemski during the second inning of Monday’s game at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers starting pitcher Tony Gonsolin throws to the plate during Monday’s game against the Giants at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Giants’ Buster Posey, center, is greeted by teammates as he returns to the dugout after hitting a two-run home run during the first inning of Monday’s game against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Giants starting pitcher Kevin Gausman throws to the plate during Monday’s game against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ Max Muncy points to the sky as he trots toward home plate after hitting a home run during the first inning of Monday’s game against the Giants at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ Justin Turner connects for a home run during the first inning of Monday’s game against the Giants at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ Justin Turner, left, and Max Muncy celebrate after they both hit home runs during the first inning of Monday’s game against the Giants at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers second baseman Zach McKinstry catches a pop-up by the Giants’ Thairo Estrada during the second inning of Monday’s game at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ James Sherfy breaks his bat as he connects on a pitch from the Giants’ Zack Littell during the fourth inning of Monday’s game at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers shortstop Chris Taylor stops a ground ball hit by the Giants’ Steven Duggar during the fifth inning of Monday’s game at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ Max Muncy is forced out at second base as the Giants’ Donovan Solano throws to first to complete a double play during the sixth inning of Monday’s game at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers relief pitcher Victor Gonzalez prepares to throw to the plate during the seventh inning of Monday’s game at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Giants’ Donovan Solano slides home safely as Dodgers catcher Will Smith waits for the throw during the seventh inning of Monday’s game at Dodger Stadium. The Giants scored four runs in the seventh to take control of the game and won, 7-2. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

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LOS ANGELES — Thairo Estrada, a 25-year-old infielder from Venezuela, was briefly out of work when the New York Yankees designated him for assignment in April. He was traded to the San Francisco Giants for cash a few days later.

Flash forward a few months, a few trips back and forth from Triple-A. Estrada found himself replacing an injured All-Star, Brandon Crawford, in a pivotal game at Dodger Stadium on Monday night. First place in the National League West was on the line.

Not long ago, it seemed the Dodgers had cornered the market on their depth players coming through in the clutch. Never mind that Estrada was a journeyman with a .214 batting average when the season began. He slapped a bases-clearing double to the outfield against Victor Gonzalez, the dagger in the Dodgers’ 7-2 defeat before an announced crowd of 50,970.

The Dodgers knocked out Kevin Gausman, the Giants’ best starter, after three innings. The Giants knocked out Tony Gonsolin (1-1) in the fourth. The bullpens took it from there with the Dodgers trailing, 3-2.

While the Giants threatened often, they did not score again until Gonzalez took over in the seventh inning. It was the left-hander’s first game back from a bout with plantar fasciitis that relegated him to the 10-day injured list.

Gonzalez faced six batters and allowed four hits, including a pair of doubles – by Estrada and Austin Slater – that broke the game open.

The Dodgers’ offense did the bullpen no favors. They did not record a hit between Zach McKinstry’s double to lead off the second inning and AJ Pollock’s single to begin the ninth. The Giants outhit the Dodgers 12-4.

“You have to continue to get baserunners and tack on runs,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “They did a good job tonight. To get (Gausman) out of the game, get to the ’pen early, well done. When you get to the ’pen, you have to go for the jugular. Those guys kept us at bay.”

Five San Francisco relievers limited the Dodgers to two baserunners over the final six innings while striking out six.

So it was that the Dodgers (58-37) fell two games out of first place in the National League West. They’re 3-4 against the Giants (59-34) at home this season, losing twice to San Francisco in games that would have given them at least a share of first place.

The longtime rivals have the two best records in all of MLB. For the Dodgers, who fell out of first place in the division on April 29, being second-best never is of little consolation.

“Obviously we’ve got these guys three more times” this week, Roberts said. “I know my focus is to win a baseball game tomorrow. That’s all we can control.”

Both teams hit back-to-back home runs in the first inning.

Buster Posey, making his return from a left thumb contusion, hit a two-run home run in the first. Two pitches later, Wilmer Flores socked a solo home run to left field to give the Giants a 3-0 lead.

In the bottom of the first, Max Muncy greeted Gausman with a solo home run, a towering fly ball that nudged its way inside the right field foul pole. Of Muncy’s 38 career hits against the Giants, 16 are home runs. Eight of Muncy’s 22 home runs this season have come against the Giants.

The next batter, Justin Turner, hit a home run to left-center field, his 17th of the season.

Gonsolin labored through 3⅓ innings, allowing five hits, three runs, and walking four batters. His earned-run average rose from 2.13 to 2.83. His fastball velocity dipped below 90 mph in the fourth inning.

“I felt like I didn’t have great energy today,” Gonsolin said.

While the right-hander began the season on the injured list with shoulder inflammation, the Dodgers filled the fifth starter’s job with a series of bullpen games, effectively holding Gonsolin’s place in the rotation for a month.

