Chris Taylor hit in the leadoff spot and started in center field in Oakland on Wednesday.
He provided a spark. Zach McKinstry did, too.
It could be a sign of things to come with Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts on the mend.
Taylor went 2-for-4 with a walk in the Dodgers’ 4-3 loss to the A’s, which snapped a five-game winning streak. Taylor has reached base 10 times in his last 12 plate appearances and 13 of 22 plate appearances this season. McKinstry, who started in right field for Betts on Wednesday, is also an option in center field.
The Dodgers finished the seven-game road trip with a 5-2 record to start the season.
“It was a good road trip,” Taylor said. “It didn't finish the way we wanted it to, but overall, we are playing good baseball. We are putting good at-bats together. We went 5-2, so that’s a good start.”
The Dodgers were three outs away from entering their home opener Friday on a six-game winning streak. Instead, they were forced to answer questions about their closer Kenley Jansen’s performance.
The A’s scored a run off Jansen in the ninth to tie the score at 3 and send the game into extra innings. In the 10th, Oakland first baseman Mitch Moreland drove home Mark Canha, who started the frame at second base, with a single to center field for the walk-off. It was the A’s first victory of the season, with Jimmy Nelson taking the loss for Los Angeles.
“Today was just about his command,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “That’s just uncharacteristic for him, to not have the command like that. There were some misfires and some spiked fastballs that typically don’t happen with him, so we’ll dig into it.”
The ending spoiled another impressive outing from Dodgers starter Trevor Bauer. He retired the first five batters he faced with a steady dose of cut-fastballs, sliders, and fastballs, before giving up a single to Seth Brown and walking the next hitter, Stephen Piscotty, with two outs in the second. The demonstrative right-hander struck out the side in the third and strutted off the mound.
Bauer didn’t have his best command, but was still locked in. He allowed two runs on only two hits while striking out 10 in the 110-pitch outing, his second consecutive start with 10 strikeouts.
“They came out with a game plan against me,” Bauer said. “It was a little bit of a chess match, going back and forth with the adjustments they made. They made some adjustments to me and I made some adjustments back. I have a lot of respect for the guys in that lineup.”
His first blemish came in the fourth after he hit Ramón Laureano with a 76.6 mph breaking ball -- which didn’t break-- to start the frame. Laureano stole second and third base, then he motored home on a wild pitch to tie the game at 1.
The Dodgers pulled ahead, 2-1, when McKinstry bunted home Austin Barnes from third base with a perfectly placed ball against the shift. Taylor was hit by a pitch to start the sixth and scored the Dodgers’ third run on a single by Justin Turner, who has reached base in 37 consecutive games dating back to 2020.
In the seventh, Oakland third baseman Matt Chapman cut the Los Angeles lead to one run, 3-2, with a solo homer off Bauer. The right-hander responded by tossing a 97 mph fastball, his highest velocity in the game, on his 101th pitch of the game to strike out the next batter. Bauer struck out Elvis Andrus, the final batter he faced, on a 96 mph fastball, and was relieved by Corey Knebel after 6 2/3 innings of work.
“I thought he was outstanding,” Taylor said of Bauer. “He's been unbelievable, especially in the early parts of the game, and today it was great to see him get his pitch count up. It seemed like his stuff got better as the game went on.”