SEATTLE (AP) — For a welcome change, the Los Angeles Dodgers made the job easy for manager Dave Roberts after a stretch of close games and debatable moves.
Manny Machado hit two of Los Angeles’ five home runs, Walker Buehler allowed one run in six innings, and the Dodgers routed the Seattle Mariners 11-1 to open a key three-game series on Friday night.
The Dodgers won consecutive games for just the third time since July 28, using the long ball to knock around Seattle starter Wade LeBlanc and for a night take the pressure off their shaky bullpen. It was the Los Angeles bats leading the way, hitting at least five homers in a game for the sixth time this season.
“It was a nice change, but those guys, the offense, they were due to break out,” Roberts said.
Machado’s first homer led off the fourth inning and was his third since being acquired in a trade with Baltimore. He added a two-run shot in the seventh inning to deep left-center field, where it caromed off the hand of a fan wearing an Orioles jersey with Machado’s name across the back.
Machado has 28 homers overall this season and Roberts said his shortstop feels more comfortable now batting third in the Dodgers’ lineup with Justin Turner moving into the No. 2 spot.
“I’m not going to say I wasn’t hitting because I was hitting second,” Machado said. “It just happened to be I finally locked myself in and went back to what got me here. It just happened I went back to (hitting) third as well.”
Yasmani Grandal, Max Muncy and Matt Kemp also went deep as Los Angeles added to its National League-leading home run total. Kemp’s homer was his first since July 22. The Dodgers have 169 homers this season.
LeBlanc (7-3) allowed seven runs, five earned, and lasted just 4 1/3 innings.
“I made a few mistakes, got away with a couple of them, and three of them I didn’t,” LeBlanc said. “That’s what happens when you run into a good lineup like they have. That’s what they do with mistakes. Especially with stuff like I have, if you’re going to make them against guys like that, they’re going to make you pay.”
A long seventh inning at the plate for Los Angeles spelled an early end for Buehler, who was dominant through the first six. Buehler (6-4) allowed just Ryon Healy’s home run leading off the fourth inning. The young right-hander struck out eight and allowed just three hits.
Seattle threatened only once when Buehler lost command of his fastball and loaded the bases with one out in the third inning. Buehler got Denard Span to hit a weak grounder and Mitch Haniger was forced out at home plate. Kyle Seager flew out to end the threat.
Buehler and two relievers combined to retire 14 straight batters after Healy’s homer until pinch-hitter Gordon Beckham’s two-out single in the eighth.
Seattle is making two changes to its rotation. The first was expected, with Felix Hernandez moving back into the rotation to start for injured lefty James Paxton on Monday when Houston visits to open a key three-game series.
The other move was a bit of a surprise with Seattle pushing Marco Gonzales back a few days. Gonzales was slated to start Sunday’s series finale against the Dodgers, but will instead start the series finale against Houston next Wednesday. Seattle’s starter for Sunday has yet to be announced.
Manager Scott Servais said with upcoming off days Seattle had a chance to push Gonzales back and essentially give him one start over the next few weeks. Gonzales has thrown a career-high 142 2/3 innings already this season.
Dodgers: RHP Erik Goeddel was placed on the 10-day disabled list with elbow inflammation on Friday. It’s his second stint on the DL in just the past few weeks. Goeddel was activated off the disabled list last Monday after missing time with a lat injury. The Dodgers reinstated right-handed reliever Daniel Hudson from the 10-day DL to take his spot. Hudson had been out since Aug. 7 with forearm tightness.
Mariners: SS Jean Segura was placed on the paternity list on Friday. Seattle selected IF Gordon Beckham from Triple-A Tacoma to take Segura’s roster spot.
Dodgers: Rich Hill (5-4) looks to remain perfect in his career against Seattle. Hill has appeared in 11 games with four starts against Seattle and is 4-0 with a 1.35 ERA. He hasn’t faced the Mariners since the 2016 season.
Mariners: Erasmo Ramirez (0-2) tries to follow up on a strong outing last week in Houston. Ramirez threw five shutout innings allowing just four hits in a no-decision.