Since his return, Gonsolin has completed more than four innings only once in seven starts. His four-seam fastball averaged 95 mph last season. This year it’s down to 93.

Gonsolin has focused on his mechanics between games. He’s pitched exclusively out of the stretch at times. On Monday, he looked no closer to an answer.

“I’m not locating well with the heater,” Gonsolin said. “Slider is hit or miss. Splitter is about hit or miss. Curveball’s actually decent right now.”

After taking part in pregame activities with his teammates on the field, Mookie Betts was scratched from the starting lineup because of irritation in his right hip. Matt Beaty took over in right field and Zach Reks got the start in left.

Betts batted as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning and struck out against left-hander Jake McGee. He will return to the starting lineup Tuesday, Roberts said.

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Dodgers set stadium record for runs scored in win over Diamondbacks

  • Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers rounds the bases after hitting a grand slam ome run against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the second inning at Dodger Stadium on July 10, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

  • Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates with Chris Taylor #3, Mookie Betts #50 and Walker Buehler #21 after hitting a grand slam home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the second inning at Dodger Stadium on July 10, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

  • Max Muncy #13 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts at second base after hitting a double sending Mookie Betts and Chris Taylor home to score against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning at Dodger Stadium on July 10, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

  • Cody Bellinger #35 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a two-run home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning at Dodger Stadium on July 10, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. Max Muncy scored. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

  • Cody Bellinger #35 of the Los Angeles Dodgers looks on as he hits a two-run home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning at Dodger Stadium on July 10, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. Max Muncy scored. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

  • Caleb Smith #31 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning at Dodger Stadium on July 10, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

  • Cody Bellinger #35 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates with manager Dave Roberts #30 after hitting a two-run home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning at Dodger Stadium on July 10, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. Max Muncy scored. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

  • Caleb Smith #31 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning at Dodger Stadium on July 10, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

  • Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates with Albert Pujols #55 after hitting a grand slam home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the second inning at Dodger Stadium on July 10, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

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LOS ANGELES ― Arizona Diamondbacks left fielder David Peralta camped under a fly ball, watched it fall into his glove, then watched it bounce out and onto the turf at Dodger Stadium. The final out of the seventh inning was squandered.

The next two hitters, Zach McKinstry and Albert Pujols, hit home runs. It was that kind of night.

The Dodgers tied a franchise record by hitting eight home runs in a 22-1 victory over the D-backs. Two were grand slams; Justin Turner hit one in the second inning and Mookie Betts hit another in the seventh. AJ Pollock hit two solo homers against his former team. Pujols hit the 674th and 675th home runs of his career.

Manager Dave Roberts said it was the Dodgers’ best single-game offensive performance in his six seasons as manager. They had only scored 22 runs once before since leaving Brooklyn in 1958, and that was in the offensive haven of Denver’s Coors Field on July 21, 2001. They had never scored 22 runs in a game at Dodger Stadium.

“You’re playing so many close games throughout the year, then to have a game like this, everyone’s playing loose,” Pollock said. “It’s a fun game.”

Cody Bellinger slugged his fourth home run of the season, ending a 3 for 39 malaise in the batter’s box since his last homer on June 27.

Pujols was not nearly so patient. He annihilated a 61-mph fastball from Josh Reddick ― the veteran outfielder making his first career pitching appearance ― in the eighth inning. It was his second homer in as many innings, and his eighth in 38 games since joining the Dodgers in May.

Pujols also hit five home runs in 24 games with the Angels, giving him 13 for the season.

Every Dodger hitter, starter or reserve, reached base at least once. That includes rookie reliever Garrett Cleavinger, who lined a double into left field against Reddick.

“That’s a sign of a really good club: regardless of the score we try to keep winning pitches, not give at-bats away,” Roberts said. “When you do that, good things can really happen.”

The team collected 21 hits, turning the box score into a fantasy baseball owner’s fever dream.

Pollock went 4 for 4. Pujols went 3 for 6. Turner went 3 for 4. Betts went 2 for 3, drew three walks, and finished the game at second base after starting in right field. Gavin Lux, who only replaced Chris Taylor at shortstop in the fourth inning, still had time to finish 1 for 4 with a bases-clearing triple in the eighth inning.

The hits came in bunches. The Dodgers scored five runs in the first and four in the second. They put the game in cruise control until the seventh inning, when they scored seven more runs, helped by Peralta’s error. Another six runs scored in the eighth. The Dodgers finished 8 for 17 with runners in scoring position.

Staked to a 9-0 lead after two innings, starting pitcher Walker Buehler (9-1) followed a wide aisle to a victory.

Buehler, who was named to the National League All-Star team earlier Saturday, threw six scoreless innings before the announced crowd of 44,654. The right-hander walked two batters and struck out seven.

