Dodgers blank Tigers for sixth straight win
DETROIT — How a popup was handled — mishandled if you will — was a graphic illustration in Los Angeles’ 3-0 victory on Saturday of why the Dodgers are going strong and the Detroit Tigers are struggling.
Two outs, nobody on in the seventh inning Saturday in a scoreless game. Tigers right-hander Michael Fulmer (10-11) had faced just two batters over the minimum to that point.
The Dodgers’ newly acquired Curtis Granderson then lifted a popup high to the left side of the infield. Tigers third baseman Nicholas Castellanos, who has taken some shots for his regression on defense this year, drifted toward short in pursuit of the ball but then lunged and missed it at the last second as he lost it in the sun.
Shortstop Jose Iglesias has made similar plays on popups all season and should have called for this one because he was looking away from the sun toward the outfield whereas Castellanos was peering directly into the sun.
“At that point, we can still get out of it,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “But we can’t give a team like the Dodgers, the best team in baseball, extra outs. They took advantage of it.”
Granderson, acquired late Friday night from the New York Mets, stood on second base after the misplay and, following a walk to Yasmani Grandal, scored on a line single to right by Adrian Gonzalez, who returned two days ago from the disabled list with a bad back.
The hit broke a scoreless tie and Los Angeles went on to beat Detroit to run its latest win streak to six games.
The Dodgers have 21 wins in their last 24 games and 52 victories out of its last 61 to achieve baseball’s best record at 87-34. Detroit has lost six straight, eight of nine and 12 of 14.
“Fulmer is a heckuva pitcher, really good stuff,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “Up and down our lineup, I thought we had good at-bats all day.
“We squared him up a lot, didn’t get a whole lot to show for it. Those two-out hits by Adrian, by JT (Justin Turner), those are tough for a pitcher to handle. For us, that’s kind of what we’ve done all year. The late homer by Yasmani was good to see.”
Ross Stripling (3-4) picked up the victory with two scoreless relief innings. Brandon Morrow pitched the eighth and Kenley Jansen secured his 33rd save for working the ninth.
The Dodgers got a run in the seventh off reliever Alex Wilson. Turner grounded an RBI single up the middle with two outs after a walk, single and double play.
Grandal reached reliever Shane Greene for his 16th home run, a long drive to left-center field with one out in the ninth that made it 3-0.
“It seems like if we score some runs, we give up more,” Ausmus said. “We get a good outing from a pitcher, we don’t seem to scrape out enough.”
Fulmer, who gave up 19 earned runs and 29 hits in losing his previous four starts, had faced just two above the minimum through his first five innings. He allowed three hits in six innings, the one unearned run, and struck out six while walking two.
Hyun-Jin Ryu started for Los Angeles and was removed from a scoreless game after five innings. He gave up three hits, walked four and struck out four while throwing 89 pitches.
“I just felt good right there, 84 pitches, to go to the ‘pen,” Roberts said. “Ross gives us two innings, Morrow comes in there and Kenley closes it out.”
NOTES: Los Angeles optioned OF Joc Pederson to Triple-A Oklahoma City to make room on the roster for OF Curtis Granderson, acquired from the New York Mets. RHP Dylan Floro was designated for assignment to clear a 40-man roster spot. ... “He was supposed to be out,” 2B Ian Kinsler chided Detroit teammate LF Justin Upton, who violated baseball rules Friday night by retouching second base and first after hitting a ball over the left-field fence. Runners are only allowed to retouch one base, but Los Angeles did not appeal. ... Dodgers RHP Yu Darvish is headed to the 10-day disabled list and will miss one start because of a sore back. ... Dodgers OF Andre Ethier is close to being activated.