Offense falls flat in loss to Rangers
ARLINGTON -- How did Justin Turner ruin Rangers rookie starter Chi Chi Gonzalez's shutout in the ninth inning Tuesday night?
"I swung Joc's bat. That's the adjustment I made," said Turner, who used Joc Pederson's bat to slug a two-run homer for the only Dodgers runs in their 3-2 walk-off loss.
Although Turner's clutch blast got the Dodgers even, it didn't stay that way long. Robinson Chirinos led off the bottom of the ninth by tagging a 98-mph 1-1 fastball over the plate from rookie reliever Josh Ravin, and the Rangers had won both games at Globe Life Park, with the home-and-home series shifting to Dodger Stadium Wednesday night.
After this one, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly chose his words carefully when asked about his offense, which is down more than a run a game since it tore through April.
"We didn't do enough to win tonight," he said, repeating his words from Monday night's 4-1 loss.
This time they almost didn't score against Gonzalez, who was making his fourth career Major League start and baffling the Dodgers by changing up off fastballs that barely broke the 90-mph mark.
"In my first at-bat, it looked like a beachball and then it just disappeared," said catcher Yasmani Grandal, who had two of the Dodgers' seven hits.
Grandal's second hit came in what he was sure would be a winning rally. After Turner's homer chased Gonzalez, former Dodger Shawn Tolleson, the Rangers' new closer, got Andre Ethier on a fly out, but Grandal singled and was followed by a single from Alex Guerrero. But Jimmy Rollins' line drive to left-center was flagged down by left fielder Jake Smolinski and the rally ended.
Mattingly said he went with Ravin in the tied game because he needed multiple innings and because, without naming names, he was short-handed in the bullpen again. That was the result of 7 1/3 scoreless relief innings needed in Sunday's 12-inning win in San Diego and Carlos Frias' 5 1/3-inning start Monday night, when Yimi Garcia pitched two innings.
Ravin took over for Brett Anderson, who rebounded from a rocky start against Arizona to give up two runs to the Rangers and go eight innings for the first time since 2011.
One run scored on a bases-loaded walk in the first inning, the other on an infield single in the fifth. Both times the Dodgers were victimized by the base running of Prince Fielder, of all people, who helped his club by falling down rounding third when he probably would have been thrown out at home if he stayed on his feet.
But those two runs were nearly enough for the Rangers because, as Mattingly explained, Gonzalez "pretty much carved us up."
That might be a compliment to Gonzalez. It might be a back-handed one, too.
"You just didn't see us have much of a chance tonight," Mattingly said. "He kind of did whatever he wanted. It's just one of those nights you walk away as a hitter saying you got carved up. You've got to give him credit. He was making pitches and doing his thing. We didn't put pressure on him, put him in tough situations."