His biggest challenge: maintaining focus in a low-stakes game with little chance of losing.

“I think the biggest thing is still trying to remain hypercritical of yourself,” Buehler said. “Screaming at yourself. Doing stupid stuff. I want to get deep into games, help our team, and preserve the bullpen when I get the ball. It’s a big part of growing into what I want to be.”

Buehler’s stress-free, 95-pitch effort left him in fine shape to pitch at some point in Tuesday’s All-Star Game, Roberts said. Earlier Saturday, Roberts said he had not determined who will start and who will relieve that game for the National League. He mentioned Buehler as a candidate alongside the Nationals’ Max Scherzer and the Rockies’ German Marquez.

Arizona (26-65) holds the worst record in baseball, but managed to beat the Dodgers (55-35) for the first time in eight tries Friday. The Dodgers issued seven walks and committed two errors in that game. Saturday’s outcome could not have been more different. What changed?

“Just a new day,” Pollock said. “It’s baseball.”

“I have no idea,” Roberts said.

“With us, it’s about how we play,” Buehler said. “I know that sounds kind of weird and, I don’t want to say arrogant, but that’s how we feel about our team. If we play good, we feel like we have a really good chance to win games. I think yesterday we just didn’t play very well. Today we played really good. That’s a big part of it.”

The Dodgers have one game remaining before the All-Star break. They are two games behind the San Francisco Giants (56-32) for first place in the National League West. They can only hope they saved some momentum for Sunday.

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Dodgers commit 2 errors, issue 7 walks in loss to Diamondbacks

LOS ANGELES ― Friday was a bullpen game for the Dodgers. That much was planned.

Issuing seven walks and committing two errors against the worst team in baseball? That was all spur of the moment.

The Dodgers’ 5-2 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks was difficult to watch.

AJ Pollock did most of the damage on offense against his former team. He hit a solo home run in the third inning against Diamondbacks starter Taylor Widener. He led off the seventh inning with a double and scored on a pair of groundouts.

Pollock finished 2 for 3 with a walk out of the number-8 spot in the batting order. The rest of the Dodgers went 3 for 29 with seven strikeouts. They went 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position and left six runners on base.

With the lineup struggling to score against the Diamondbacks – who lost 17 consecutive games at one point this season and are currently 26-64 – the particulars of the bullpen game might not have mattered to the final outcome.

The particulars weren’t always pretty. Rookie right-hander Edwin Uceta walked three of the six batters he faced in the ninth inning, the last one with the bases loaded. Another rookie, Jake Reed, followed and issued a bases-loaded walk himself. That provided the final score.

The Dodgers (54-35) have lost four of their last five games.

“When you’re not scoring runs consistently, things certainly get more magnified,” Manager Dave Roberts said. “It’s hard to pitch perfect. We’ve got to be good on defense. When you’re not scoring runs, you’ve got to make sure those things are airtight. Tonight it wasn’t so.”

Starter David Price navigated more traffic than some in the announced crowd of 49,215 at Dodger Stadium over three scoreless innings.

Price, who joined the Dodgers’ short-term rotation plans in the absence of Clayton Kershaw and Trevor Bauer, allowed four hits, walked one and hit another batter. He struck out David Peralta with the bases loaded to end the first inning. He struck out Peralta again and got Asdrubal Cabrera to ground out, to strand a pair of runners in the third inning. His day ended after 51 pitches.

After the game Price lamented his efficiency. Overall it was a promising performance for the 35-year-old lefty. He’s a veteran of 315 major league starts, ninth among active pitchers. He’ll take batting practice with the other starters tomorrow.

Price, Roberts said, “answered the bell.”

For the most part, the six relievers who followed were only as successful as the fielders behind them.

Darien Nuñez made his major league debut in the fourth inning and retired the side in order. The fifth inning didn’t go as well for the 28-year-old lefty.

Nick Ahmed hit a dribbler to third base, where Justin Turner allowed the ball to sneak under his glove into left field. Ahmed reached second base, then stole third. No team has allowed more steals of third base this season (nine) than the Dodgers.

One batter later, Eduardo Escobar poked a home run over the short fence in right field, giving the Diamondbacks a 2-1 lead. Only one of the two runs was earned. Nuñez was stuck with an 0-1 record and a 4.50 career ERA.

Another error led to another Arizona run in the seventh inning.

With Joe Kelly on the mound and Josh Rojas on first base after a walk, Dodgers first baseman Max Muncy tried to backhand a softly hit ground ball off Escobar’s bat. The ball trickled under Muncy’s glove into right field, Rojas reached third base, and the Diamondbacks had new life with one out.

Kelly hit Christian Walker with an errant changeup to load the bases, then got the ground ball he needed from Peralta. Yet by the time Gavin Lux got to it behind second base, all four runners were safe. The Dodgers trailed, 3-1.

In the ninth inning, Uceta and Reed became the third and fourth rookies to take the ball in relief. Their combined line: One inning, one hit, two runs, four walks, two strikeouts.

“It’s kind of a byproduct of where our guys are at, as far as workload and how things have worked out,” Roberts said of the rookies’ usage. “I thought it was a very good debut for Nuñez. He gave up a homer on a ball at the top of the zone. For him to go out and give us two innings, that was good.”

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Josh Rawitch rises from Dodgers intern to Hall of Fame President

The first choice a man must make before entering Cooperstown, New York is an airport: Albany or Syracuse. Last week, Josh Rawitch chose Albany. His new job ― his new life ― awaits 70 miles to the west, a remote and frigid place for a kid from the San Fernando Valley.

It’s a massive transition for Rawitch, 44, rife with many choices beyond the arriving airport. The newly appointed president of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum has two months to sort it all out.

Shopping will be critical. Rawitch said he does not own winter clothing. Neither does his wife, Erin, or their two children. The couple met while attending Indiana University Bloomington. They relocated to Los Angeles, then Phoenix. Their definition of winter hasn’t involved snow since college.

In Cooperstown, snow was recorded in the region over 11 separate days in January.

“We’re buying entirely new wardrobes,” Rawitch said in a telephone interview from Albany.

The film industry routinely upcycles stories of small-town dreamers with big-city ambitions. Rawitch is taking the opposite path from Chatsworth to Cooperstown (population 2,032), a story seldom told.

His father, Bob, worked for the Los Angeles Times as a reporter and editor. His mother, Cynthia, is a retired professor and administrator at Cal State Northridge. They fostered Josh’s love for baseball as a child, taking him to his first game at Dodger Stadium late in the 1983 season.

The love never faltered. In 1995, a 17-year-old Rawitch landed an internship with the Dodgers. His first assignments were in advertising and special events ― “basically marketing before they called it marketing,” Rawitch said. He helped with a fan appreciation event called Think Blue Week. He wrote scripts for the public address announcer. Nobody made him fetch coffee that he could recall.

“Everybody who’s done this, it’s intoxicating,” Rawitch said. “You just can’t help but be smiling when you’re around (baseball). I remember Tommy Lasorda used to say all the time, ‘if you do what you love you never work a day in your life.’ There’s only a handful of days in almost 30 years that I feel like I was actually working.”

Early in his internship, Rawitch said he had designs of becoming a major league general manager. He even asked Dodgers’ GM at the time, Fred Claire, for 30 minutes to pick his brain. (Claire obliged.)

But Rawitch’s career did not follow that path. After college he covered the Dodgers for MLB.com. He transitioned to the team’s public relations department, eventually becoming vice president of communications. He took a similar job with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2012 and has been there ever since. The Hall of Fame president’s job became available when Tim Mead, the Angels’ former VP of communications, resigned in April.

This job is more prestigious than that of a GM in many ways. The Hall of Fame has employed eight presidents in its 82-year history. There are 30 major league general managers, or their equivalent in title. Their average shelf life is far shorter than 10 years.

The Hall of Fame President does a lot of general managing too, albeit for a nonprofit educational institution with fewer than 100 full-time employees, in a bucolic setting more than an hour’s drive from the nearest major city. During Rawitch’s second interview in Cooperstown, he said, the uniqueness of the job crystallized.

“You recognize how much passion each person has not just for baseball but for Cooperstown ― the pride in living in the village and taking care of each other,” Rawitch said. “It’s the quintessential American town. A part of that is intriguing to me. Being able to stay in baseball with such a prestigious organization but not be tied to the baseball schedule like I have the last 27 years, being able to be home for dinner ― literally a 2-minute walk from the office to the house ― that’s really intriguing as well.”

There are others in baseball with Rawitch’s passion. Some even have a comparable resume. What makes him best suited for the task?

“His personality, his people skills, he is a solution guy, his positive attitude, his ability to articulate the correct way of doing it,” said Dan Evans, who worked with Rawitch as the Dodgers’ GM from 2001-04. “Being bilingual makes him more special because he’s able to communicate directly with 95 percent of the people in the game. He brings a consistent professionalism that’s above and beyond most other people. He combines it with a passion for people and for relationships. That’s a remarkable strand of DNA.”

Claire said he once received a stack of media guides from an 18-year-old Rawitch while eating breakfast at the Pie ‘N Burger in Pasadena. Those memories exist as a flash now, but they lasted long enough that Claire was not surprised by the news of Rawitch’s new title.

“I think it’s a perfect job for him,” Claire said. “I donated the 1988 World Series ball to the Hall of Fame a number of years ago. I’m sure Josh will keep a close eye on that.”

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Dodgers use late home runs to beat Cubs, snap 4-game losing streak

  • The Dodgers’ Max Muncy trots home after hitting a two-run home run during the eighth inning of Friday’s victory over the Cubs at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers Tony Gonsolin, #26 started against the Cubs at Dodger Stadium Friday, June 25, 2021. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers Tony Gonsolin, #26 started against the Cubs at Dodger Stadium Friday, June 25, 2021. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Cubs Kris Bryant , #17, is greeted by teammates after driving in a solo homer against Dodgers Tony Gonsolin during first inning action at Dodger Stadium Friday, June 25, 2021. Bellinger went on to score in the inning. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Jake Arrieta, #49 started for the Cubs against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium Friday, June 25, 2021. Bellinger went on to score in the inning. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers Cody Bellinger, #35, steals second base against the Cubs during 2nd inning action at Dodger Stadium Friday, June 25, 2021. Bellinger went on to score in the inning. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers Cody Bellinger, #35, scores on a ground ball drive by Gavin Lux during 2nd inning action at Dodger Stadium Friday, June 25, 2021. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers Zach McKinstry, #8, rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run against the Cubs during third inning action at Dodger Stadium Friday, June 25, 2021. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers Will Smith, #16, lined out to Cubs second baseman Ian Happ with bases loaded to end the fourth inning at Dodger Stadium Friday, June 25, 2021. Bellinger went on to score in the inning. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ AJ Pollock heads to first base as he tracks the flight of his go-ahead, two-run home run along with Cubs relief pitcher Ryan Tepera, left, catcher Willson Contreras and home plate umpire DJ Reyburn during the eighth inning of Friday’s game at Dodger Stadium. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Dodgers Gavin Lux, #9, greets AJ Pollock, #11, at home plate after Pollock drove him in on a two run homer in the 8th inning against the Cubs at Dodger Stadium Friday, June 25, 2021. Dodgers defeated the Cubs 6-2. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, center, greets AJ Pollock and Gavin Lux as they return to the dugout after Pollock gave the Dodgers a lead with a two-run home run in the eighth inning of Friday’s game against the Cubs at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers won, 6-2. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Cubs Javier Baez, #9, looses the ball as Dodgers Mookie Betts, #50 steals second base during 8th inning action at Dodger Stadium Friday, June 25, 2021. Dodgers defeated the Cubs 6-2. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The umpire checks Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen, #74, for substances before he pitches in the 9th inning agianst the Cubs at Dodger Stadium Friday, June 25, 2021. Dodgers defeated the Cubs 6-2. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen, #74, hugs Will Smith, #16, after defeating the cubs 6-2 at Dodger Stadium Friday, June 25, 2021. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

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LOS ANGELES ― The Dodgers had a demon to exorcise Friday night. One day after they suffered their first defeat by no-hitter in six years, they were tasked with facing Chicago Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta – the same pitcher who no-hit them six years ago.

Cody Bellinger spoiled that bit of suspense early when he led off the second inning with a single. There was still the little matter of a four-game losing streak, and the Dodgers didn’t resolve that plot until the eighth inning.

A pair of two-run home runs by AJ Pollock and Max Muncy lifted the Dodgers to a 6-2 victory over the Cubs before an announced crowd of 49,387 at Dodger Stadium.

The Dodgers had scored a total of seven runs in their previous four games combined; thanks to the late flurry, they nearly matched that total in a single cool night.

Pollock’s home run, Manager Dave Roberts said, led to “a big exhale in the dugout.”

“When you’re in the middle of a losing streak, you’re at home, you feel the energy, the crowd’s waiting for us to do something … that AJ at-bat, we needed it,” Roberts said.

Before he launched a Ryan Tepera fastball into the left-field bleachers, Pollock had not hit a home run since June 12.

“I know I hit it well,” Pollock said. “It was nice to see Joc (Pederson, the Cubs’ left fielder) run after it and not be able to catch it.”

Tepera (0-1) gave way to Tommy Nance, who promptly allowed a single to Mookie Betts. Muncy followed with his 15th home run of the year, a no-doubt blast to right field.

The Dodgers’ offense managed not to embarrass itself against Arrieta. After his leadoff single to begin the second inning, Bellinger stole second base, went to third on a groundout, then scored when Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo allowed a Gavin Lux ground ball to squirt between his legs.

In the third inning, Zach McKinstry’s fourth home run of the season gave the Dodgers a 2-1 lead. McKinstry last homered on April 14 and entered the game without a hit in his last 13 plate appearances.

Pollock and Turner each had two of the Dodgers’ eight hits as a team.

“Across the board, it was much better tonight,” Roberts said.

For a time, it appeared two runs might be enough to win.

Dodgers starter Tony Gonsolin made one mistake early in his fourth start of the season. Kris Bryant annihilated Gonsolin’s second pitch of the game, a center-cut fastball, sending it over the left-center field fence for a quick 1-0 lead.

It was the only hit Gonsolin would allow over four innings. The right-hander walked two batters, struck out seven, and was efficient enough that Roberts allowed him to throw 69 pitches. Gonsolin had been targeted for 60 pitches after experiencing a sore shoulder last week.

Gonsolin saw his fastball velocity top out at 93 mph in his last start Sunday in Arizona. He was removed after throwing only 46 pitches in that game. Gonsolin’s fastball touched 94 mph Friday, and he approached the stamina the Dodgers needed ever since they installed him as their fifth starter upon his return from the injured list.

“He gave us what we needed,” Roberts said of Gonsolin.

Jimmy Nelson ran into trouble in the seventh inning, allowing the Cubs to tie the score at 2. Jason Heyward drew a five-pitch walk. Nelson fell behind Jake Marisnick 3-and-0 before allowing a single. Sergio Alcantara bunted the runners up to second and third, and Roberts summoned Blake Treinen from the bullpen to clean up the mess.

Treinen (2-3) retired Joc Pederson and Bryant on a pair of fly balls. Pederson’s was deep enough for Heyward to tag up from third base and score the tying run.

Kenley Jansen, making his first appearance since Sunday in Arizona, pitched a scoreless ninth inning in a non-save situation.

The San Francisco Giants (49-26) maintained their grip over the National League West by beating the Oakland A’s earlier in the day. The Dodgers are 4 ½ games out of first place.

Pollock said the shadow cast by Thursday’s no-hitter did not linger into Friday.

“Honestly, the clubhouse was good today,” he said. “What are you going to do? Stuff like that happens.”

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Cubs’ Zach Davies, 3 others combine to no-hit Dodgers

  • Cubs starting pitcher Zach Davies throws to the plate during the first inning of Thursday’s game against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Davies pitched the first six innings of a combined no-hitter. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

  • Dodgers starting pitcher Walker Buehler throws to the plate during the first inning of Thursday’s game against the Cubs at Dodger Stadium. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

  • Dodgers starting pitcher Walker Buehler throws to the plate during the first inning of Thursday’s game against the Cubs at Dodger Stadium. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

  • The Cubs’ Javier Baez follows through on a swing for a solo home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Los Angeles, Thursday, June 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

  • The Cubs’ Javier Baez, center, rounds the bases in front of Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Albert Pujols, right, after hitting a solo home run off of a pitch by Walker Buehler during the first inning of a baseball game in Los Angeles, Thursday, June 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

  • Javier Baez #9 of the Chicago Cubs rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning at Dodger Stadium on June 24, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

  • The Cubs’ Javier Baez celebrates while crossing home plate after a solo home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Los Angeles, Thursday, June 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

  • Javier Baez #9 of the Chicago Cubs gestures to fans after hitting a solo home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning at Dodger Stadium on June 24, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

  • Dodgers starting pitcher Walker Buehler throws to the plate during the first inning of Thursday’s game against the Cubs at Dodger Stadium. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

  • Dodgers third baseman Chris Taylor throws to first to force out Chicago Cubs’ Kris Bryant at first base during the first inning of a baseball game in Los Angeles, Thursday, June 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

  • Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Zach Davies walks off the field during the third inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Los Angeles, Thursday, June 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

  • Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts is unable to make a catch on a ball hit by Chicago Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo during the fourth inning of a baseball game in Los Angeles, Thursday, June 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

  • Dodgers second baseman Max Muncy, top, throws to first after forcing out Chicago Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo during the fourth inning of a baseball game in Los Angeles, Thursday, June 24, 2021. Willson Contreras was safe at first. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

  • Dodgers shortstop Gavin Lux, left, tags out Chicago Cubs’ Willson Contreras as Contreras attempts to steal second base during the fourth inning of a baseball game in Los Angeles, Thursday, June 24, 2021. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

  • Dodgers shortstop Gavin Lux, left, tags out Chicago Cubs’ Willson Contreras as Contreras attempts to steal second base during the fourth inning of a baseball game in Los Angeles, Thursday, June 24, 2021. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

  • Dodgers shortstop Gavin Lux tosses the baseball after tagging Chicago Cubs’ Willson Contreras out on a steal attempt during the fourth inning of a baseball game in Los Angeles, Thursday, June 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

  • Dodgers starting pitcher Walker Buehler throws to the plate during the first inning of Thursday’s game against the Cubs at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

  • Dodgers starting pitcher Walker Buehler throws to the plate during the first inning of Thursday’s game against the Cubs at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

  • Chicago Cubs’ Willson Contreras hits a two-run home run during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Los Angeles, Thursday, June 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

  • Chicago Cubs’ Willson Contreras looks up after a hitting a two-run home run during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Los Angeles, Thursday, June 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

  • Dodgers left fielder AJ Pollock watches a ball go out of the park for a two-run home run by Chicago Cubs’ Willson Contreras during the sixth inning of a baseball game in Los Angeles, Thursday, June 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

  • Willson Contreras #40 of the Chicago Cubs slams his bat to the ground as Walker Buehler #21 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after Contreras hit a two run home run during the sixth inning at Dodger Stadium on June 24, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. Kris Bryant scored. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Walker Buehler reacts after allowing a two-run home run to Chicago Cubs’ Willson Contreras during the sixth inning of a baseball game in Los Angeles, Thursday, June 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

  • Dodgers starting pitcher Walker Buehler reacts after allowing a two-run home run to Chicago Cubs’ Willson Contreras during the sixth inning of a baseball game in Los Angeles, Thursday, June 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

  • Willson Contreras #40 of the Chicago Cubs gestures after hitting a two run home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the sixth inning at Dodger Stadium on June 24, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. Kris Bryant scored. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

  • Willson Contreras #40 of the Chicago Cubs and Willie Harris #33 of the Chicago Cubs react as Contreras rounds third base after hitting a two-run home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the sixth inning at Dodger Stadium on June 24, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. Kris Bryant scored. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

  • The Cubs’ Willson Contreras, right, celebrates with Kris Bryant after a two-run home run during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Los Angeles, Thursday, June 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

  • Cubs starting pitcher Zach Davies delivers a pitch during the first inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Los Angeles, Thursday, June 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

  • Cubs relief pitcher Andrew Chafin prepares to pitch during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Los Angeles, Thursday, June 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

  • Cubs relief pitcher Andrew Chafin gestures from the mound during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Los Angeles, Thursday, June 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

  • Cubs relief pitcher Andrew Chafin delivers a pitch during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Los Angeles, Thursday, June 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

  • Cubs shortstop Javier Baez points to first baseman Anthony Rizzo after a double play during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Los Angeles, Thursday, June 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

  • Cubs relief pitcher Andrew Chafin pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the eighth inning at Dodger Stadium on June 24, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

  • Cubs shortstop Javier Baez, left tags out Los Angeles Dodgers’ Mookie Betts to complete a double play off an infield ground ball to fielder’s choice by Max Muncy during the eighth inning of a baseball game in Los Angeles, Thursday, June 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

  • Cubs relief pitcher Andrew Chafin is searched for substances following the eighth inning during a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on June 24, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

  • Cubs relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel delivers a pitch during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Los Angeles, Thursday, June 24, 2021. The Cubs won 4-0. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

  • Cubs relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel reacts after pitching the final inning for a combined no-hitter after a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Los Angeles, Thursday, June 24, 2021. The Cubs won 4-0. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

  • Craig Kimbrel #46 of the Chicago Cubs reacts after throwing a combined no hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers following the ninth inning at Dodger Stadium on June 24, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. The Chicago Cubs won, 4-0. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

  • Cubs relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel, right, celebrates with catcher Willson Contreras after the final out for a combined no-hitter after a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Los Angeles, Thursday, June 24, 2021. The Cubs won 4-0. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

  • The Cubs celebrate a combined no-hitter after the final out by relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel, second from right, after a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Los Angeles, Thursday, June 24, 2021. The Cubs won 4-0. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

  • The Cubs celebrate a combined no-hitter after the final out by relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel in a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Los Angeles, Thursday, June 24, 2021. The Cubs won 4-0. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

  • Craig Kimbrel #46 of the Chicago Cubs celebrates with teammates after throwing a combined no hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers following the ninth inning at Dodger Stadium on June 24, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. The Chicago Cubs won, 4-0. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

  • Cubs outfielder Joc Pederson, left, receives his 2020 World Series championship ring from Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw before Thursday’s game at Dodger Stadium. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

  • Cubs outfielder Joc Pederson shows off his 2020 World Series ring after receiving it from some of his former Dodgers teammates before Thursday’s game at Dodger Stadium. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

  • Cubs outfielder Joc Pederson shows off his 2020 World Series ring after receiving it from some of his former Dodgers teammates before Thursday’s game at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

  • Cubs outfielder Joc Pederson, left, receives his 2020 World Series championship ring from Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw before Thursday’s game at Dodger Stadium. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

  • Cubs outfielder Joc Pederson walks back to the dugout after receiving his 2020 World Series ring from some of his former Dodgers teammates before Thursday’s game at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

  • Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw walks on the field before a baseball game against the Cubs in Los Angeles, Thursday, June 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

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LOS ANGELES ― The season of the no-hitter came to Dodger Stadium.

The Chicago Cubs beat the Dodgers 4-0 on Thursday night, as Zach Davies and three relievers combined on the seventh no-hitter of the 2021 season. It was the 10th no-hitter thrown against the Dodgers since the franchise relocated from Brooklyn in 1958.

Davies threw six innings and struck out four batters. Ryan Tepera, Andrew Chafin and Craig Kimbrel threw the final three innings, respectively, each walking one batter along the way. The Dodgers drew eight walks in all but never threatened to score. Even their hardest-hit outs – three balls left the bat faster than 100 mph – were of little strain on the Cubs’ defense.

Coincidentally, the Cubs were the last team to hold the Dodgers without a hit. Jake Arrieta completed the task on Aug. 30, 2015 at Dodger Stadium.

The 2021 season is not yet halfway over, yet the seven no-hitters match the most thrown in any year since 1900.

“How we lost it, getting no-hit at home, is obviously frustrating for everyone,” Manager Dave Roberts said. “As an offense, earning eight walks was certainly a positive. Walking more than striking out over the course of a night is positive. Overall, we didn’t do a good job of executing a game plan. We know Davies. We’ve seen him.”

The Dodgers (44-31) suffered their fourth consecutive loss before the announced crowd of 52,175. Their offense had been slumping recently, scoring only seven runs en route to a three-game sweep at the hands of the San Diego Padres before returning home Thursday.

For a team with ambitions of defending its World Series title, however, this was a new low.

“I don’t think they were very good as a whole,” outfielder Mookie Betts said of the Dodgers’ at-bats. “We mixed in a couple. As a whole, I don’t think we had very good at-bats. You have to tip your cap to the Cubs for pitching a great game.”

Betts returned to the Dodgers’ lineup after missing Wednesday’s game due to illness. The Dodgers’ 75th game of the season was only their 10th with Betts, Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy in the same lineup. On this night, injuries were no excuse.

Davies, a 28-year-old right-hander, kept the Dodgers off-balance with his usual assortment of sinkers, changeups, cutters and curveballs. He threw 94 pitches, none faster than 88 mph.

“Concentrating on every pitch, knowing that even though I walk a guy here and there, getting the next hitter is important,” Davies said. “Just staying mentally prepared and locked in is key, especially against a club like the Dodgers. The defense always shows you that they’re there for you, and they’ll take care of everything you throw at them.”

Chafin said “the whole bullpen” had no idea a no-hitter was in progress when he entered the game. He did not realize the significance until he saw a graphic on a television screen in the visitors’ clubhouse displaying the record for no-hitters in a season.

“I would’ve thrown the same stuff anyways,” Chafin said. “I go out there with my approach, and that’s what it’s going to be regardless.”

The game ended when Kimbrel struck out Bellinger, Albert Pujols and Will Smith after walking Chris Taylor to begin the ninth inning.

Dodgers starter Walker Buehler pitched well enough to win on a typical night. He allowed only one run over the first five innings, a first-inning home run by Javier Baez. The Cubs did not get another hit against Buehler until Anthony Rizzo blooped a single into right field in the fourth inning.

The 1-0 score held into the sixth inning. Kris Bryant led off with a walk. Buehler recorded the next two outs, and got ahead of catcher Willson Contreras, but paid dearly for a fastball down the middle of the plate. Contreras slugged it over the left-field fence for his 13th home run of the season, giving the Cubs a 3-0 lead.

Buehler finished the inning but was replaced by David Price to begin the seventh. All three runs he allowed scored as the result of home runs. The right-hander struck out six batters and walked two.

“A couple mistakes in there,” Roberts said of Buehler, “but to go six innings and to give up three runs – it sounds like I keep saying it every night where one of our starters gives us a chance to win – we’ve got to find a way to hold up our end, to score some runs.”

With Price on the mound, the Cubs nearly turned the game into a blowout.

Jason Heyward reached on a throwing error and went to third base on an infield single by Eric Sogard on first. Cubs manager David Ross then made the debatable decision to replace Davies with pinch hitter Jake Marisnick, ending Davies’ bid for a complete game no-hitter.

The decision paid off. Marisnick delivered a run-scoring single, giving the Cubs a 4-0 cushion. Price hit the next batter, Joc Pederson, and was quickly replaced by right-hander Phil Bickford. Price faced four batters in all and did not record an out.

Bickford inherited a bases-loaded, no-outs situation but impressively worked out of the jam without allowing a run. He struck out Bryant, then retired Baez on an inning-ending double play, recording two outs on five pitches.

The seven no-hitters this season do not include a seven-inning complete game performance by Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Madison Bumgarner in April. The Braves did not record a hit against Bumgarner in that game, which was shortened to seven innings because it was part of a doubleheader.

The game ended with the Cubs streaming out of the first base dugout, joining Contreras and Kimbrel in a group hug on the mound.

For the Dodgers, bouncing back from a no-hitter is no different than any other defeat, Betts said.

“We play 162 games,” he said. “You’re going to have games like this throughout the year. You wake up tomorrow and play another game.”

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